Now with a new afterword! A five star–reviewed, unforgettable story that bestselling author Homer Hickam calls “one of the most eloquent, moving, irresistible true stories” he’s ever read. The Waiting will touch your heart and make you believe in love’s enduring legacy, as well as the power of prayer.In 1928, 16-year-old Minka was on a picnic in the woods when she was assaulted and raped. And suddenly this innocent farm girlwho still thought the stork brought babieswas pregnant. The story that follows has been almost a hundred years in the making. After a lifetime of separation, Minka whispered an impossible prayer for the first time: Lord, I’d like to see Betty Jane before I die. What happened next was a miracle. Written by Cathy LaGrow (Minka’s granddaughter), The Waiting brings three generations of this most unusual family together over the course of a century in a story of faith that triumphs, forgiveness that sets us free, and love that never forgets. (As seen on The Today Show.)
|Publisher:||Tyndale House Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Cathy LaGrow learned in 2006 the secret her grandmother Minka Disbrow had been carrying for almost eighty years — that she’d given up a baby, “Betty Jane,” for adoption long ago. Cathy’s mother, Dianna, is Minka’s second child, born nearly eighteen years after Betty Jane. Cathy is author of the blog Windows and Paper Walls and has been published in Chicken Soup for the New Mom’s Soul. She and her husband, Dan, have two sons and live in Oregon, where Cathy is often found in the kitchen baking or curled up in a chair reading. The Waiting is her debut book.
Cindy Coloma is a best-selling author who has published numerous nonfiction books and twelve novels, including Beautiful, Song of the Brokenhearted (with coauthor Sheila Walsh), and The Salt Garden (named one of Library Journal’s Best Books 2004). She has collaborated as a writer with high-profile media personalities, political figures, and international singers/speakers. Cindy lives with her husband and five children in Redding, California.
Read an Excerpt
The true story of a lost child, a lifetime of longing, and a miracle for a mother who never gave up
By CATHY LaGROW, Cindy Coloma
Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2014 Cathy LaGrow
All rights reserved.
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. If they took much longer, she might just pick up her ankle-length skirts and run all the way home.
Her stepfather, Honus, leaned against the black side of the family's milk truck, blocking out the white D in Sunnyside Dairy, his hands jammed into the pockets of his summer suit. It was not yet noon, but the air was already thick and hot. Around them, engines loosely clattered as men cranked up Model Ts. Women called out good-byes to one another and gathered children before climbing inside their cars.
Minka's sister, Jane, and their mother were still on the circular brick steps of Zion Lutheran Church, visiting with friends. On any other Sunday Minka might have lingered too, joining in conversations if she felt bold enough, speaking whichever language was being used—English, German, or Dutch. The church community, largely made up of immigrants, had finally voted ten months earlier to conduct all services and business meetings in English, but once they were outside, people's native tongues were loosed.
Today, Minka had fidgeted through the entire service. She couldn't wait to get back home.
Minka DeYoung was sixteen years old, taller than average and as thin and straight as a stalk of wheat. Her fine brown hair was cut in a loose bob and pinned back on one side with a frilly ribbon. Her gaze was lively and intelligent, though she often ducked her head bashfully and, like other people who fought shyness, had a habit of holding herself very still in public. Minka knew her nose and ears were too large for her face; she didn't realize her delicate cheekbones were beautiful. She was always careful not to draw attention to her hands, which had been damaged long ago.
Honus removed his fedora, but rather than fan his face with it, he held it in both hands and squinted at the pale sky, watching a thrush flap its way to the top of the church's steeple.
Minka glanced toward the church. Her mother had moved to the bottom of the steps, but Jane was still deep in conversation, leaning close to her friend Jette and smiling about something. Minka wished they'd hurry.
This afternoon was the event she'd been waiting for and thinking about for weeks: her sewing class picnic at Scatterwood Lake. Back home, a new dress waited on a hanger, freshly pressed. She would put on just the right jewelry and redo her hair, and then, for a few hours at least, she'd be like a normal teenaged girl, not a full-time worker who split her time between the family dairy and a meatpacking plant.
But Minka couldn't do a thing until her mother and Jane hurried up.
One row over, a car rolled by, carrying a banker from First National. Its paint was an exquisite dark blue, shiny enough to reflect trees. Minka's eyes followed it. She loved beautiful things, even if they weren't hers.
Honus nodded to the banker behind the wheel. The man returned the gesture.
"Dat is one of de new Fords, called Model A," Honus said to Minka.
"Are they better? Than the tin lizzies?" Minka asked. She usually managed to contain all the questions that popped into her head when adults were talking—she'd been raised with perfect manners, after all—but excitement about the picnic loosened her propriety with her stepfather.
