Read from August 02 to 12, 2014 — I own a copy
I cannot begin to say how much I enjoyed this very ordinary story about an ordinary family that goes through extraordinary changes over a period of eighteen months or so. This is a story about a blended family that, despite all odds, learns to accept changes, FIGHTS to stay together, and lives according to God's wishes. There are challenges, as in most families, and that's what makes this story real.
Ivy and Nick are a childless couple who have struggled to conceive without success. They live a comfortable life, in a comfortable home. Next door, a black American family struggles. The mother, Lily Allen, disappears, leaving three children to fend for themselves. After Child Protection Services of Maine becomes aware of the situation, Ivy and Nick agree to foster the chilren. DeShaun Johnson was fourteen. Jada Lovett was nine and Hammer Hernandez was six. The children did not know their different fathers and the situation never seemed unusual to them. Ivy is happy to have the children and steps into the role of foster mother with ease. Nick, somewhat selfish and absorbed does the right thing only because he knows it is the right thing to do but is not happy about the new arrangement that will also be an increasing household expense. Nick is also overcome with guilt for not feeling love and affection for the children. He has always wanted a child with Ivy and has never come to term with the idea of adoption. Ivy just wants to be a mother, something that comes naturally to her. Of course, this will be a conflicting factor between Ivy and Nick. Walls and resentment will grow and Ivy and Nick are forced to confront issues that have been brewing between them for several years.
Thankfully, Ivy has a supportive family. The Darlings, Jane and Leander, and their five children, are almost the perfect family. Strong Christian values are what brings this family together. The Darlings gather every other Thursday night for dinner and are loving, thoughtful, and accepting of others. NIck's family is in stark contrast from Ivy's. The Mason family could best be described as superficial, selfish, and self involved. Ivy has never been truly accepted by the Masons and the relationship is further tested when the children enter the picture. When it comes to embracing differences, the Masons are not exactly accommodating.
As the three children begin to flourish in the Darling-Mason household, things start to change drastically between Ivy and Nick and soon there is a wide gulf between them. The children are the only thing that connects the two adults. Family and faith will be tested. Blame, guilt, and trust will stand between a families future. Acceptance, forgiveness, and prayer will be the only answers for a family that deserves to be happy but will be tested beyond its limits.
It was interesting to watch this family cope with normal, everyday life. There are so many great examples in this book about how a family should behave, love, conquer, teach, discipline, obey. This is not an impossible to story to believe. This is not an impossible family dream. Everything this family experienced could be a story about a neighbor, friend, or family, you, ME. It's a beautiful story that confronts real family issues of today. It's not a perfect family and they make huge mistakes but with God's grace all things are possible.