post written by Esther Filbrun
Title: The Waiting
Author: Cathy LaGrow
Major Themes: Adoption, Motherhood, Faith, Forgiveness, True Stories
Synopsis: When sixteen-year-old Minka is taken advantage of, and she subsequently has to put her daughter up for adoption, she must find her hope for healing and strength in the Lord—but can she trust Him for her daughter’s future?
When scrolling through a list of available audiobooks, I came across The Waiting as an option. I loved the cover instantly—the simplicity, yet the depth the portrait could possibly contain. Still, it looked like it could turn out to be just another of those annoying romances that sucks you in and deposits you at the other end saying, “wow, that was a well-written book, but the plot could have taken some more imagination!”
Anyway, when I got to the description, three things jumped out at me right away—and I forgot to read the rest: 1) true story, 2) young girl raped and has a baby, 3) Christian faith. I don’t actually think I read much further. A scan of it was all I needed to confirm that this was likely not the romance I had feared, but I was still skeptical. People can hype up even true stories and add way more description than necessary. Still, I wanted something new to listen to, since I would be doing a few more road hours than normal over the next little while, so I decided to try it. And what a story!
Sixteen-year-old Minka DeJong is as innocent as a child. So when that innocence is stripped away from her one hot summer afternoon, she doesn’t really understand the implications of what this man has done to her until much later. That “much later” comes too soon, however, when her mother finally pieces together why she is so exhausted and nauseous. Six months later, after a huge amount of growing up, Minka delivers a perfect baby girl. She falls in love with the baby, and is gutted at the thought that she will have to leave her daughter behind, mere weeks after the baby’s birth. Capturing every moment hardly seems like enough, and when she finally does have to say goodbye—for her daughter’s best, as well as her own—the moment is heart-wrenching. Will she ever heal? She knows she will never forget her firstborn and will continue to love and pray for her the rest of her life…but is there any hope for redemption after such an awful ordeal? Where was God in all of it?
As someone who has loved children my whole life, this book really tugged at my heart. I couldn’t imagine facing what Minka had to, or making the decision she was forced to make. But it’s all too much of a reality for girls these days, and I hope this story has encouraged me to show them love and support when they come across my path!
The faith element to this book, too, was striking. At first, it was barely there—aside from the common churchgoing that happened repeatedly—but as life went on, Minka realized more and more her need to trust in and follow the Lord. He became her refuge when her husband, suffering from undiagnosed PTSD after World War II, turned into an alcoholic with dangerous tendencies at times. She had to trust the Lord when making decisions about her children’s future—and continue trusting Him to love and care for her first daughter, who she never forgot.
The Waiting wasn’t an easy story. But I loved how faith in the Lord, hard work, self-sacrifice, and a love for others shone through the pages. If you’re looking for an inspiring story to read, I would highly recommend The Waiting! (And did I mention it’s a true story?) I really enjoyed it, and think you would, too!
WARNING: In ch. 1, there is a description of a girl being raped. I was impressed with how clean it was. There were no fine details, only more broad generalities (“sensations where it had happened”, etc.). Ch. 2 mentions women’s cycles. Up through ch. 5, I think, a girl is carrying a baby, and then delivers it—again, all very clean. A few—very few—realities about motherhood mentioned, but that’s about it. Somewhere between ch. 6 and ch. 8, I believe, a woman marries a divorced man. In ch. 11, a little girl is nearly killed in an automobile accident (some detail). Also in ch. 11, a man hits a woman and tells gruesome war stories to children.
Reading Independently—Ages 15 and Above, Adults
Links to buy The Waiting:
AbeBooks: View Choices on AbeBooks.com
Book Depository: Paperback
Keywords: Adoption, Motherhood, Faith, Forgiveness, True Stories, Christian Non-fiction, Biography, World War II, US History 1900-1950, US History 1950-2000, North America, Books for Women