"Dey are supposed to haf a ride ... not so bumpy. Dey are fast. But also duur ... expensive, I think." Think came out sounding like sink. Like Minka's mother, Jennie, who'd sailed to America just months before Minka was born, Honus had emigrated from Holland. He would speak with a thick Dutch accent all his life.
They watched the car turn onto Jay Street and disappear. So many things had changed in the decade since the Great War ended. There was still a hitching post on the other side of the church building, and some farmers came to church by horse and buggy. Minka remembered when that was the only transportation anyone had.
A few years back, she and her siblings had gone to a picture show for the first time. As they'd watched people and scenery move silently across the white cloth screen, her mouth had dropped open and stayed that way until her tongue dried out and she'd had to swallow painfully. Jane and John, always quick to tease their sister, hadn't so much as nudged her. They too had been staring, goggle-eyed.
Every month seemed to bring a new innovation. Most homes in Aberdeen, South Dakota, now boasted electric lights indoors, and a few had a newfangled mechanical box for cold food storage, an improvement over root cellars, so long as the toxic chemicals used for cooling didn't spill onto human skin. There were radios in living rooms, and skirt hems that ended more than twelve daring inches above the ground.
Honus's house had an indoor bathroom, a luxury to which Minka and her family had quickly—and gratefully—grown accustomed. Before moving in with him, they'd lived for twelve years at Uncle's farm on the prairie, where Jennie worked as housekeeper and conditions were more primitive. Three years ago when Uncle retired, Honus Vander Zee came calling, and shortly thereafter, with no announcement or fanfare, Jennie had gotten married.
The marriage gave Jennie's children a permanent home, but it upended the only life they'd known. Honus was starting up a new dairy and needed strong workers, and he believed that high school was "for city kids who haf nothing else to do." When each DeYoung child reached the age of fourteen, he or she was put to work milking cows full-time. Minka's older brother, John, soon escaped to the navy.
In the parking lot, Honus cleared his throat.
"It will be a hot day." He looked at his hat, eased it through his hands. "Hotter den yesterday, maybe."
"Yes, sir." Minka lifted her arms away from her body. She didn't want to start sweating in her church dress. During the sermon the sanctuary had rippled with a sea of paper fans, and Minka had kept shifting on the hard wooden bench, thinking of her new dress, the waiting lake, the hours of freedom in front of her. She couldn't resist bringing it up. "Maybe it'll be cooler by the lake this afternoon. At the picnic."
Minka didn't know that her mother had convinced him to let her go. Honus hadn't married until he was nearly thirty-five years old, and young women were a mystery to him. Raised in Europe, he had absorbed the austere attitudes of a different century regarding children, work, and rewards. From his perspective, duty trumped pleasure—and there was plenty to be done at the farm every single day. Any time away created more work that needed making up.
Sometimes on warm Saturday evenings after milking chores, Honus would lean through the kitchen doorway and say in his quiet way, "Come go for a drive." Since bedtime came early at the dairy, there wasn't time to freshen up or change out of work overalls. Minka and Jane climbed into the stuffy back of the milk truck, and Honus drove them and Jennie to the ice cream shop in town. After buying one malted shake in a tin canister and requesting four paper straws, Honus brought it to the truck and passed the shake around. When they'd each had an equal number of sips and the last bit of ice cream was gone, Honus returned the canister and drove home. To him, such an impractical treat—likely more than he'd gotten as a boy—was enough.
As clusters of the congregation moved toward vehicles, Minka spotted girls from her sewing group. She watched the friends wave to one another before climbing into their cars.
Across the parking lot, Minka overheard a girl named Dorothy call out to a friend, Clara. "We will get you in an hour!" Dorothy slammed the door to the already-rumbling Model T.
Minka clenched her fists and blew air into her cheeks. Her eyes jumped to Mom and Jane, who had yet to move, and then up to Honus, still leaning contentedly against the side of the milk truck. He usually didn't allow dawdling; despite Reverend Kraushaar's sermons about the Sabbath, there was work to do every day of the week. But Honus merely glanced at Minka, deflating the hope that he'd wave her mother and sister away from the church steps.
Though every day of her life was consumed with heavy labor, work had never bothered Minka. Her bony frame masked a surprising stamina. Often, the longer she worked, the more invigorated she felt. She knew that her natural gifts were physical, and she was proud of them. Maybe she couldn't light up a room just by walking into it, like Jane, but she could work as long and accomplish as much as anyone she knew, including adults.
It was the loss of her education that scraped at Minka's spirit. She'd been raised poor but with self-respect. Even as a child, running barefoot in the summer dirt at a farm that wasn't her family's own, she'd carried herself with a sense of dignity, had felt as worthy and capable as any other girl. Now, at sixteen, Minka felt ashamed. What if milking cows was all she was good for—what if an uneducated milkmaid was all people would ever see when they looked at her?
