As a mother, I admit I was nervous to read a book about losing a child. In fact, I confess I skipped ahead to find out what happened to Ruth just so I wouldn’t be anxious the entire book. My mama heart didn’t have the capacity to wait two hundred pages for the details of a tragic death. But in a way, knowing from page one about Ruth’s death helped launch me into this story about a family from Maine who became accidental parents to a disabled girl from Uganda. I had so many questions.
Meadow Rue Merrill, a professional journalist, expertly guides the reader into this compelling tale of love through dynamic dialogue and word wizardry in Redeeming Ruth.
As a memoir, Meadow’s thoughts, feelings and reactions to adopting an African girl with special needs are both authentic and believable. Although this story is not commonplace, it was extremely accessible and did not feel like she was placing her family on a pedestal, like so many Christian memoirs can feel. Instead, Meadow shares with humility how they first met Ruth, questioned whether they had what it took to adopt her, and then revealed all the emotional and physical roadblocks they encountered along the way. This book does not read like a story about a family with super-human strength, but a family that could just as easily be yours or mine. It was a story about a simple family who learned that love could sustain them even through hardship and loss.
If you love memoir, are interested in adoption or Africa, or work with children with special needs, then you will find this story particularly compelling. Meadow dispels many myths about international adoption as she chronicles the sticky details of adopting Ruth from Uganda. I personally loved the vibrant descriptions of people and places in Africa since I spent six months in Uganda during college. Her words helped me to see the buses, feel the dust on my toes and greet my amazing friends there once again.
I also appreciated learning about the hurdles and small victories involved in caring for a child with special needs. Having this window into their world reminded me to offer support to friends and family I have who may be caring for children with additional needs.
If you love a good story where God appears in miraculous ways, then you will find yourself engrossed in this true tale of selfless love. If you—like me—are a mother who is afraid to read a book about losing a child, this will remind you to hug your children tighter and savor every moment you have with them. And though the story is gut-wrenching, their grief is equally weighted with hope.
Reading Redeeming Ruth was a gift. I felt honored to be invited into such a beautiful journey of surprising joy in the midst of struggle and sadness. It was a welcome reminder of how one little life can impact so many.
Meadow challenges her readers at the end of Redeeming Ruth:
“Love like a fool, without considering what such love will cost. You won’t have to look far to find someone who is hurting, someone without a voice, someone waiting to know that they are loved” (p. 204).
I felt honored to be invited into such a beautiful journey of surprising joy in the midst of struggle and sadness.
You can buy Redeeming Ruth here.
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