Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter

Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter

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by Jennifer Grant

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A Stirring Memoir on Parenthood and the Invisible Threads that Bind Us to Those We Are Meant to Love

The obstacles, surprises, and moments of grace that Jennifer Grant experienced, working through the adoption process to bring home her daughter from Guatemala, forever changed her life.

Love You More tells Grant’s deeply personal story of


A Stirring Memoir on Parenthood and the Invisible Threads that Bind Us to Those We Are Meant to Love

The obstacles, surprises, and moments of grace that Jennifer Grant experienced, working through the adoption process to bring home her daughter from Guatemala, forever changed her life.

Love You More tells Grant’s deeply personal story of adopting her daughter, Mia. The process confronted her notions about what family means, pushed her into uncomfortable places, and—despite the waiting, adjustments, and challenges of a blended family—brought abiding joy.

Written for all parents but especially those interested in adoption, Love You More includes discussion questions, tips for prospective adoptive parents, and suggestions for readers on how to reach out in love and support for the world’s most vulnerable people, including orphans.

“From page one of her courageously vulnerable, intoxicatingly funny memoir about faith and family, Jennifer Grant finds the God of grace in each pot of macaroni and cheese, sticky little hand, doctor’s visit, late-night lawn mowing, and unlikely friend-turned-family-member that decorate her life.”—Cathleen Falsani, author, Sin Boldly

“So much written about adoption seems to overlook this essential truth: adoption is about love. Jennifer Grant’s story demonstrates this in every sentence and paragraph and on every page. She tells a story that is smart, funny, and brutally honest.”—Jessica O’Dwyer, author, Mamalita

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Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
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5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.70(d)

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Love You More

By Jennifer Grant

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2011 Jennifer Grant
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8499-4937-1

Chapter One

Mowing the Lawn in the Dark

My husband and I were in the weeds.

With three children born within three and a half years, we were in constant motion, changing diapers, filling sippy cups, and snapping and unsnapping the shallow little snaps on baby clothes. There was Play-Doh in the cracks between the floorboards, and the sand from the turtle sandbox out back was slowly finding its way into the house, sockful by tiny sockful. We could not remember what it felt like to sleep late or to spend a whole Saturday morning drinking coffee and reading the paper.

Our transition from young marrieds living in New York City to new parents living in a ranch house in the suburbs of Chicago had been abrupt. After graduate school, we had moved to New York so that my husband could pursue a career as a stage actor. His master's degree, from a highly respected program, was in acting performance. In New York, he did occasional voiceovers and performed in plays, staged readings, and backers' auditions.

When David wasn't acting, he worked part-time as a tutor, taking the subway to places as far-flung as Coney Island and the Bronx. His preferred place to meet with students was at the World Trade Center's Winter Garden. A few years later, he could barely make himself look at images of the garden, buried in debris. It had been his escape in a difficult time of life, a period in which he disappointed and second-guessed himself. When he wasn't working, he was sitting on the end of our bed, staring at the wall, waiting for his agent to call. For the first time in his life, he knew what it meant to be depressed.

Meanwhile, I had a job I loved in New York. I worked for a nonprofit organization in Manhattan dedicated to improving the health of people in the world's poorest places. My job provided me with a regular paycheck, an education about global issues, and an opportunity to meet like-minded friends. It also required me to travel. Travel is my secret passion, the only luxury I long for, an itch in my soul that begs to be scratched.

David and I lived on Sterling Place in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. "Off Flatbush, between Vanderbilt and Underhill." I gave those shorthand directions countless times to cab drivers and friends. "Prospect Heights." Even typing the name of the neighborhood makes me smile. As young, married twenty-somethings, fresh out of graduate school and renting an apartment in a grand old brownstone, my husband and I were ready to lay hold of bright futures. There we were in the aptly named neighborhood.

Were we indeed at the height of our prospects?

At the time, I did not attach any special meaning to the name. I only knew that in Brooklyn, Park Slope next door was the trendy neighborhood du jour with its historic homes, natural foods stores, top-rated restaurants, and of course, massive Prospect Park. The park was created by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the men who designed Central Park in Manhattan.

I preferred the less flashy Prospect Heights to Park Slope. I liked that many of the families who lived on our block were rooted; they were there to stay. The neighborhood was diverse, middle class, and real. I felt more at home in New York than anywhere I have lived, before or since. Down the street, a few blocks east of where we lived, is Tom's Restaurant. The first time we were invited to breakfast there with friends, I realized I was about to visit an institution, a real Brooklyn gem. "They give you coffee and cookies and oranges when you're waiting on line," our friend said. "Gus, the owner, he's a mensch."

Tom's opened in 1936, and its décor goes back decades. There are bouquets of plastic flowers in cheap vases and kitschy paintings and strands of white lights on the wall. Signs drawn on neon poster board cutouts advertise specialties like the Cherry-Lime Ricky, egg creams, and pancake specials. "Breakfast Served All Day," they promise. There are framed family photos at the register. The wait-staff is actually friendly. Walking down the street and eating at Tom's gave me a satisfying peek into what living in the 1950s might have been like, at breakfast anyway. Tom's stirred up a longing in me for a simpler time, much the way watching an old musical does. I realize that if you were, say, the Rosenbergs, Arthur Miller, or Rosa Parks you probably would not wax eloquent about what a lovely and simple time it was in America in the 1950s. But Tom's made me feel nostalgic for artifacts of that time. Lime Rickys. A soda fountain. Courteous waiters politely chatting with you.