This afternoon's picnic would allow her to once again feel "as good as." Her heart pounded, partly from nerves, partly from excitement. Perhaps if her mother and Honus saw that today's outing didn't affect her work, she'd occasionally be allowed to go on future adventures.
Finally, here came Jane across the field. Her arm was linked through her mother's, and she leaned against her, giggling about something. Jennie was smiling. In this pressing heat, they moved slowly. Minka wanted to drag them forward. She turned and opened the truck's back door. Its metal handle was hot to the touch, and the hinges squealed. As she climbed up, she banged her knee on the wooden crates that served as seats, and her handkerchief fluttered onto the metal floor. She'd been twisting the cloth so anxiously that it looked like a wrung-out chicken's neck.
* * *
Minka stood at the mirror in her mother's bedroom, trying on strands of necklaces. Despite growing up on a hardscrabble farm, she'd always loved pretty jewelry. Jennie had brought some simple accessories from Holland many years ago, and Minka had often capered around Uncle's house wearing every strand she could find, all draped together around her neck. Jane and John had nicknamed her "Gypsy."
Jane wasn't calling her sister names today. Minka's younger sibling had been trying not to sulk ever since they'd arrived home from church. With excitement such a rare commodity in their lives, the sisters nearly always shared it; the night before, Jane had volunteered to help Minka bake cookies for the big event.
But Jane was the charming "baby" of the family, unaccustomed to standing in the shadows, and now the sharing of joy stretched taut. Minka's new dress was the best item in their shared closet. Only Minka would be going on the picnic. Jane's steps had been heavy and a pout had crimped her pretty lips as she changed into work clothes for her usual afternoon of chores.
The summer sewing class was made up of girls from Zion Lutheran. Although store windows now overflowed with finished goods, from ready-made clothes to canned food to toiletry items, sewing was still an expected skill for a future housewife. Like most farmers, the Vander Zees took care of their own animals, grew and preserved their own food, performed their own mechanical repairs, made their own soap and clothes.
Jennie sewed skillfully and would have made a fine teacher if she'd had time, but she was too busy with chores. So Minka went off to sewing class, where she demonstrated an innate creativity and quick skill that surprised and pleased her. She produced the most immaculate stitches in the group—she'd heard her teacher praising her work to Jennie. Minka loved the feel of new fabric in her hands. Sometimes, while doing chores or riding in the car, she daydreamed of expensive silk in bright colors, falling like water over her shoulders and resting perfectly against her thin hips.
For this first dress Minka had chosen a modern shift pattern with a dropped waist in a fetching green-and-white cotton. She couldn't resist adding a decoration: an apple-and-leaf appliqué, cut from a contrasting fabric and stitched below her left shoulder. Compared to this fresh style, even her best church dress seemed dowdy.
As Minka fastened a strand of beads behind her neck, Jennie came through the doorway. She covered her mouth when she saw her daughter, her quietest and most diligent child. The mirror reflected the woman Minka would soon become.
"Je ziet er mooi uit," she murmured. You look so pretty. Then, louder: "You are a fine seamstress, Minnie."
Minka savored the compliments. Since babyhood, her pretty sister had always been the center of attention. Minka was happiest out of the spotlight, but sometimes when she watched Jane fling herself into their mother's lap, she longed to do the same. In a household marked by Dutch reserve, compliments were few and physical touch came only to those who demanded it. Minka was too shy—and too stubborn, really—to demand anything.
"Dey are picking you up here?" Jennie asked, crossing the room to lift Minka's overalls from the bedstead.
"Yes, Mom." Minka pushed at the bottom of her hair. She'd dampened it in the bathroom and attempted to make some finger waves, but it had dried too quickly in this heat and now looked straggly. She supposed the other girls would have the same problem today.
"And you be back in time for de milking, ja?" That chore commenced at five o'clock at both ends of the day, and the cows' full udders wouldn't wait, picnic or no.
"Yes, Mom, that's what they said."
Jennie bent and wiped the tops of Minka's shoes, then set them where Minka could slip into them. The clunky leather shoes would make her feet sweat, but they would have to do. Mary Janes did not come in a large-enough size for Minka. Jennie's children had inherited a scattering of oversized genes from some unknown branch of the family tree—John would eventually stand well over six feet, much taller than his father had been. And at a time when most girls' feet were a dainty size 4 or 4.5, Minka's were twice that big.
