Finding Aster

Finding Aster By Dina McQueen Finding Aster— our Ethiopian adoption story, is a fascinating memoir that follows one woman’s journey to motherhood via international adoption. The title could just as easily have been, Finding Dina, for it is truly a memoir of discovery for the author Dina McQueen as she relives the life decisions she has made leading up to the maternal evolution to become a mother. After 30 years of suffering from “female troubles,” Dina’s journey to motherhood begins with major surgery that leaves her unable to bear children. Finally relieved of this life-altering burden of continued illness, recovery begins and Dina and her husband settle on the decision to become parents. The journey that began in illness pushes Dina into places she never thought she would go, both within herself as a woman, and in the outside world to Africa. This brutally honest and heartfelt memoir is a valuable resource to people deciding how to grow their families. This compelling story is told in such a dynamic way that those experiencing infertility problems may be inspired to choose a new direction. In addition, for those just starting out on the path to parenthood, McQueen’s journey is sure to offer insight to those who may not have considered adoption. Like many new adherents who choose adoption to build their family, McQueen displays her eagerness to complete the adoption process as quickly as possible, at times ignoring the hidden joys of the journey. It isn’t until McQueen finally holds Aster for the first time and feels her head snuggled against her chest that the latent emotions of knowing motherhood are realized for the first time. McQueen describes this perfect moment. “Aster woke up briefly, and turned her eyes up toward mine. She blinked. Then she put her head back against my shoulder. Brian came close and we hugged, with the baby cradled between us. He kissed me. I quietly cried, and his eyes also filled with tears. In the silence of this union, I felt physical sensations and emotions I had never previously known. Even with all the spiritual practices I went through, all the seemingly intense love relationships I engaged in, I never in my entire life realize that such transcendent feelings were possible. In that moment I felt what could only be described as pure joy.” McQueen argues that adoption need not be the last resort in reaching for motherhood. She eloquently presents reasons why adoption, in today’s world, must be considered as a first choice. In this memoir with its valuable and insightful appendixes focused on infertility, overpopulation, and the history of and how to begin an adoption, McQueen illustrates the political and environmental implications of adoption, both domestic and international and the need to reconsider our choices for building a family. In the end, McQueen openly expresses with a clear and focused voice that choosing adoption to grow a family need not be a last resort. Recommended for anyone considering adoption either domestic or international and especially those whose lives have been forestalled by the emptiness of infertility. — Reviewed by Adoption Today staff

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