After a breakfast of scrambled eggs, pancakes, grits, and too much coffee, my husband and I would walk over to the farmers' market at nearby Grand Army Plaza. We lingered over fiddlehead ferns, local honey, and Ginger Gold apples. I bought milk in thick, glass bottles and returned home feeling very pleased with life's simple pleasures. A brown paper sack of mushrooms. A loaf of fresh bread. A bunch of muddy beets.

I remember one day after breakfast at Tom's, my husband and I sat out in the garden behind our apartment on a quilt, reading the newspaper. Our dog sniffed around the edges of the yard. The sky was a clear blue, and I watched butterflies landing on the deep green leaves of the wisteria that braided itself through the old wooden fence. Then, in a sudden, unexpected moment, a thought knocked into me like a blow to the chest.

"I miss our children," I said aloud. "I'm homesick for them. I wish they were here with us, out here today."

I don't remember David's response, but he probably laughed and made a crotchety comment about how having a dog was hassle enough. He wanted children someday, but not yet. He certainly did not miss them in advance of their arrival. I'd ache for my—yet unknown—children again and again over the next few years, the feeling coming over me as unexpectedly and violently as it did the first time.

When I thought about being a mother, I wondered whether we would be able to conceive. Getting pregnant was no longer a given for many couples; infertility seemed to be on the rise. If we did have children, how many would we have? What would they be like? Look like? I looked at my husband's fair hair, his blue eyes and strong features, and wondered if our children would be blond. Or would they have hair as dark and unruly as my own? That day in our backyard, I pictured two small children quietly lying between us on the quilt. Maybe one would be gazing up at the sky while the other raked little fingers through the grass. Whenever the thought of their absence hit me, I felt a gnawing pain in my chest.

I was not, however, eager to leave our life in New York, despite these occasional maternal attacks and my husband's growing dissatisfaction with the city. My life felt like an adventure. I began working on a project in Southeast Asia and flew from New York to Bangkok to work in my organization's Thailand office.

I made trips to Vietnam, first to Hanoi and then to project sites around the country. On one trip, I arrived in the city of Hue (pronounced something like "h'way"), in central Vietnam, without a driver or translator. The challenge of finding transport into the city from the airport thrilled me. I opted for a ride from two young men who, grinning, pointed at their ancient black Soviet Lada and opened the back door for me. The floor of the car had rusted through, so I sat cross-legged on the seat, clutching my briefcase in my lap, and let the lush scenery sweep by on the short ride: The beauty of the rice paddies, dotted with women bent over the fields wearing their conical hats. The water buffalo, somber-faced and massive, standing as though they were waiting to be told what to do next. People, laden with overflowing baskets of rice and sweet potatoes, walking along the side of the road toward the market.

I fell in love with Hue. Wandering around the Forbidden City was like waking up in the film The Last Emperor. It was magical to be in a place where cultures and histories overlapped. Some of the huge urns and statues of dragons had been marred with bullet holes, wounds sustained during the Tet Offensive when Vietnam and the United States were at war. I also couldn't spend enough time at the royal tombs in Hue, their courtyards populated by neat rows of stone elephants, horses, and warriors. My favorite was the tomb of Tu Duc and the stunning gardens that surround it. In some of the bookstalls and souvenir shops, cassette tapes of traditional Vietnamese music played. Buddhist monks, dressed in saffron-colored robes, chanted. Everything was strange and captivating to me, and I had the electrifying insight that I was, truly, on the other side of the world.

I also loved Hanoi—its energy; the narrow, winding side streets; and the vendors on the sidewalks, crouching beside huge stacks of plastic chairs or pyramids constructed of fresh oranges. The streets were jammed with scooters, bikes, and cyclos. On one trip to Vietnam, I wondered whether there was a spiritual reason for these journeys. I felt a connection to the place. Why did it feel so deep? Was I meant to live here someday? Might we adopt a child from Vietnam in the future? I witnessed the poverty, I heard stories about crowded orphanages, and I had grown to love the good humor and gracious spirit of the people.

* * *

Back in New York, there was an on-site day care down the hall from my cubicle. I watched parents stop in multiple times a day to visit their kids. Mothers nursed their infants. Fathers slipped in to hug their children on their way to the conference room. Although I had always imagined I would be an at-home mother, I realized there were more good ways than one to raise kids. I could keep my job and be close to my baby all day when the time came.

Then, as will happen in life, everything changed.

David no longer wanted to wait out the slow momentum his career was gathering. He tired of doing what he darkly called "friends' theater," or collaborating with friends on everything from writing a script to constructing the set to printing the programs and then performing the show for an audience composed of ... friends. Although not many of his jobs fell into the category of "friends' theater," he had tired of living as an actor in New York. Work was coming too slowly and in fragments. David wanted what he called "a real job." He had become uncomfortably aware that he was almost thirty and that he not only wanted to have kids but he wanted to be able to provide a comfortable, stable home for them. He started to have panic attacks.

