Jantsen's Gift: A True Story of Grief, Rescue, and Grace

Jantsen's Gift: A True Story of Grief, Rescue, and Grace

by Pam Cope
     
 

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Nine years ago, Pam Cope owned a cozy hair salon in the tiny town of Neosho, Missouri, and her life revolved around her son's baseball games, her daughter's dance lessons, and family trips to places like Disney World. She had never been out of the country, nor had she any desire to travel far from home.

Then, on June 16th, 1999, her life changed forever

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Overview

Nine years ago, Pam Cope owned a cozy hair salon in the tiny town of Neosho, Missouri, and her life revolved around her son's baseball games, her daughter's dance lessons, and family trips to places like Disney World. She had never been out of the country, nor had she any desire to travel far from home.

Then, on June 16th, 1999, her life changed forever with the death of her 15-year-old son from an undiagnosed heart ailment.

Needing to get as far away as possible from everything that reminded her of her loss, she accepted a friend's invitation to travel to Vietnam, and, from the moment she stepped off the plane, everything she had been feeling since her son's death began to shift. By the time she returned home, she had a new mission: to use her pain to change the world, one small step at a time, one child at a time. Today, she is the mother of two children adopted from Vietnam. More than that, she and her husband have created a foundation called "Touch A Life," dedicated to helping desperate children in countries as far-flung as Vietnam, Cambodia and Ghana.

Pam Cope's story is on one level a moving, personal account of loss and recovery, but on a deeper level, it offers inspiration to anyone who has ever suffered great personal tragedy or those of us who dream about making a difference in the world.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

For Cope, life in her small Missouri town seemed perfect; she ran a hair salon, enjoyed a happy family life and lived in a beautiful home. Yet, she explains, "I have to say, I put on a hell of a performance. For a long time, I even had myself convinced of how good and right everything was in my life." Her ideal was shattered in 1999 when Jantsen, her 15-year-old son, died suddenly from a heart ailment; this moving memoir recounts Cope's transformation and growth after her world collapsed. Her metamorphosis began after she accepted an invitation from a friend to visit Vietnam. Though Cope was wrapped in personal grief following the death of her son, the trip illuminated for her the superficial environment she inhabited. After visiting a local orphanage, Cope found for the first time in her life a sense of "wholeness and purpose." Soon she stepped outside her own circumscribed world and began creating better lives for the abused, neglected and at-risk children she encountered, first in Vietnam then in Cambodia and Ghana. This is a wonderful story of a woman whose personal tragedy gave birth to a gift and how she fulfilled that legacy to make the world a better place. (Apr.)

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Kirkus Reviews
A Missouri hair-salon owner confronts personal tragedy by rescuing at-risk children overseas. When her 15-year-old son Jantsen died from a heart problem in 1999, Cope's world came crashing down. An offer from friend Carol to visit Vietnam helped draw her out of her misery. Cope found beautiful countryside marred by a population in the midst of staggering poverty levels. A visit to an orphanage put her personal suffering in perspective as she and husband Randy witnessed tiny babies and toddlers living parentless and alone. They initiated the grueling adoption process after a chance encounter with Van, a small boy curled up on a floor mat. After Van became a part of their family, Cope reflects that "rocking him to sleep every day for his nap was like a balm on my heart." Back at home, the author solicited donations for a fund dedicated to the betterment of young lives in Vietnam, and she began appearing and speaking at area volunteer groups, social gatherings and churches, garnering varying degrees of interest in her cause. Cope's humanitarian project truly took off when the author sold her wedding ring to increase the fund's coffers and gave her project a name, Touch a Life. As the organization grew, other deplorable situations caught her attention: factories recruiting child laborers, young girls working the sex trade and human trafficking. The author's charitable, compassionate nature saturates the narrative, giving it a smooth, unrushed flow. By 2001, she and husband Randy had further extended their family with other adoptions and expanded cross-cultural outreach efforts to Ghana, Haiti and Cambodia. Skillfully written account of finding hope after grief.
Washington Post
"A profound reminder of what a difference one person can make in the world."
From the Publisher
"This is a wonderful story of a woman whose personal tragedy gave birth to a gift and how she fulfilled that legacy to make the world a better place."—Publishers Weekly"

The author's charitable, compassionate nature saturates the narrative, giving it a smooth, unrushed flow...a skillfully written account of life after grief."—Kirkus"

A profound reminder of what a difference one person can make in the world."—Washington Post

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780446199698
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
04/16/2009
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

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