Raising Henry: A Memoir of Motherhood, Disability, and Discovery
Yale University Press, 2014
272 pp., $17.00
Hannah K. Grieser
Born to Trouble
Henry happened. He has a disability, and there is, for Adams, no ultimate reason or purpose for it. It just happened, and she is dealing with the consequences. But clearly something far more than Down syndrome has "happened" as well. That photo on the cover is no lie.
Adams finds true delight in her role as Henry's mom, and she knows how to give good gifts to her children. If he asks for bread, she's not going to give him a stone. In fact, she'll probably bake him a cake. By the end of the book, she has come to embrace Henry for who he is—Down syndrome included. Knowing what Adams recounts through the rest of the book, however, makes those moments of happiness ring hollow.
In spite of the joy, the successes, and the hopes for a brighter future, it's hard for a Christian not to pity the bleak meaninglessness of Adams' whole endeavor. She's right that Henry's life does demand a story, but she cannot see that, even before Henry arrived, he was already part of a much bigger story—a story of which she is not the author. I can only hope that Rachel Adams will someday come to discover that Henry's life—as well as her own—is one of deeper meaning and more eternal value than she has ever been able to comprehend.
Hannah K. Grieser designs graphics in small-town Idaho, where she and her husband are raising five sons and too much zucchini.
Copyright © 2014 by the author or Christianity Today/Books & Culture magazine.
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