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The Waiting: The True Story of a Lost Child, a Lifetime of Longing, and a Miracle for a Mother Who Never Gave Up

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  • Posted May 11, 2014

    The Waiting by Cathy LaGrow     This is one of those books that

    The Waiting by Cathy LaGrow
     
     
    This is one of those books that once you start reading it you don't want to put it down for any reason.  It is the story of Minka, a milkmaid in South Dakota in the early days of the 20th Century who as a young teenager is raped.  She is from a hard working, Christian family and when she finds she is pregnant, the only solution that seems viable is to send her away until the baby is born, adopt out the baby and then let her return to her life on the family farm.  Despite the fact that she is a victim of rape, she falls deeply in love with her baby and giving the baby up for adoption is the most gut-wrenching thing in her life and it changes her forever.  For many years, Minka remembers this child at every holiday and birthday and wonders where she is and what she is doing and what she looks like.  Minka eventually marries and has a couple of children by her husband but she still prays daily for that lost daughter.  Over the years, many changes occur and grandchildren and great-grandchildren come into her life and eventually both her siblings, her husband and her mother have all died and she is living alone in her 90s and still going strong.  That's when her miracle happens and that long-lost daughter's son gets curious, does some research and finds Minka.  The reunion is much more than either she or her daughter expected.  Now over 100 with a daughter in her 80s, she has doubled the size of her family with her daughter's six children and their children etc.  This is a true story and an amazing testimony of a mother's devotion to her child. 
     
    This book is very well written and keeps you glued to the pages wanting to know what will happen next.  It is an extraordinary story of an extraordinary life.  The author is the granddaughter of Minka.
     
    I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale for the purpose of reviewing it.  All opinions are my own and I did not receive any compensation for the review.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    The year is 1928 and in Aberdeen, South Dakota a 16 year old gir

    The year is 1928 and in Aberdeen, South Dakota a 16 year old girl is raped. That rape led to the birth and subsequent adoption of a baby girl.  In this new non-fiction book by Cathy LaGrow, readers will delve into that story of Minka and the baby girl she gave up (Betty Jane).




    It happened at a picnic. Minka couldn't imagine anything as horrible as that rape, but then she found out that she was pregnant. It was a shame on the family in 1928, so Minka was sent away to live with family, then to a Lutheran House of Mercy. She couldn't imagine raising her daughter as an unwed mother, so reluctantly, Minka gave her precious baby girl up for adoption. While she was named Ruth by her adoptive family, Minka always thought of her as Betty Jane, and never stopped longing to meet her. Ruth had children, and decided to search for her biological mother when her son wanted information about his medical history. The reunion happened seventy seven years after the birth, but the bond was still there. Love never dies.




    I really enjoyed this book, not just because of the story line, but I loved the characters. Non-fiction doesn't appeal to everyone, but this book should. The care with which the author handles the story, the love that fills the pages, is what will capture your attention and encourage you to read on. It is a book that I will read again. 

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 7, 2014

    Just the little I'd heard about this story made me salivate to r

    Just the little I'd heard about this story made me salivate to read the book. And it did not disappoint. Heartfelt and deeply touching, THE WAITING shows a mother's unfailing love over a span of many, many years. Steadfast hope in what seemed a hopeless situation. The writing is winsome and the story compelling. Sometimes through tears, I found myself cheering on Minka until the last page. Don't miss this one!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 28, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    The Waiting is a poignant, unforgettable journey. Minka¿s innoce

    The Waiting is a poignant, unforgettable journey. Minka’s innocent life is spun out of control when she is assaulted as a teenager. This true story is heartbreaking, but uplifting, in the author weaves God’s love and healing throughout. Good things can come from tragic circumstances, reward can come from patience, and God’s love, acceptance, forgiveness, and triumph encourages us to have faith.

    I love books that incorporate history, and these pages transported to the times gone by. War can be illustrated in many ways, but not more powerfully than from within.

    As far as the mechanics of this story – the flow is flawless, the writing is superb, and the emotion is mountainous. I’m left satisfied, yet wanting—for more from this author.

    Publisher: Tyndale Momentum
    Pages: 337
    Pace: Steady
    First Line: Four and a half hours before her life would change forever, Minka stood in a dusty parking lot, twisting her handkerchief as she willed her family to hurry up.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy free from Tyndale Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The options I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 24, 2014

    Never judge a book by its cover... That's how the saying goes,

    Never judge a book by its cover... That's how the saying goes, right? Well, I am so glad I went against tradition and decided to give this book a shot, precisely because of its cover. The back cover and the summary in Tyndale describe a story about a young girl who is assaulted and raped at 16, when she still thought that babies were brought by the stork. But there was something about the hands in the picture that reminded my of my own grandma, and I couldn't take the image off my head. And I'm so glad it stayed there...