"It's a man thing," I said when friends expressed bewilderment about his sudden career change.

In a moment of decisiveness, we decided to return to Illinois, several years after leaving it. We moved back to the town where we both had grown up, close to where much of our family lives. David got a job in software. We bought a house and outfitted the garage with snow shovels, a lawnmower, and two cars. Within weeks, I learned that I was pregnant. Suddenly, my husband was the one with the full-time job. I spent my days padding around the house in my socks, doing laundry, paging through cookbooks, and reading volume after volume of pregnancy and parenting books. As our baby grew inside me, I pined for New York. I missed my friends. I missed my job. I missed real bagels, restaurants that stayed open past nine, and the noise and color of neighborhood festivals and street fairs. I missed walking to church on Sunday mornings over uneven slate sidewalks and missed our old parish's West Indian congregation. I missed taking a taxi to the airport and making the long journey to the other side of the world to stop in on Emperor Tu Duc or eat soft-shelled crabs in a shack on the South China Sea.

I even missed the car alarms that woke me many times on Sterling Place. Sometimes I would walk around my quiet house, singing out the long symphony of buzzers and tones that used to irritate me.

At night in the new house, listening out my open window, all I could hear were crickets.

The conversations my husband and I had begun to engage in had plummeted from heady discussions about Waiting for Godot ("Why do you think only Vladimir remembers things from one day to the next?") to the banal ("Should we go with the PPO, EPO, or HMO this year?"). I'd gone from a life where I might find myself drinking a bowl of chocolate and nonchalantly glancing at Uma Thurman sitting a few tables over in a Greenwich Village coffee shop to standing in a long line to apply for membership at Costco. As tender as were my feelings toward my babies, I started to feel that I was changing into a lackluster suburban mom with a long to-do list and dark circles under her eyes.

It wasn't that I didn't connect with motherhood. I had always wanted to be a mother. I remembered the yearning I'd had, back in Brooklyn, for those children who were to come. I loved so much about the first years of my children's lives. Reading books. Letting them make detours on our walks so that they could break off a flower from a lilac bush or stop and watch a train go by. "You've got to be a parent someday. If for no other reason, it's worth it for the bugs," I said to a young friend recently. Crouching on the sidewalk with your toddler to watch regiments of ants marching single file, transporting their obscenely outsized cargo. Learning about praying mantises, marveling at the aquarium of walking sticks at a nature center, counting the legs of a spider. I drank it all in.

But I wondered whether I would like the person I was turning out to be. What was happening to my brain?

After watching the movie for about the tenth time with my son, I found myself obsessing over Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (or "Chee Chee Bon Bon," as he called it). What could it mean? I'd wonder as he danced around the room singing about Truly Scrumptious. Truly Scrumptious? Who has a name like that? What would my critical theory professor from graduate school make of it? I mused over the sexual politics of the song "You're My Little Chu-chi Face." I sardonically wondered whether Truly indeed was just a doll on a music box. Why wasn't anyone writing academic papers about this film? I would do it myself, I thought, if I weren't so busy winding up the baby swing and raking through the LEGO bin trying to find Darth Vader's light saber or that red headlight my son was missing.

Who was I becoming? My friend Caryn Rivadeneira has written about the complicated feelings women have about motherhood. Like me, she is in love with her children and is truly grateful to be a mother. Rivadeneira admits, however, to experiencing some quite tangled feelings about the child-rearing years.

"When being a mom looms so large that it obscures everything else God has made me to be, I sort of hate it," she has written. "Other people are not seeing the real me. Instead they see 'career mom' or 'preschool mom' or 'smiling-and-waiting-for-the-bus mom.'"

I felt a growing distance from the "real" me. Now it was the "at-home-mom" me—not my husband—sitting at the end of the bed sometimes, wondering who I was, fearing that all of the layers, all of the complexity, all of the amazing life experiences I'd had in the past decade were being efficiently wiped up and folded into a paper towel, like somebody's spilled milk. Would I find myself, a few years down the line, chattering incessantly about my new granite countertops or griping about the lawn service? Would I be a woman who spends her days fretting over whether her son is popular or her daughter is the captain of the dance team? Was it inevitable?

Bruce Cockburn's song from the early 1980s, "The Trouble with Normal," played in my mind when I found myself regarding the suburban landscape and noticing things such as my neighbor's improved driveway and suddenly wondering whether we should get ours repaved too. What about those sprawling yew bushes out in front of our house? Everyone seemed to be ripping them out and putting in tidy boxwoods. Should we do that too? And was I handicapping my three-year-old son by not finding him a private batting coach or enrolling him in French lessons?


Excerpted from Love You More by Jennifer Grant Copyright © 2011 by Jennifer Grant. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Jennifer Grant is a journalist with an interest in parenting and family life. She writes a regular column and feature stories for the Chicago Tribune and is a guest blogger for Web sites, including Fulfill and Christianity Today's her.meneutics blog for women. A graduate of Wheaton College, she earned her masters in English at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Jennifer and her husband have four children: three by birth and one, the youngest, by adoption.

