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My interest in sign language and the deaf community started when I was a teenager. There were two deaf men in our church. My husband’s aunt knew sign language and signed all the church services for them. She started sign language classes for anyone in the church that wanted to attend. I took her weekly class for at least a year. I still remember some of it, and have taught my kids a few signs over the years.
So when I got the chance to receive Finding Zoe: A Deaf Woman’s Story of Identity, Love, and Adoption I was very interested.
Finding Zoe: A Deaf Woman’s Story of Identity, Love, and Adoption
Foreword By: Marlee Matlin, Academy Award-Winning Actor
Brandi Rarus was just 6 when spinal meningitis took away her hearing. Because she spoke well and easily adjusted to lip reading, she was mainstreamed in school and socialized primarily in the hearing community. Brandi was a popular, happy teen, but being fully part of every conversation was an ongoing struggle. She felt caught between two worlds—the Deaf and the hearing.
In college, Brandi embraced Deaf Culture along with the joys of complete and effortless communication with her peers. Brandi went on to become Miss Deaf America in 1988 and served as a spokesperson for her community. It was during her tenure as Miss Deaf America that Brandi met Tim, a leader of the Gallaudet Uprising in support of selecting the university’s first Deaf president. The two went on to marry and had three hearing boys—the first non-deaf children born in Tim’s family in 125 years.
Brandi was incredibly grateful to have her three wonderful sons, but couldn’t shake the feeling something was missing. She didn’t know that Zoe, a six-month-old Deaf baby girl caught in the foster care system, was desperately in need of a family unafraid of her different needs. Brandi found the answer to her prayers when fate brought her new adopted daughter into her life.
Set against the backdrop of Deaf America, Finding Zoe is an uplifting story of hope, adoption, and everyday miracles.
I loved Finding Zoe! The book starts with her story, how she went deaf, what it was like to be a deaf child in a hearing family, and her struggle to find out where she belonged. Because she was oral, she felt like she didn’t fully belong in the deaf community. And because she was deaf, she didn’t feel fully at home with her hearing friends, either. She shares how she learned to fit in in elementary school, high school, and college.
Brandi became Miss Deaf America in 1988, and met her future husband, who is also deaf, during her reign. They went on to get married and have 3 sons, all hearing. Brandi had always dreamed of having a little girl, though. She even knew in her mind’s eye how her little girl would look.
The second section of the book starts with the story of a young mother that chooses to place her daughter up for adoption. This section tells her and her family’s story, along with the baby’s father and his family’s story. This section really conveys the struggle of placing a baby up for adoption, for both the mother and the father. This section also coverings the heart breaking story of a family that wanted to adopt their baby, but felt they couldn’t meet the babies needs, and gave up the baby. Instead of feeling like they were at fault, their story leaves the reader feeling sad for them, and that they made the right decision for themselves, and for the baby.
In the third and final section of the book, Brandi and her husband find out about baby Zoe. And finally bring her home. And she looked like the little girl in Brandi’s dreams!
I loved reading Finding Zoe: A Deaf Woman’s Story of Identity, Love, and Adoption. It shows the struggle that some deaf children and their families go through. It also shows the heartache of placing a child for adoption. I think the authors showed the birth mother’s and the birth father’s story equally. You will also see the joy of being able to finally adopt the child of your dreams.
Enter to win a copy of Finding Zoe: A Deaf Woman’s Story of Identity, Love, and Adoption! You will be able to choose a hard cover book, or a PDF. Simply fill out the Rafflecopter form below! Open to US & CAN, but make sure to read the terms and conditions on the form.
*Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): I received a product sample for review purposes. I received no other compensation. I was not required to write a positive review. My opinions are my own. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation.”
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