    What a story! Minka is a farm girl, innocent and hard working. And yes, she is unfortunately raped and gets pregnant at 16. Minka realized what happened to her when her own mother starts asking questions when she recognizes a pregnancy and learns the truth of how things happened; she is set to help her daughter and protect her reputation. Because of this, Minka is encouraged to leave the area where she grew up, have the baby, and give her for adoption. Minka was never completely aware of what it all entailed, but her wonderful journey is a testimony of how the darkest happenings are also immense blessings.

    Her innocence was taken away in a horrible moment, but her love never weakened. In her lack of understanding, she sought news from her baby girl and wrote letters for years and years, longing to have news of that little bundle of joy with deep blue eyes that she once held in her hands. Minka prayed every day for her daughter to have a good and plentiful life. On her daughter's 77 birthday, she had the bluntness of adding a petition - to see her again; on that same day, her daughter was opening a big envelope containing all the documents related to her adoption... and a huge stack of letters written by a loving mother who would never forget about her.

    I had issues reading this book... Please don't take me wrong, it was just so intense that at times, it was hard to continue reading. There was a lot of pain and emotions rolling up and down; the initial connection with my own grandma flared this link that I seldom have had with other stories. There were moments I wanted to find a way into the story and comfort Minka. At times, I wanted to be there to ask for her comfort. Minka kept fighting on her knees, believing and trusting her Creator, knowing with all her heart that He will be there for her baby. My eyes teared up, my throat was in knots and my arms longed for a hug...

    Through the most difficult situation, Minka sets her eyes on things above and reminds us of the freedom of forgiveness, the support of our Creator and the richness of life found in serving others.

    This is a wonderful story that I highly recommend for those who may be needing some encouragement. And even if there is no major happening in your life, it is always a blessing to be reminded of how wonderful God's love is. Minka and her story are an inspiration; she has encouraged me to continue living life with my eyes set on things above and overall, trust God.

    I received a free copy from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 22, 2014

    Oh, Minka...what a story you have! And what a testament to your

    Oh, Minka...what a story you have! And what a testament to your faith in God and love for your daughter.

    Great story. Tragic, but with a very happy ending. You fall in love with Minka and her family and you love hearing about her life, even the little details. I didn't want to put it down. Mothers will love reading this...the bond between mother and child is powerful and this story celebrates it better than any other I've ever read!

    I am amazed at how nicely the story flows and all the life details that are in there. What an undertaking for the authors, Cathy LaGrow (Minka's granddaughter) and Cindy Coloma. I was also very pleased to read how Minka's faith grew as she got older and how God answered her prayers. This story can encourage so many!

    Disclaimer: I received this book from Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 15, 2015

    Minka DeYoung grew up in circumstances that were simultaneously

    Minka DeYoung grew up in circumstances that were simultaneously difficult and safe. Working alongside her parents and being unable to attend high school, Minka is innocent and shy. On a picnic one summer day in 1928, Minka slips away for a walk in the woods with another girl, only to be sexually assaulted by a stranger. Understandably confused and hurt, she later realizes that she is also pregnant. Sent away to hide the pregnancy and give the baby up for adoption, Minka falls in love with her beautiful baby girl, Betty Jane. Realizing that giving her to another family is for the best, Minka sacrifices her own desires and leaves the child for its adoptive parents. Almost eighty years later, she utters a prayer asking to see her daughter, but never expects that it will happen. Such a prayer seems impossible, but Minka's story exemplifies the truth that with God, nothing is impossible. Read more in The Waiting by Cathy LaGrow.

    At times, The Waiting was difficult to read and I found myself on the verge of tears. It's not light, fluffy entertainment, but a remarkable true story that has the potential to change hearts with its themes of perseverance, faith and love.

    The author expertly brings the reader into Minka's experience with vivid narration, intriguing historical detail and a heart-wrenching plot. Some details of the rape are given, but only the necessities that help the reader to understand the story. While it is unpleasant to read about and probably not appropriate for younger readers, it is not overly graphic. I enjoyed how much history was integrated within the story. Not just big events like wars and economic upheaval, but lesser known things like the doctor following the standard procedure of the day in dosing Minka with ether when she came to the pushing stage of childbirth.

    The cover of The Waiting is stunning and the photos inside contribute positively to the reader's experience. To see Minka and Ruth (Betty Jane) together after reading their story is such a poignant image.