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Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Homeschooling_Momma_To_4 More than 1 year ago
I was recently sent a copy of the book Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter by Thomas Nelson Publishing. Love You More is a book written by an adoptive mother about her journey to adopting her daughter from Guatemala. In the book she chronicles the events that happened leading up to the adoption including the way God lead her and her husband to the choice of adoption. As an adoptive mother myself I was very interested in reading this book. As I read the book, however I began to feel like people who haven't considered adoption should read this book as well, because she really puts into words the way an adoptive mother feels about their adoptive child. As I read it I loved the way she described that she felt like her daughter was always meant to be with her family, because that is exactly how we felt about Shea and later William. I had no idea it could feel that way, but looking back I can clearly see the steps God put in our lives that lead us to adopting our specific children, and I can clearly see that they were meant to be with us. Even as we went through the craziness of the CPS system He was the one in control of the chaos, making sure that everything happened at precisely the right time in spite of our attempts to rush things. Smile In the book Love You More, Jennifer Grant talks about how frustrating the whole process was, and how it was awful waiting for the government to decide that her family was, in fact, a family. In some ways, adopting through the foster system is easier in that we get to experience the firsts with our child, but in way it's more difficult because if something goes wrong we have had the child and then have to say good-bye. In a sense we risk our hearts in a different way. At the end she talks about how it with her daughter now, about 10 years after the fact, and how her family has been shaped through the experience. I really enjoyed reading about the later experiences as I can not wait to get there myself. In short, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who wonders about adoption, is considering adoption, or knows anyone who has adopted Smile Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. 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."
millstreetreader More than 1 year ago
Journalist Jennifer Grant allows us an inside look into her family path to adopt a Guatemalan toddler. Already parents of three children under the age of six, Jennifer and her husband believe their family will only be complete when they add an adopted child. Grant spends time explaining how they came to chose Guatemala, in the end sharing her belief that she and young Mia have been chosen by God for each other. I've read other books about adoption and have enjoyed them (will be blogging about them also), but I admire the great sensitivity Grant has as she explains the conflicting viewpoints that surround world adoptions. As a result, I think I better understand the decisions some countries such as China and South Korea have taken to end or slow the American race to adopt their children. Throughout the book, Grant's humor, especially when aimed at her own parenting style, keeps the book lively and interesting. Whether it's her unspoken responses to curious bystanders who feel they must point out that one of her children doesn't match the others or the special book she creates to help Mia understand her journey from birth to America, you will admire Jennifer's sensitivity and wit. Once and awhile a book, even a short one like this, will have a golden story or quote --- something you will take with you and make part of your own language. This book had such a story for me. I am not going to share it, but for anyone who decides to read the book, be ready for the story about oreo cookies, a three year old, and the line, "Are these always available?" It is my new one liner for anything that is superb or delectable!! I received this title as an advanced reader's copy. This review reflects my opinions
Kennisha More than 1 year ago
Book Synopsis: An intimate family memoir written by a mother on the adoption process. Following the invisible thread of connection between people who are seemingly intended to become family, journalist Jennifer Grant shares the deeply personal, often humorous story of adopting a fifteen-month-old girl from Guatemala when she was already the mother of three very young children. Her family's journey is captured in stories that will encourage not only adoptive families but those who are curious about adoption or whose lives have been indirectly touched by it. Love You More explores universal themes such as parenthood, marriage, miscarriage, infertility, connection, destiny, true self, failure and stumbling, and redemption. My review: I loved this book. Jennifer and her family went through incredible experiences and they followed their heart to adopt. But, in the midst of their journey, God consistently showed himself faithful. I really appreciate how she mapped out her adoption story so other's who are considering adoption can see what can be like to adopt internationally. Jennifer's tone was very authentic. I believed every single word she penned. She wasn't afraid to be transparent and share even the tiniest detail, regardless of how it may have ached her to write it. This is really one book that I know will bless the hearts of many. **I was given this book to give an honest review. Five stars!*
crichmanfreebies More than 1 year ago
Love You More, The Divine Surprise Of Adopting My Daughter" is a book written by Jennifer Grant. It is a book that is written with a ton of emotion and portrays the real feelings and proceedings of one womans trials and tribulations and ultimate feeling of love when adopting her daughter. I recommend this book for anyone looking for a good read, but mostly for anyone looking to adopt or who has already adopted. This book is filled with emotion and is written in a way that the reader can truly relate to the author. With discriptive recounts of what the author went through, feeling by feeling, the reader gets a chance to truly understand the entire process from beginning to end. This book tells the true story of one womans amazing journey. This book is written with true emotion and feeling. If you are looking for a good emotional and uplifting read, than look no further than this book.
LBrackbill More than 1 year ago
