Redeeming Ruth is the inspirational, true story of an abandoned baby, a devastating diagnosis, and the way God loves broken, hurting people through us—even though we may be broken and hurt, too.
When Meadow met her, Ruth was a sixteen-month-old child that some church friends were hosting from an orphanage in Uganda. She had cerebral palsy and was so weak she couldn’t lift her head. Meadow had always felt a call to adopt, but was this what God meant? Part family drama, part travel adventure, and part memoir, Redeeming Ruth is a heartwarming, against-all-odds story about the most unlikely pairing of a a typical American family and a physically challenged orphaned girl from Uganda. Much more than an adoption story, this book explores what happens when we sacrificially reach out and share God’s love with others.
Ruth’s story will inspire families considering adoption, people raising or teaching children with special needs, caregivers, and those grieving the loss of a loved one, ministering to people with disabilities, or striving to serve God despite their own wounded hearts and broken dreams.
• Includes a Reader’s Guide at the end of the book for each chapter for group discussion or personal rejection.
• An eight-page insert with personal photos will be included.
• All personal proceeds from this book benefit orphans and people with disabilities in Uganda.
|Publisher:||Hendrickson Publishers, Incorporated|
|Product dimensions:||5.70(w) x 8.70(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Meadow Rue Merrill is an award-winning journalist with two decades of published writing experience. She also regularly contributed to “Motherlode,” a popular column of the New York Times. She began reporting for The Times Record, a daily newspaper in Brunswick, Maine, and spent the following eight years corresponding for The Boston Globe. Most recently she has written for Harvard University. She has regular columns with The Portland Press Herald, Maine’s largest newspaper and Down East magazine.
Read an Excerpt
“As I’d often told my children, there is nothing of value that may be lost here that will not be given back in heaven. Everything life takes, love restores. Everything. Broken bodies. Broken hearts. Broken dreams. No matter how painful. No matter how devastating, God can transform our greatest sorrow into something good. We simply have to keep beating our wings, keep trusting to discover what it will be. In the meantime, he gives us the hope to keep living.”
“Theresa pointed to a brown backpack with a torn zipper as I joined her at the table. On front Ruth’s name was printed in large, black letters. ‘I’m saving it for whoever decides to adopt.’ Curious, I pulled out several crumpled summer dresses followed by a rich burgundy gown with a white satin collar and pink rosettes. Beneath were two thickly woven blankets, one red and one white. Who had chosen them? Someone who cared—that was obvious. Someone who wanted Ruth to be warm and well-loved when she arrived among strangers in a foreign land. Someone who hoped she’d be redeemed.”
Table of Contents
Prologue: 2011 3
1 The Danger of Dreaming 3
2 Twins? 8
3 Two Dark Byes 16
4 Considering the Cost 31
5 4 Jar of Faith 42
6 A Raw, Choking Wail 52
7 Reservations and Preparations 62
8 Soaked 72
9 Welcome Home 82
10 Waiting 94
11 A Small Thing 108
12 Talking Hands 122
13 Testing 130
14 Two Worlds 140
15 Happiness 148
16 Hope and Holding On 156
17 Heartbreak 168
18 Winter Bare 178
19 What Remained 185
20 Wisdom in the House of Mourning 192
21 Waiting for Spring 200
Author's Note 209
Authors Thanks 211
Reader's Guide 215
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Riveting and life-changing storytelling Beautiful and powerful. Inspiring and heartbreaking. Meadow writes of willing surrender, difficult challenges, exceeding joy, searing loss and deep redemption. All revealed within exquisite storytelling.