    Readers who are looking for an inspirational, true story of perseverance and faith will enjoy The Waiting. This book is a keeper for me. It's not something I'll want to read again in three months, but I'm sure I'll read it again in the future.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 8, 2015

    Fabulous read

    This is a wonderful story, a story of a Mother's love, a story of family and a story of faith. If you are a part of the adoption triad this is a must read. If you are a Mother, a daughter or a member of a family thus is a must read. Amazing

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  • Posted September 1, 2014

    One of the most fascinating books I've read lately, "The Wa

    One of the most fascinating books I've read lately, "The Waiting" by Cathy LaGrow is a novelized telling of a true story. Young Minka, or Minnie as she is called, is raped by a stranger while on a special picnic with her sewing club. She is 17 and extremely shy and innocent, still believing that the stork is the deliverer of babies. When she discovers (several months later) what she is facing she is grieved but goes forward with courage. She stays with an Aunt and eventually lives at the House of Mercy, a home for unwed mothers, to deliver her baby. Soon, a little girl she names Betty Jane arrives, and she is instantly in love - although she knows she will have to give her up for adoption.


    The years pass and Minnie never ceases to think of her beloved daughter, even though she has had no contact and doesn't know much beyond that she was adopted by a Lutheran Minister and his wife. She goes on to live a full and fulfilling life, not without her share of heartbreak; but she never forgets her first daughter. Finally, decades later on "Betty Jane's" 77th birthday, Minnie prays to see her just once! before she dies. Unbeknownst to her, 'Betty Jane' is still alive - and her son Brian is very interested in learning their health history. He begins, with his mother's permission, to research her adoption and in the process finds Minnie. The joyous reunion begins and continues to this day.


    This is such a beautiful book. It is well written, thoroughly researched (the author's note at the end provides incredible detail on what they went through to make sure the details were accurate), and so touching. You will treasure this incredible testament to unending love and God's miracles.

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  • Posted August 29, 2014

    When I heard the premise for this book, I knew I had to read it.

    When I heard the premise for this book, I knew I had to read it. It was every bit as good as I anticipated! After Minka is raped as a teenager, she discovers she is pregnant and gives the baby up for adoption. This incredible story goes on to tell of Minka's life and reunion with that baby 77 years later.

    I was shocked time after time at how different life is now than when Minka was growing up 100 years ago. Her difficult circumstances were heartbreaking, but she was strong despite them. I appreciated, especially, that she grew closer to God in the midst of these challenging times.

    The writing is tender and moving, which only adds to the beauty of the story. By the time I reached the end of the book, I was quite emotional. What a wonderful gift the Lord gave both Minka and "Betty Jean"! And what a wonderful gift Minka's family has given all of us through the telling of this story. It was simply delightful. One of the best books I have read this year. [5 stars]

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  • Posted August 10, 2014

    What an incredible story of undying love. Minka would always lov

    What an incredible story of undying love. Minka would always love her baby girl. ALWAYS. The story begins at the very beginning of Minka's life. Born to parents who would emigrate to the plains of the Midwest, Minka's life is one of loss. From early on she is taught hard work, stoicism and sacrifice. Following her father's early death in a tragic drowning accident, Minka and her family are shifted around until her mother remarries. Life is hard on the farm in the late 1920s. Though Minka and her sister Jane are very sheltered, their needs are met. When Minka is raped on a Sewing Circle picnic, she doesn't even know what happened. It happened. She'd been taught to show no emotion, so she stuffed it down and carried on. That is, until her mother realizes she must be pregnant. It's hard to imagine a 17 year old girl still thinking that the stork brings babies. She is sent away to have the baby, place it for adoption and then return to the farm. No one would guess how much Minka would fall in love with her baby girl. As her life goes on she writes letter after letter to her baby Betty Jane, by way of the House of Mercy. Throughout her life she shelters the secret of her baby girl. When Betty Jane turned 77, Minka prayed and asked to see her baby girl one more time before she died. The story then switches to fill the reader in on Ruth's (Betty Jane) life. She's had a good life. A stable life. A life of faith and love. She married a good man and had 6 amazing children. They are doctors, lawyers, even an astronaut. Ruth's son Brian approaches his mother about finding out more about her biological mother as she was raised knowing she was adopted. When Ruth receives her court file it's huge. Inside are all the letters Minka wrote concerning her baby girl. Ruth learns that though she was a product of a violent crime, her mother could not love her more. Brian tracks Minka down and reunites the family. I cried. I laughed. I sat amazed at God's goodness and a mother's love. Adoption is close to my heart, as my own family would not be what is is, without adoption. I couldn't help but think about how society today would push Minka to have an abortion. Yet what legacy the world would not have had if Minka did. By choosing life and choosing love, Minka changed the world.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2014

    Uplifing,fascinating read!

