****The Waiting Child
How the Faith and Love of One Orphan Saved the
Life of Another
by Cindy Champnella
Reviewed March 29, 2003.
St. Martin’s Press, New York, 2003. 247 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (B CHA).
A Sonderbooks’ Stand-out of 2003:
#1, Biographical Nonfiction
What a wonderful book. On my lunch break, I meant to
dip into this book for only ten minutes. Before I knew it, I
was showing up for work a half an hour late. (Oops!) This
is a heart-warming, amazing true story of a Chinese orphan girl’s deep
and abiding love for “my baby.”
When Cindy Champnella and her husband adopted a four-year-old
Chinese girl, they understood that she was attached to a little boy
at the orphanage who she helped care for. They assumed that Jaclyn
would forget about him within a few weeks or months. They couldn’t
possibly have been more completely wrong.
You would think that a little girl abandoned by her mother
in the forest would not know anything about love. But Jaclyn’s
love for the little boy she called Xiao Mei Mei was deep and abiding.
She worried about him being scared at night without her. She worried
about him being hurt by the bigger children, and their taking food from
him. She worried that no one would take care of him and help
him get dressed.
From the third day after she joined her new family, Jaclyn
began a steady campaign to convince her new mama that she should become
Xiao Mei Mei’s new mama. Jaclyn asserted that she was Xiao Mei
Mei’s mama, and he would be sad with her so far away. They found,
over the next two years, that Jaclyn’s love was as deep and lasting
as any mother’s love.
Thank God, this story ends happily! It would be unbearable
otherwise. Cindy Champnella beautifully captures the unfolding
story of their relationship with precocious, tempestuous, tenacious
and vivacious little Jaclyn and their uncertainty and suspense when they
don’t know if it will even be possible to help Xiao Mei Mei. Jaclyn
is a delightful child to know, even only through the pages of a book.
Her strong and stubborn love is an inspiration.
Here’s another book I’m going to urge on everyone I know.
You’d have to have a heart of stone not to be moved by this book.
Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.
All rights reserved.
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