I read "Love You More" by Jennifer Grant, and absoutely loved it. My dad is adopted, I have cousins who are adopted, and we would like to adopt someday. So, I was excited to dive right in! From the very first word to the final sentence, author Jennifer Grant draws you into her story of love, hope, and waiting. Her vulnerable and honest tale is written in such a way that you are able to envision the scenes about which she is writing. She leads the reader on a journey of joy and pain as she walks through her family's adoption story. Mrs. Grant writes realistically and does not paint the picture of adoption through rose-colored glasses. She acknowledges the reality of adoption (including the problems that can arise) and even discusses the reasons why people adopt (and why they shouldn't). From honesty about her own emotions and fears to adding spiritual and historical contexts to create a clearer picture for the reader, the entire book is based on fact and is incredibly real. She explains the journey of natural motherhood in a way that is relatable and enjoyable by women in any stage of life-from being newly-married to having three kids, she discusses each step of the way. Her faith is evident throughout the book and she clearly shows how God orchestrated the entire adoption process. This book is riveting, and it provokes deep thought about tough issues such as social justice, poverty, and, of course, adoption. Mrs. Grant is a very talented writer and it is hard to put this book down! I highly recommend this book to anyone who has ever considered adoption, but also to those who haven't given it a thought...this book just might change your mind. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. 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."
DanielleL More than 1 year ago
I belive adoption is a great gift to not only the family adopting but to the child being adopted as well. While hubby and I haven't adopted... yet it is something we have talked about quite a bit. So needless to say I love reading up on adoption stories. Jennifer Grant divided her book into 3 perfect sections. Starting The Journey talks about how Grant and her husband came to the decision to adopt, introducing her family and easing you into the waters of adoption. Part 2, Waiting For Mia is all about the waiting and the process of the adoption, while she keeps it interesting with personal stories. Part 3, Learning To Know is all about getting to know each other and the family traditions they started, such as each May celebrating Mia's 'Homecoming Anniversary'. This is a great story of a growing family and full of information on international adoption. If you are even considering international adoption, this is a must read! I received a free copy of this book from BookSneeze to conduct my review. All opinions remain my own. Visit The Frugal Navy Wife for more info.
MamaKucing More than 1 year ago
This book I about Jennifer's life and experience that lead her to adopting a child from Guatemala altho0ugh she is already a mother of three. What I liked about this book is that it's not procedure orientated. It's more "memoir" like. Readers are given a picture of what Jennifer's and her family life was liked before the adoption and what prompted her to think about adoption. It's really good to know that she did not preach to the readers why they must adopt kids. She just placed the facts upfront and let the readers decide for themselves. As she had mentioned several times, adoption is not for everyone. What I don't like about this book is that it's lack of family photos. As people said a million times before, a photo is worth a million words. It would have been good if they published some photos too. Overall I rate this book 4 stars out of 5 star. It's not that informative on adoption procedure but it certainly helps readers to understand better what they have to expect when they adopt a child. It's not enough that the future parents wants to adopt just for the sake of charity, but they really have to have enough love for the child. To treat the child as if it's their biological child. I would like to thank the publisher, Thomas Nelson for sending me this book to review. All opinion stated herein are solely mine.
NMcC More than 1 year ago
Love You More by Jennifer Grant is a beautifully written book that tells the story of the author's personal walk through adoption. Every adoption story is worth hearing and this one is no exception. Grant starts at the point where she heard/felt God telling her that their family would be growing and walks through the process, highs AND lows, and continues through to having her daughter home in her arms. As someone who has considered adoption myself, I thoroughly enjoyed this "sneak peek" into someone else's adoption story but I would also recommend this book to those who have never considered adoption for themeselves. While this book is not written as an "instruction manual" for adoption, it does have a few tips for navigating the process, but it is also just a beautiful, interesting story of a growing family. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys hearing other's stories. It is well written, a good read. I received this book from Thomas Nelson's Booksneeze program but am under no obligation to provide a positive review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love You More by Jennifer Grant is the story of Jennifer's life leading up to, the decision making process and finally, the adoption of her Guatemala born daughter. I was very excited to receive this book, as I have always (secretly) dreamed of adopting a child when it came time to expand my family of three. I really appreciated Grant's honest account of the adoption process and related to her emotions while waiting for the long process to be completed. The first half of the book was mostly about her life leading up to the adoption and I have to admit, I was not nearly as interested in that part of the book. It seemed to dredge on for me and I had a hard time completing the book because of that. Also, at times, it felt as though Jennifer was trying to talk people out of adoption. I realize that adoption isn't something that everyone should do and it definitely needs to be approached with the right intentions but I finished this book slightly less enthusiastic about the idea. I enjoyed the book, It just wasn't quite what I expected. I haven't been through the adoption process before but I believe that Jennifer's description is fairly accurate. She was very relatable as a mother and I do appreciate her honesty. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone thinking about adopting, to any mother, or to anyone who needs to know that a family is not formed by blood, it is formed by love. I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. 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
JLDaigre More than 1 year ago
