" . . . . I had once read in a book called The Dream Giver by Bruce Wilkinson, about a boy who had died alone: It certainly cannot be God's will that any child die alone anad abondoned. Surely God placed a partciular set of itnerestes anda biltiites in one person, somewhere in the world, and put that person in a tim and place where great could happen -- should have happened -- for that boy."
When we were diagnosed with infertility a similar thought crossed my mind - and does almost every day that I breathe - - "The fact we can't have the biological children we wanted, means our home and arms are open for a child that needs us." I long for these children as much as I long for biological children. Jantsen's Gift only increased that desire within me.
I'm not a person who cries all that easily and it is a very rare book that can make me weep, but Jantsen's Gift was such a book. It was also a book that made me search deeper and ask what my life purpose is.
With a rare authenticity and honesty in today's world, Pam begins her book by speaking of a lifestyle that many would envy but the reality of a restless heart that felt there was more. While able to fulfill her material desires, something in her longed for purpose and meaning. Little did she dream that her teenage son's death would help her find it.
When fifteen year old Jantsen unexpectedly died of an unknown heart condition on spring morning, Pam's life was thrown into a tailspin of grief, depression, and empty void. She would have stayed there, had it not been for Jantsen's Memorial Fund. She had to find something to do with thousands of dollars. She found that something in Vietnam, with an orphanage, where she also found her new son. Not a replacement son, but a child that needed love and family as much as she needed to come our of her pit of despair.
There, a journey of sacrifice (she eventually sold her own engagement ring) and purpose began. Vietnam turned into Cambodia and then, eventually ended in Ghana. Eventually Touch a Life rose from the ashes of loss. Touch a Life rescues children from slavery and human trafficking, and Jantsen's Gift provides those of us in the United States a first hand glimpse of some of those children.
You can't read Jantsen's Gift and not be touched profoundly. At the very least, it will give you facts and information about the horrors of child trafficking and sex slavery. At the very most, it will galavanize you into action, whether it is donating to Touch a Life, or changing your entire life and beginning the adoption process. As long as their are children being sold into slavery, there is no reason for us to live out our days feeling restless and as if we have little purpose - no matter what pain and grief we've experienced in life. Jantsen's Gift is a personal testimony to this fact.
Jantsen's Gift is definitely a must-read book, in my opinion. It is a book written straight from a Mama's heart. It's a true story of how something so negative could be used for something so positive. It's a story of how the worst kind of tragedy could truly be turned into triumph. In my opinion, as a Mama, it's a hero Mama's story. To me, the author is a hero because of how she's helped to impact so many children's lives.
Pam Cope takes the first couple of chapters to cover a pivotal point in her life, a tragedy.....the death of her son Jantsen. After his death, a memorial fund was set up in his name, and Pam thought of her friends, who had been working in orphanages in Vietnam. This was when her focus began to shift, as she began to hear the stories and see how these children lived. Upon returning home, though, the grief for her son returned in full force. With the adoption of a little boy from Vietnam, her heart finally began to heal.
As her heart began to heal, she began to research the awful reality of child trafficking. She traveled to Cambodia, and she tells some of the history and the horror that went on there back in the 70's. The stories of how people were tortured and killed were definitely eye-opening stories. The stories of child trafficking, whether for sex, slave labor, etc., were also eye-opening stories. With more adoptions in her future, Pam truly began to heal.....through her many travels, of which I could tell more, she began to touch many lives. Vietnam seems to be her main focus, until she later traveled to Ghana, where she also began to make a difference in many children's lives.
Touch A Life is an organization that she started to help children from all over the world. She has helped numerous children and has stood up for them, when noone else would.
Pam's story is so relateable and so deep and so moving and so full of humanity. It was like seeing through a window into her soul, as she described life before her son's death and even after his death, just with all of the grief that she and her family experienced. I don't know that I could be as strong as she truly was; it is a story that will cut to any Mama's heart. I definitely recommend this book for anyone and everyone; I can see Pam's story changing many lives, if people will only just take the time to read it. You can read an excerpt from the story on Hachette Book Group. It is priced at $18.24 on Amazon.
(Disclosure: We were provided with this book, free of charge, by Hachette Book Group, in association with MamaBuzz.)