All miracles begin with a crisis.
~Bringing Lucy Home
When author Jennifer Phillips asked me if I wanted to write a review of her book “Bringing Lucy Home”, it was an immediate “YES!” from me, no questions asked. I had the privilege of working with Jennifer as her marketing strategist at the original publisher of her book. Unfortunately, that also meant that I had to be the one to drop the news when the publisher was closing, not long after her book had gone live. She was the first author I thought of when I received the news, and the first one I wanted to personally tell as soon as allowed. Although that journey was really unexpected and rough at times, I don’t regret it because it gave me an opportunity to build a friendship with someone I’ve never met in person, and who lives on the other side of the world from me! Things like this are why I’m actually thankful for the internet. Friendships can blossom, even if you never get to be in the same room.
Getting to work with Jennifer in marketing her book also meant I got to know the book really well before it actually published… and I have to say, I could not WAIT to read it. In our first conversation, she shared with me a brief overview of what happened when they were trying to bring Lucy home and it was just shocking what they went through – legally, politically, spiritually, emotionally. Jennifer is also a blogger (a GREAT one), so I took time to go back through her blog (LittleLucyMei.blogspot.com) to really gain an understanding of what this journey looked like and to get more insight into who Jennifer is (not a stalker, I swear). About halfway through the publishing process, she sent me a video she made with pictures of their adoption journey, and of course there was music. I sat at my desk and cried like a baby watching that video.
Adoption is something that has always held a place in my heart, even though I don’t feel called to adopt yet. It’s something that does take a hold of me every now and then, and I love a good adoption story.
Jennifer and her family are from right here in the deep south of the U.S., but are currently stationed in Australia as missionaries. Part of what I loved about “Bringing Lucy Home” was how Jennifer was so transparent about herself, sharing glimpses of who she is as a person – from her Christian walk, to her childhood, to her college days, to her first visit to China – life experiences that have shaped her into who she is today. Once you understand who Jennifer is as a person, it makes you feel her journey in a totally different way.
While reading “Bringing Lucy Home”, I laughed, I cried, I felt anxious, and then I’d laugh again. Jennifer sprinkles just enough comic relief throughout the intensity of the story, which I greatly appreciate because I am a weenie when it comes to tough situations in books. I end up evaluating myself and wondering how I’d handle the same situation, and sometimes I cheat and just read the last few pages of the book, spoiling everything for myself. Ahem.
Jennifer, I read yours cover to cover – I didn’t cheat! Just sayin’…
Oh, and then there is the story in the beginning of the book about the spider that has officially made me never, ever, EVER want to go to Australia. Ever. Spiders larger than an adult’s hand have no business living. Sorry, God… but what were You thinking?!
Back to the real subject at hand…
I really don’t know how I would have handled this same adoption if it were my story… I was on edge during this whole book, and I kept telling myself “you know how this ends, so chill out!” But it was hard, ya’ll. And THAT is what makes this a good book. Jennifer’s journey was so tough to read about, I can only imagine how it was to endure it.
Just to give you a glimpse of what “Bringing Lucy Home” is about:
- Imagine going through the intensity of adopting a child from another country – you have the whole “bonding” experience you’re supposed to endure, and that’s tough on its own when you’ve just adopted a baby that isn’t used to ANY loving physical contact. The baby will reject you and your “newness”, and it’s going to hurt.
- The baby has some special needs and developmental delays to overcome, meaning the first few weeks of bonding time are more urgent than normal.
- You’re financially invested so deep, you’re exhausted, and you’re just ready to bring your new family member home to start a new chapter in life.
- But then there is the fact that you’re an American living overseas long-term in Australia. So as such, when you go to bring your baby “home”, you need to do a little pit-stop in the U.S. before heading to your final destination OVERSEAS.
- You are American, so you want your newly adopted baby to also have American citizenship, and as a result, the baby needs a U.S. passport…
- But instead, one single person with the passport agency decides you’re the one who needs to be flagged because you’re an American… living in Australia… who just adopted a baby from China… and you’re trying to bring that baby from the U.S. to Australia. Everything you were told to do in order to obtain said passport is deemed “misinformation”, so you’re now stuck in the U.S. No passport for you.
The trip that should have taken 2 WEEKS to obtain a passport for Lucy ended up being 2 MONTHS of heartache and separation from her husband and her 3 biological children. Her family went on to Australia while she stayed in the U.S. to take care of Lucy’s passport. Can you imagine? Making it that far, thinking you’ll see the rest of your family in just 2 weeks, where you will all bond with the new family member together. Instead, you’re stuck thousands of miles away, trying to care for a baby that is rejecting you.
Lots of American missionaries adopt babies from all over the world and have been able to obtain the child’s U.S. passport and go on their way to wherever they are stationed overseas without so many hiccups. For some reason, that was not Jennifer’s story.
But of course, we wouldn’t have a great book then, would we?
You won’t believe what they had to go through to get politicians involved and the legal fight they endured. Just know that you need to read this book. It took me just 3 hours to finish it – I spaced it out over 3 lunch breaks at work and I didn’t want to put it down. I found I kept sneaking glimpses in between working so I could just get a little further.
Jennifer has such a way with words. Her writing is easy to follow, easy to feel, and is so transparent and real. As a side note, you have to read this letter she wrote to Lucy’s birth mom for Mother’s Day… you’ll see what I mean.
“Bringing Lucy Home” is a great read, whether or not you ever plan to adopt, because it shares a message of hope and triumph among difficult trials. Most importantly, it shares the Gospel. This speaks loudly to those of us going through infertility… there is always hope. There is always room for triumph. There is always Christ.
And as Karla (Jennifer’s adoption social worker) reminds us:
All miracles begin with a crisis.
Jennifer, thank you for giving me the opportunity to write a review of your amazing book! Thank you for having your dad send me a publisher-branded copy so that I can have a 1st edition. Most importantly, thank you for your new friendship. I’m so glad we “met” – may it become face-to-face one of these days!