Love You More by Jennifer Grant Love you More by Jennifer Grant is the author's personal journey through the adoption process. She tells her story from before the adoption process until the end, when she and her husband bring their daughter, Mia, home from Guatemala, and even the years following. Jennifer has three biological children and feels a calling to adopt. This is a precious story of real life! It took me until about half way through to really get into the book. I really appreciated the part of the book where Grant writes about adoption not being for everyone. Also, I found the section about unethical adoptions, eye opening. What I love is that while reading this you can see Jennifer Grant's heart and her love for her children. She shares personal moments and personal feelings with the readers, which I appreciate. It helped me, the reader, see a clear and beautiful picture of adoption, and helped me understand adoption better. She also helped me see an adoptive mother's heart. It was also great to see the Grant's trust the Lord and to see Him always faithful! Excellent book that challenges presuppositions about adoption! I would recommend this to anyone! But, while recommending I will also warn that parts were hard to push through and were slow reading for me, but the end was worth it. 4 out of 5 stars. Booksneeze provided me with this book in exchange for an honest review. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the book review bloggers program. 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
JN45 More than 1 year ago
Love You More by Jennifer Grant tells of their struggles with adopting Mia a toddler from Guatemala.Grant and her husband aleady had three small children when they started out on this adventure.The book tells about all the ups and downs they went through before they finally got to adopt Mia at 15 months of age.She tells of the post adoption blues that started the day Isabel said "You are a bad person and a bad mother." Grant lists tips for adoptive parents, and resources to hopefully help others who are considering international adoption. I was sent this book by BookSneeze to review. This is my own opinion.
em4642 More than 1 year ago
According to Chinese proverb, "An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to meet regardless of time, place, or circumstance. The thread may stretch or tangle, but it will never break." In Love You More, Jennifer Grant threads together a delightful memoir of her daughter's adoption. Grant discusses the path of her Mia's adoption, starting with the initial interest to finally welcoming her home and watching her grow. The book even has a supplementary section at the end that includes tips for adoptive parents, discussion questions, and resources for those interested in adoption. Even though I'm a long way off having a family myself, I quite enjoyed this book. Grant's style of writing is easy-to-follow, entertaining, and always heartfelt. An excellent resource for those interested in adoption, I would highly recommend for someone interested in adoption--even remotely--just to find out more about it firsthand. This book helped me to be more aware of a Christian's role in the world and understand the needs some people face throughout life. It also helped me to sympathize more with multi-ethnic families, those who are adopted, or those who have given up a child for adoption. This book as a nice read, and would be really helpful for anyone considering adoption, especially international adoption. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. 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."
Nene3 More than 1 year ago
Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter takes a look at God's heart for adoption and tells Jennifer's personal story of falling in love with her daughter. Adoption is something that is very close to my heart and I have read many articles by Jennifer Grant on adoption websites, so I was looking forward to learning more about her journey. I was not disappointed, as the author fearlessly explores the hope, hurt, pain and joy of adoption. Grant begins her story with a detailed look at her past. She shares about about her pregnancies, the birth of two biological children, and then the pain of two miscarriages. Jennifer believes that all of these events unfolded in her life so that God could lead her to pursue adoption from Guatemala. In heart wrenching detail she describes the process of being matched with her daughter, the agony of waiting for her to come home, and the painful goodbye to the foster mom and country that hold her daughter's heritage. Adoption is a beautiful tragedy. It is a tragedy that it even has to exist. It is beautiful because it reflects God's deep love for us. Love You More explores the truth of these statements and does so with great justice. Grant explores poverty and corruption in the adoption system, but also exposes the hopelessness that an orphan in a foreign county experiences. Many scriptural and biblical examples of adoption are discussed and I believe she explains God's heart for the orphan in a simple but profound way. This book appealed to me as a mom who has a great hope for adding to our family through adoption. You are given an inside look at the adoption process, the struggles and the joys. But as a Christian, Love You More spoke to me about the beautiful hope and plans God has for all his children and the redemption story he weaves as he builds families together. Disclosure of Material: I received this book free from the publisher via Book Sneeze. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
alaskamonkeys More than 1 year ago
This book is all about Jennifer Grant and her family as the go on the journey of adoption. Even though Jeni has three kids by birth she has always felt a need and desire to adopt. When her and her husband finally decide to adopt a toddler girl from Guatemala it is only the beginning of the obstacles and surprises yet to come. Through out the book Jeni shares her worries and thoughts from everything like how her new daughter will get along with her other kids to if being taken away from her country will affect her in the long run and how her faith has helped her through it all. I have to say this book is a good one I too have always wanted to adopt and it let me have a little insight on how it works. I also like how she doesn't only talk about the adoption but also about being a mom of four kids and learning how to deal with the racial profiling of her daughter. I can identify with that being that my kids are mixed race ( Mexican-American ). I would recommend this book to anyone who might be interested in adoption or just needs to know your not the only busy mom in the world and your not alone.
ioana25 More than 1 year ago
