In 1928, 16-year-old Minka was on a picnic in the woods when she was assaulted and raped. And suddenly this innocent farm girl—who still thought the stork brought babies—was pregnant. The baby was secretly born, named Betty Jane, and given up for adoption. For decades, Minka wrote letters trying to get news of her daughter; she kept loving and praying for her, even though she never dared believe they would meet again. Until nearly eighty years later, when Minka whispered her secret, impossible prayer for the first time: Lord, I’d like to see Betty Jane before I die. I promise I won’t bother her or interrupt her life. I just want to lay eyes on her. Unbeknownst to Minka, that very same day, a judge was releasing the sealed adoption records to her 77-year-old daughter. And soon, Minka’s phone would ring. Written by Cathy LaGrow (Minka’s granddaughter), The Waiting brings three generations of this most unusual family together over the course of a century to tell a story of faith that triumphs, forgiveness that sets us free, and love that never forgets.
This is a truly amazing story about faithfulness, love, forgiveness, and answered prayers. It is almost unbelievable to imagine all the tiny pieces of the puzzle that had to line up to work it out so that 93-year-old Minka could finally see her beloved 77-year-old daughter again.
Although some parts of this book were difficult to read, overall it was an amazing book that I couldn’t put down. I was struck by the love that Minka’s mother and step-father showed to her and the commitment Minka showed to her daughter. She wrote letters and sent gifts to the head of the home where she gave birth, never knowing if her daughter received any of them, but sending them nonetheless, just hoping for word of her daughter. It is such a stark contrast to some deplorable examples of motherhood we can hear about in the news today.
For me, the only place in the book where the story slowed a bit was when readers are told Betty Jane’s story. I think Minka’s story is so compelling that when LaGrow tells the story of Betty Jane’s life, I just wanted to hear more about Minka and the meeting of Betty Jane and Minka.
Another great thing about this book is that readers get a taste of American history. Minka has lived such a long and interesting life that we are able to follow her story through several decades of American history. It was a nice overview of the good and bad in America over the last century. As a history fan, I really enjoyed that aspect of the book as well.
Throughout this book, readers are washed in love and faithfulness. This is just one story that shows the grace and mercy of God and how He ministers to the desires of our heart. I can’t recommend this book highly enough. It is an excellent book that might minister to many.