From her earliest days, Meadow Rue Merrill dreamed of adopting a child, and she longed to travel to Africa, even wrestling a promise from her husband that if she promised to marry him, he would not stand in the way of her going. Redeeming Ruth is Meadow’s record of God’s “yes” to her dreams — and it stands as powerful evidence that the unfolding of our dreams may not look exactly as we imagined. International adoption is complicated even without a large family and economic limitations. The Merrill family had both, but when they met tiny Ruth, she captured their hearts. Ruth had traveled from Uganda through Welcome Home Ministries, Africa, to stay with a family in Maine (friends of the Merrils) where she could receive physical therapy. When Meadow and her husband Dana held Ruth’s limp body for the first time, they were astonished at her level of disability from cerebral palsy — and at the way their hearts responded to her. Desire warred against ambivalence as Meadow and Dana weighed the wisdom of bringing a profoundly disabled African child into their already-full-and-busy home located in the whitest state in America. Yielding to what Meadow described as Dana’s “annoying habit of believing that God will take care of us,” (22) they took one tentative step after another, weathered countless setbacks, and put thousands of miles on their vehicle until one momentous day, Meadow and Ruth boarded a plane for Uganda to finalize Ruth’s adoption. Time to Walk In the spirit of “leaving the 99 to save one,” Meadow spent nearly a month in Uganda chasing paperwork, caring for Ruth in primitive surroundings, living among the other orphans and workers at Welcome Home. There, she gained insight to the hopelessness of Ruth’s future, forever trapped in a body with the skill set of a two-month-old infant, if she did not gain entrance to the United States and the privilege of hope that comes with education, health care, and rehabilitation. Together, the Merrill family prayed for healing and trusted for progress, but what would healing look like? Her big brothers and sister prayed specifically that Ruth would walk and talk. Would a cochlear implant restore Ruth’s hearing? Meadow pondered theological implications of her daughter’s fragility: “[P]erhaps God’s purpose was higher than ours. Perhaps instead of healing Ruth, he intended to heal us of our selfishness and pride. Wouldn’t that be a miracle?” A Faith Journey into God’s Yes Redeeming Ruth reminded me of why memoir is my favorite genre. Not everyone who reads Meadow’s descriptive prose will be able to appreciate her references to Brunswick area landmarks or have memories of sunny days at Popham Beach and walks around the trails of Mackworth Island that heightened my appreciation for the setting. However, it will be a rare reader who does not identify with the struggle to hold onto a dream that keeps slipping away or to continue in faith when sight is alarmingly out of sync with expected outcomes. The Merrill family’s unique story is a valuable resource for anyone who is learning to trust God’s motives and struggling to live well in the tension of pursuing a dream while holding it loosely, for within the flow of story, priceless principles emerge: Close the door on worries. “I can believe what my mind is telling me, which is ‘Panic!’ Or I can believe what the Bible tells me, which is that children are a blessing. Whenever I feel overwhelmed . . .continue reading at Living Our Days!
Redeeming Ruth is a fresh, clear, beautifully written memoir about adoption, courage, special needs, provision, faith, hope, and suffering. One day a beautiful toddler with cerebral palsy is put into Ruth’s arms at church. This orphan was sent to the States for medical treatment, and hopefully might even be adopted. Meadow and her family fall in love with Ruth, long to spend more time with her, begin to take care of her, and then begin a lengthy, costly, adventure (including a long, perilous trip to Uganda) to finally adopt her. Doors close and open. Financial gifts come at just the right time. Favor is granted. Ruth learns to hear and communicate. It’s beautiful and victorious, over and over again. As a devoted adoption advocate I was cheering the Merrill Family every step of the way. I wanted the love and courage they poured out. From the beginning, though, we know Redeeming Ruth is going to be a hard story. The subtitle “Everything Life Takes, Love Restores” makes that clear. We see clearly in the prologue that Ruth is gone, and Meadow is grieving. We know we'll be getting the whole story of her joy, memories, and suffering. In Redeeming Ruth, we are shown the full reality of the kind of grief that comes from loving so fully. We get glimpses of Meadow's deep sorrow at the beginning of every chapter through dreams, memories, and songs. When we later read the story of Ruth’s death it's awful. We witness Meadow's raw and real grief--the anger, second-guessing, self-blame, and despair. We understand, and we join in, because we've fallen in love with Ruth now, too. I strongly recommend this book for adoptive family, adoption advocates, grieving mothers, parents of children with special needs, and book clubs. [I contrast Redeeming Ruth with the 2016 movie, Arrival here: familycompassionfocus.com ]