I received Love You More by Jennifer Grant from Book Sneeze and the moment I got it I knew it would be a good one. Firstly, I like the way the book is divided. The three sections (Starting the journey; Waiting for Mia; Learning to know) are very helpful and the sub-chapters are great peeks into what it actually means to adopt a child. Secondly, given the fact that the author and her husband adopted internationally, the adoption required some things to be done and, not to forget, a long wait. I really liked the fact that the author referred to the challenges of adopting internationally (but not only). The blunt way of putting up front the whole process gives the reader and the potential adoptive family the right perspective on what adoption actually means. I was sincerely taken aback, especially reading her story once Mia, her Guatemalan daughter, was home. I am familiar with stories about adoptions and I have read some various blog posts on this, but I always felt that the hard part was left out. The details about the whole process were a great help in understanding what the whole journey meant. Two thumbs up for not painting a perfect pink picture of her adopting experience. Sharing the stories of her family's life style and giving the reader a chance to get to know her family better was, beside courageous, very helpful and made the whole book more personal, not just facts and details. Another thing I absolutely liked that she made a point out of was what she said about people who feel like they need to adopt just to help the less fortunate one in another part of the world, but their heart doesn't actually incline toward adoption. Just as she said, sponsoring an orphan is the better way to go. Lastly, the resources at the end of the book are as well helpful. The tips for prospective adoptive parents, the discussion questions, the links and the list of books are great for what I consider to be the first stepping stone for those who consider adoption, for the right reasons. But even if the reader doesn't, the glimpse into the shocking realities of 3rd world countries is nudging us to do something. All in all, the book is a great read, a lot of information, but not over the top. The author is good at writing and I liked her sense of humor and wit and especially the fact that she knows how much to share of everything, from family life to worldwide statistics.
rtwins More than 1 year ago
As an adoptive parent of children from our state's foster care system, I have read many books on adoption and it's process. If you only read one book on adoption, this is the one you must buy! Love You More by Jennifer Grant is her personal account of the adoption of her daughter, Mia, from Guatemala. I was very surprised to read that the processes she traveled through were almost identical to ours. Whether you are interested in foreign or domestic adoptions, you will want to purchase this informative book. David and Jennifer Grant already had three children, but felt something was missing in their home. This is the story of their journey to adopt. The author is brutally honest in every detail of this, sometimes painful, process. She writes with a touch of humor and wit, explaining the reasons they decided to adopt a child outside of the United States. She shares what to exect from family and friends, the legal system, and the emotional mountains and valleys adoptive parents experience during the journey. She divided their account into three parts : Starting The Journey, Waiting for Mia, and Learning To Know. The author included tips for prospective adoptive parents, discussion questions, a list of valuable resources for the entire family, and a reference of her notes. If you are thinking of adopting, are in the process of adopting, or have already adopted, you will want to read this book. It would also make an excellent gift to give to ones who are or have made this journey.
khager23 More than 1 year ago
This is the story of how Jennifer and her husband David adopted their youngest child, Mia. They had three other children (Theo, Ian and Isabel) and then decided to adopt one more. Mia's from Guatemala, which adds another dimension to the adoption (she's obviously adopted, which can cause stares and insensitive comments from strangers). This isn't really a "how t0" book on the best way to add to your family (although there are helpful tips, books and websites in the back of the book) but rather the story of how it worked in their case. Difficult topics aren't ignored. As I said, strangers make snide comments and some of her friends weren't supportive. Also, it took a long time for Mia to come home and when she did, adjustments had to be made (obviously). If you believe (as I do) that sometimes the most helpful books are the ones that let you know you're not alone, I think many adoptive families would find a great deal of value in this.
Esther62 More than 1 year ago
Jennifer Grant talks about parenting and how others made her felt when they saw her children in the grocery store.Looks, words - kind and rude is all included to make the reader know that the process of adoption doesn't end with the paper work. She goes on to talk about how her adopted daughter felt about her birth mother and the important talk that she had at the right moment. Simple, humorous and a great read. I found it hard to put down the book and looked forward to reading more though I knew that there was no particular end to the story. ( Disclaimer: Thanks to Thomas Nelson Publishers, I received a free advanced reading copy of this book as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. All opinions are only my own.)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Most recently, I finished Love Your More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting My Daughter by Jennifer Grant. As I am positive that our family is meant to eventually grow through adoption, I have been interested in reading about others' experiences. This book does not disappoint, a tender, touching memoir about the author's journey through adopting her daughter. Many of her themes are relevant to families in general (not just adoptive ones) such as marriage and parenthood. For a family that is beginning an adoption journey, or even for a family that has only considered it in passing, this book should be an encouraging read. The adoption journey is never simple, but reading this author's story may lead others down the rewarding path. I appreciated the meaning in the author's choice of title "Love You More" as any parent (adoptive, biological, foster, step, etc) can appreciate the true, unfathomable amount of love that a parent feels for a child. Please note that I received this book at no charge from BookSneeze in exchange for my honest review.
SingingPilgrim More than 1 year ago