    This book is absolutely captivating and I urge you to read it so that your heart will be warmed and your spirits lifted!

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  • Posted August 6, 2014

    This is a truly amazing story about faithfulness, love, forgiven

    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 83-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.

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  • Posted August 6, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I actually purchased a copy of "The Waiting" when it f

    I actually purchased a copy of "The Waiting" when it first released, but didn't finish the book until last night. As I began to read Minka's story, my heart just couldn't handle it all at the time. See, this is far more than a story about a mother searching for her daughter.


    This is the story of a woman's lifetime, lived in faith in God through difficult times and good times, spanning a century of life and change. Yes, for 77 years Minka Disbrow carried the ache for her baby girl, longing to see her again...but the book is so much more than just that one story.


    As the child born from an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy, memories were stirred in me that had been (I thought) laid to rest years ago. I mean, I just turned 51 this year...I'm not a little girl anymore! But as an adoptee, I don't think those feelings ever leave us, and Minka's story poked a finger at some very old wounds.


    So I had to put the book down and walk away for a bit. Once I returned to the story I was determined to see it through to the end, and I'm so glad I did. Even though Minka's life is filled with hardship and struggle, her faith not endured but strengthened. She never gave up...on anything or anyone. And God granted her the desire of her heart...to see her Betty Jane one more time.


    The reunion caused me to widen my focus on my own life. Somewhere out there in this world I have potential siblings I've never met...nieces, nephews....aunts and uncles...cousins and grandparents. I've always just thought about the missing father in my life, and I didn't miss him at all. Never wanted to know, to search or to question.


    Now I wonder what I've missed. Time will tell. In the meantime, thank you to Tyndale House Publishers for printing "The Waiting" and making Minka's and Betty Jean (Ruth's) story available to all of us. "The Waiting" is highly recommended.

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  • Posted July 12, 2014

    This is a Beautiful Life Story. What a wonderful, detailed, fasc

    This is a Beautiful Life Story. What a wonderful, detailed, fascinating record of a very full life! This account is so heartwarming and heart-rending at the same time that it touches every emotion. I did not want this precious story to end. Just when I thought the events were reaching a conclusion, I received the gift of more details about this extended family. The writing was well done. The author and the contributor gave hints at the beginnings of chapters, to be cleared up expertly through the rest of the narrative. I would not give anything away, but much sorrow was described, deep faith, and a very joyful resolution. The research was excellent; Cathy LaGrow kept the history accurate and fascinating. All the photos were beautiful. This is very much worth reading!

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  • Posted July 8, 2014

    In August 1928, sixteen year old Minka DeYoung was raped at a p

    In August 1928, sixteen year old Minka DeYoung was raped at a picnic. As a total innocent, she had no idea what had happened – only that it hurt and didn’t seem right. A couple of months later her mother figured out that her daughter was pregnant and told Minka she was going to have a baby. At first Minka didn’t even believe her as she honestly thought the storks brought babies. To keep anyone from knowing, even her own sister with whom she shared a bed, Minka was sent away to have the baby and give it up for adoption. She does give the baby, Betty Jane, up only because she didn’t want the baby to endure the shame and insults and instead to have a better life with a mother and father. But never did she forget her baby Betty Jane. For 18 years she faithfully wrote letters to the Lutheran House of Mercy, desiring any word about her baby. And, other than a few words like, the baby is growing and is fine, she heard nothing. For 77 years she waited, wondering how her baby was doing.
    This book is the story of her life as she waited, detailing her later marriage, the births of her daughter and son and later grandchildren. It also details some of her daughter’s life, as she grew and became a mother and grandmother also. And finally, the book tells of their reunion. The Waiting is written by Minka’s daughter and is a family history. To be honest, I enjoyed it but it did drag on some.

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  • Posted July 7, 2014

    The Waiting is a true story of a young teenager who was raped, b

    The Waiting is a true story of a young teenager who was raped, became pregnant, and months later discovered the changes in her body were because she was pregnant. On the advice of her minister and parents she went to a Lutheran House of Mercy for unwed girls where she had the baby. In spite of the fact that she adored the baby she had and wanted to keep her, she was counseled that for the baby’s sake she should give the baby to a good home. Naming her Betty Jane, Minka wanted only the best for the baby. Minka’s hands, wrecked by years of farm work, made her realize that keeping the baby would not be best for the baby, especially since people would look down on a baby without a father. So Minka let her baby be adopted after the several weeks she spent loving the baby at the House of Mercy. Minka sent weekly letters to the Home to be sent to the baby’s adoptive family, but no word ever came back. In time Minka married a wonderful man and had other children, but she never forgot her first born. This is a fabulous story of how God can redeem even the worse situations.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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