The Baby Wait
by Cynthia Reese
(Harl. Super Rom. #1415, $5.50, G) ISBN 0373-71415-7
There are some things that brim with emotion that is real and that causes discomfort. One of those is a couple that wants a child but cannot conceive. The adoption process is bureaucratic and full of ups and down. Knowing this and wanting to read about it are two different things. In this case, Reese tells us in her opening letter that she too adopted a child and she wanted to write about the many ups and downs that couples go through. Unfortunately, the story is so full of the ups and downs of adoption that she forgot to put in the romance and the joy.

Sarah Tennyson and her husband Joe want to adopt a child from China. They have tried for years to have their own child, but Sarah's bout with ovarian cancer put natural childbirth out of the question. Fully recovered, they now have turned to adoption. They even tried being foster parents, but got too attached to the young boy and were heartbroken when he was reunited with his reformed mother.

They are many months into their process. They are just waiting on THE CALL. But instead, they find out there are some diplomatic games being played and China has delayed all adoptions. Then there are other delays, each one causing more angst and more issues. During this time, Joe's contracting business has some ups and downs too. Sarah's boss is less than sympathetic and her job pressures build. Joe's sister, Cherie is a thirty-year-old teenager who is in constant need of help and Sarah's alcoholic mother is a constant strain.

There is no way to get around this - The Baby Wait is a depressing story full of nothing but fighting, arguing and continual upheaval. Sarah and Joe love each other, but at times, they also hate each other. They fight or don't talk throughout most of the story. They do make up but it is more of a Band-Aid than a resolution, and it is clear that while the battle has stopped, the war is still engaged. The story is full of their angst and their tears and their roller-coaster ride from hopeless to hope and back again. I had to push myself to keep reading. By the halfway point of the book, I just hoped things were resolved so I could move on. I wasn't sure I really wanted them to have a child, as they were not handling stress very well and the baby wasn't even here yet.

The glimpses of the bureaucracy were almost chilling. It is sad that adoptive parents have to jump through so many hoops when there are all types of irresponsible people having children daily. And there are families that seem to have crisis after crisis as a way of life. Reading about one of them doesn't really make for a delightful afternoon.

Reese has a nice writing style and her story does flow well. Her descriptions are detailed and paint the picture clearly. There were glimpses of the close relationship that Joe and Sarah have, but they were brief and were cursory when compared to the arguing and lack of connectedness that occurred when they were distressed. This lack of passion coupled with the questioning of trust and love were the primary emotions seen beside the hopelessness they felt at times. The Baby Wait left me with a hopeless feeling too.

--Shirley Lyons

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