It was my pleasure to read Love You More: The Divine Story of Adopting My Daughter by Jennifer Grant. Grant takes us through her family's journey: from childless married couple, to having three biological children, and then feeling the calling from God to adopt her daughter. She discusses the decision to adopt internationally, and which country they chose (Guatemala) and then falling in love with her daughter's picture. She takes us through the wait, and then unlike many stories of adoption, continues to tell us how her family adjusted to each other. She holds nothing back, discussing the pain of her miscarriage, misconceptions she held about adoption, and sharing with us the story of friends of hers who struggled with infertility before completing their family with adoption. I loved Grant's voice and found it easy to relate to her. I laughed several times, and also bit back tears. I identify with the longing for kids she described as "missing her children" before they were ever born. I feel honored Grant invited us to peer into her family life, and was much happier for it. While writing her own family's personal journey, and following Jesus' call for their life, she also tries to make the book accessible to any family adopting or considering adoption. It was lovely to see the obedience with which she and her husband responded to God's direction for their family. It was a very "real" book, and I definitely recommend it. I got this book from Thomas Nelson in exchange for an impartial review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jennifer Grant shares the story of how her adopted daughter, who was born in Guatemala, came to join their family. She shares why they choose to grow their family through adoption. The author shares the roller coaster of emotions and piles of paper work that must be completed. I found this true story inspiring and well-written from cover to cover. I also found it difficult to put it down. I would highly recommend this book to those who are considering adoption or parent who enjoy reading about the amazing journey of growing a family.
KRM More than 1 year ago
I have this secret obsession to learn everything I can about adoption. I just love reading the stories of families being completed through adoption; families who God has called to an incredible journey; a journey I admire and am a little bit jealous of. So when I was offered the book Love You More by Jennifer Grant in exchange for a review, I eagerly jumped at the chance to read this adoption journey. Read might be to light of term; I devoured the book in 24 hours. Jennifer Grant is a great writer who does an excellent job narrating her life before, during, and after adoption. She had me hooked and sympathizing with the first paragraph of the first chapter when she writes, "With three children born within three and a half years, we were in constant motion, changing diapers, filling sippy cups, and snapping and unsnapping the shallow little snaps on baby clothes...we could not remember what it felt like to sleep late or to spend a whole Saturday morning drinking coffee and reading the paper." Yes I can definitely relate to that! From here she takes you through life as she raised her first three children and then felt a calling from God to adopt. Her views on adoption are refreshing and her journey as they waited throughout the adoption process, brought their daughter home, and then adjusted to life with four children is truthful, eye-opening, and inspiring. This book is a great and easy read, and I truly enjoyed reading it. Overall, if you are looking for a good book to dive into, I highly recommend Love You More.
BiancaTCBT More than 1 year ago
Love You More is a wonderful book describing the journey of a family being completed by the adoption of their little girl from Guatemala. It is divided in 3 parts - in the first part we are being introduced to the Grant family and the read thread that connected them to their girl in Guatemala and the starting point of their adoption. Part 2 explains the process of adoption, all the procedures that needed to be completed and the long and excruciating wait for their little daughter to come into their home and complete it. Part 3 is all about the adjustment and the moments after baby Mia's homecoming. At the end of the book there is a section with Tips for prospective adoptive parents, some discussing questions and resources for those interested in finding more information regarding adoption. It is a very well written book, it is informative - giving a lot of information about the process of adopting a child, as well as pro and con arguments regarding adoption in different countries; it is personal - the writer shares a lot of insight and personal experience with the process of adoption and the feelings and struggles that they went through as a family on this journey. It has every ingredient for a great book. It's an easy-to-read book, funny, tender and insightful. I love the fact that Jennifer Grant is very straight-forward about the whole issues that are involved with adoption, and expresses her views openly. I really loved this book. I have to say that even though I am not a parent or married I found that I had a lot to learn about adoption and parenting and family per general from this book. So, I would recommend it to those interested in adoption and the whole process involved, as well as to those who want to learn some wise approaches and ideas on parenting, children and family. It was a great book to read, I loved it!
Nawny More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Jennifer Grant is a gifted writer, who shares the journey of adopting a little girl from Guatemala with prose that is both lovely and searing. Her message is for all parents, not just parents by adoption. The obstacles, surprises, and moments of grace that Jennifer Grant experienced, working through the adoption process to bring home her daughter from Guatemala, forever changed her life. The book tells the story of an ordinary family (if a family with three kids born in three and a half years is "ordinary"), and God's call on that family to add a fourth child via adoption. As a mom (even though not an adoptive mom) I could totally connect with her stories, her wrestling with the guilt, joy, struggles and triumphs of parenting. She tells stories of other adoptive parents. She shares without bitterness the totally thoughtless comments she gets in public ("how much was she?" was the most amazingly rude), and how she calmly answers them. This book would make a great gift for someone who is considering adoption, or even someone who is expecting a child. This book made me feel like I had just sidled up next to a great girlfriend and discussed so much of what matters in this world. It is a book that took my far beyond the adoption conversation and deep into a conversation on what sort of parent I want to be. What matters? As a mom who does not have adopted children I found the book an enlightening read that transcends any size, shape or style of family. Well done Jennifer! I recommend it highly
Suzannie More than 1 year ago
This is not a niche book about adoption. It is a book about a family achingly earnest in its desire to connect to the world through love. When I read the final page, my only thought was, "It's not fair" ... I simply didn't want the friendship that I had established through the pages to end. Read and be reminded of the gifts of possibility and promise. And, of course, love.