The Lucky Few: Finding God’s Best in the Most Unlikely Places by Heather Avis.
Zondervan, HarperCollins, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2017.
Adoptive parent memoir, 223 pages.
This is the story of one woman who couldn’t become a mother even though all she yearned for was motherhood. This is the story of her three children, and the journey she and her husband went through to bring them home and accept them as forever family.
This was a fairly light and quick read. (I finished it in a few hours, your mileage may vary.) I think if I didn’t know so many people in situations very similar to hers, this might have had more impact. As it was, I felt like she kept the story extremely positive and glossed over a lot of the harsh realities. However, that makes sense given that the goal of this book is to reach as many people as possible.
In parts it is more obvious than others that Avis was extremely lucky. She glosses over the birth family of their daughter Truly Star, which makes sense because she is quite young yet and not ready to decide if she wants to disclose that information to the world. She has close and loving relationships with the birth families of her other two children. That’s fairly unusual, especially the birth family reaction to her. Perhaps it’s a different scenario because they have Down Syndrome as opposed to other challenges.
The book does give some basic information about Down Syndrome and especially special needs adoptions and open adoption. It is important to remember that laws vary greatly in different countries, states, and even counties, and each family and child has a unique scenario, so your experience may be quite different from hers.
I did like that Avis talked openly about her commitment to diversity and some of the changes her family made to ensure her daughters were raised in a diverse and supportive community. It also was heartwarming, and important, to see the relationships that she has with the birth families of two of her children. However it is illustrative that the two birth families she has good relationships with are her two children with Down’s, and both of those families are nuclear families with other children who voluntarily relinquished. As we can see with her other daughter, in the case of a government removal of children, or a situation with other factors at play, the reality of birth family contact can be more difficult.
On the other hand, I felt like we really didn’t get to know the children as individuals. We learn a lot about Macyn’s medical needs and Truly’s exhuberant personality but I didn’t get the sense that I knew them as people. This book was more about Heather Avis and her journey than the kids, although compared to other adoptive mom books I’ve read, this one didn’t seem especially problematic for adoptees to read.
This isn’t really a book for people actually living these situations. It’s a book for everybody else, who can read it and learn slightly more about what the foster and adoption world looks like. There are some pretty serious rose-colored glasses here, but like Lion, it’s a fairly light, easy way to get introduced to another world (which on closer inspection would be more overwhelming).
If you know nothing about adoption and special needs children and want to learn more, or you’re looking for a not-too-rough, emotional read that ends on a high note, then this might be a good book for you. It is written from a very Christian viewpoint, which might turn some readers away or attract others to the story.