Minka's hands were large too, although that was not the reason she made a concerted effort to hide them. She was most bothered by their disfigurement. Daily hours of milking had taken a toll, but the real damage had been done when she was a small girl. At Uncle's, out of necessity, children had been put to work as soon as they could walk in a straight line. John helped with the horses and out in the fields, while Jane loved to hang close to her mother's skirt, doing chores underfoot. As the oldest and strongest girl, Minka took on the most arduous household work. She toted buckets of water, hauled pails of animal feed, and lifted bulky sheaves of wheat at threshing time. Minka volunteered for these tasks, relishing the nod or smile from Jennie as she did so. It made her happy to help her busy mother. But by the time she was thirteen, Minka's fingers were permanently deformed, the bones bent inward at the ends where her tiny joints had grasped and lifted a thousand heavy handles.
Through the open window a noisy engine signaled the arrival of Minka's ride. She glanced in the mirror once more, automatically pushing her hands into her sides so the folds of fabric obscured them. She was giddy enough to let a vain thought cross her mind: She had never looked better. She spun and hurried toward the kitchen, where her dinner basket waited.
"Don't forget these," Jane called after her. She held out the cookie tin. After the whole batch had cooled last night, Jane had chosen the twenty most perfect cookies, enough to share with all the girls and chaperones. Minka had stacked and restacked them onto two big cloth napkins, which she neatly tied up and placed in the tin.
"Danke." Minka had nearly rushed out without the treats.
"Tell them I helped," Jane said, looking wistfully at the package. And Minka—even though this was her special day, and even though she'd spent her whole life on the sidelines watching Jane accept easier chores and more praise—felt sorry that her little sister couldn't come along.
* * *
On the road to Scatterwood Lake, large plumes of airborne dirt billowed behind the caravan of vehicles. The cars trailed one another at quarter-mile distances to avoid being completely engulfed in dust.
Excerpted from the waiting by CATHY LaGROW, Cindy Coloma. Copyright © 2014 Cathy LaGrow. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
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.
What People are Saying About This
The Waiting is a story of a life conceived from one horrible act and a mother’s love. Minka chose the best for her daughter, only to discover a family that was greater than she ever imagined. The beauty of this story is that it’s about an ordinary life, yet an extraordinary love. As someone who met my own birth father at age twenty-eight—and who has adopted three children—I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing. Families are created in different ways, but The Waiting reminds us that love conquers heartache and that the smallest flame of hope can lead to answered prayers. I highly recommend this book!
An amazing story that proves God hears our prayers and does sometimes give us the desires of our hearts. Written with heartfelt, poetic prose, The Waiting will move you as you read about this unlikeliest of reunions.
I found The Waiting to be one of the most eloquent, moving, irresistible true stories I have ever read. It begins with a sudden and terrible crime against a completely innocent schoolgirl that could have sentenced her to a life of tragedy. But Minka was no ordinary girl. After giving up the child the crime caused her to have, she began to search and wait for decades for the moment she knew somehow had to comethe moment when she would at last be reunited with her daughter. Authors Cathy LaGrow and Cindy Coloma, with the help of the families involved, have eloquently captured this magnificent story of tragedy overcome by love, hope, and perseverance. Most readers will discover, as I did, that as the pages turn, they will shed more than a few tears but they will also find their faith in humanity restored and their hearts more than a little bit lighter.
The Waiting is a story of a life conceived from one horrible act and a mother’s love. Minka chose the best for her daughter, only to discover a family that was greater than she ever imagined. The beauty of this story is that it’s about an ordinary life, yet an extraordinary love. As someone who met my own birth father at age twenty-eightand who has adopted three childrenI couldn’t stop the tears from flowing. Families are created in different ways, but The Waiting reminds us that love conquers heartache and that the smallest flame of hope can lead to answered prayers. I highly recommend this book!
The Waiting will engross you. It is a powerful story of love and fulfillment, told with amazing detail and sparkling prose. Rarely has a book moved me so completely.
A poignant story, masterfully told with heart. Minka’s journey comes to light in this beautiful work. And it is a story to be treasured.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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.
This is a heartbreaking and beautiful story of Minka, a mother who had to give up her baby daughter through adoption. Over the years she never forgot about her precious baby girl, whom she had named Betty Jane. She prayed for her daughter throughout her life, and when she was 93 she asked God if she could see Betty Jane again before she died. God granted her request, and after more than 70 years, Minka was reunited with her first daughter and was joyfully welcomed into her extended family. This is definitely a sad book in places. The story contains rape, difficulties in marriage, and death. But each is told with honesty and discretion. If you enjoy reading memoirs, you will love this book! Cathy LaGrow is an excellent writer, and she did a very good job telling the story of Minka's life. My favorite part was reading about the reunion at the end of the book. What a beautiful story!
Such a captivating story. Once I started reading, could hardly stop. A sad story revealing the mentality of the era the story took place in. So sad that the crime was never punished due to, again, the mentality of the era--don't talk about it; don't tell.
This is a must read!
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."
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
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.
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]
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.
This book is absolutely captivating and I urge you to read it so that your heart will be warmed and your spirits lifted!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.