Recently I experienced first-hand the process of adopting a child through my sister. I accompanied her to China where she received her then two-year-old daughter. For the first time, I understood the fear that all adoptive parents face, even if only briefly. What would I do, what could I do, if someone tried to reclaim my child?
Karen Kingsbury’s 2006 novel, Like Dandelion Dust, explores just that scenario. Molly, Jack and their preschooler Joey Campbell couldn’t have imagined a life more perfect–until that day the social worker called. As months of legal proceedings gave way to despair and desperation, the Campbell’s asked themselves how far they were willing to go to keep their son.
Kingsbury’s novel is the story of two mothers, and the meaning of motherhood itself. Does the end ever justify the means? Should the birthmother’s plight, before or after the adoption, have any bearing on the custody decision? What about the Biblical story of Mary and Joseph who took their son Jesus and fled to Egypt when they learned he was in danger from those in authority? These questions and more are explored in Kingsbury’s provocative novel and in the Reader’s Guide included at the end of the book.
Author Karen Kingsbury is an adoptive parent herself, and has been personally involved in the making of the movie based on her book. “I wasn’t prepared for the faith lessons that would come by way of a four-year-old,” Kingsbury says, speaking of Joey Campbell and her own six children. Why are we so surprised when God uses the weak to teach the strong? Aren’t we all admonished to be like children, trusting God and “leaning not on our own understanding”? Like Dandelion Dust is a story about choosing to leave our choices to God.