MEETING SOPHIE: A Memoir of Adoption

Nancy McCabe, Author . Univ. of Missouri $19.95 (174p) ISBN 978-0-8262-1495-9

Here is a story of a single professional woman adopting a baby from China, losing her father to cancer and moving on after being denied tenure at a conservative Southern college. But it's also a meditation on the meaning of family: blood family, adoptive family and even the dysfunctional family-like structure of a college English department. It begins with McCabe's (After the Flashlight Man) first moment with her new baby in a Chinese hotel. As she gradually fills in the details of before and after, the unlikelihood of this adoption attests to McCabe's near-mystical desire for a child. A feminist liberal at a church-affiliated college, McCabe is ill-suited to her new department, whose members patronize her and hound her to act more like them: "Southern ladies." This attitude strikingly mirrors her role in her own family, where she was cast early on as "the dumb one" and a selfish outcast, despite her good grades growing up in the Midwest and her adult attempts to help out when her father is ill. The family myth shows its effect as McCabe doubts her ability to care for her baby until, seemingly through intuition alone, she guesses, contrary to the opinions of doctors and adoption professionals, her new daughter's allergies (to lactose and antihistamines), which are serendipitously similar to her own. As a new mother and grieving daughter, McCabe struggles poignantly and triumphantly to maintain her own identity as she creates her place within family. Her tale will be familiar and inspiring to those interested in delving into their own family relations, as well as to single women considering adoption. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/15/2003
Release date: 11/01/2003
Ebook - 192 pages - 978-0-8262-6445-9
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