I read a lot, but I rarely do book reviews on the blog because I feel I don’t do them justice. There is one company though I do it with because I adore them. This is one of those. I have a huge variety of books I love. One day you’ll find me reading a true-crime book, the next a romance, and after that a local history book. I do like my variety. Awakening East by Johanna Garton is one of those. It’s based on true events and was fantastic!
I have no experience with adoption personally or even traveling overseas, so the next best thing to me to touching either is reading all about it.
Awakening East by Johanna Garton
COLORADO FAMILY EMBARKS ON UNIQUE YEAR LONG ADVENTURE TO CHINA
Johanna Garton explores adopted children’s roots in her poignant memoir “Awakening East”
DENVER, CO — Just a few years after adopting son, Will, and daughter, Eden, from China, Johanna Garton and her husband made the decision to move their family across the world for one year to fully immerse themselves in their children’s culture and place of origin. Awakening East (Oct. 23; Marcinson Press) is the result of their epic adventure.
Beginning as a series of blog posts, Awakening East began to develop into a tale of humor, hardships and life lessons after Garton dived more deeply into the backstory and emotional journey each family member experienced while living abroad.
“We were each going through the same stressful situations in moving to a new country, but we had our own journey to overcome struggles,” says Garton. “When plunked in a foreign country and depending only on each other, the processes we each went through were amplified.”
While their year in China gave Garton broadened wisdom and understanding, she says her most memorable experience was visiting her son’s orphanage and daughter’s foster family. “We adopted both children at the age of 12 months, so being able to piece together more details from the first year of their lives was invaluable.”
Garton’s hopes her memoir will inspire readers to understand that adoption doesn’t always have to be a backup plan, but another wonderful option in the choice of becoming a parent. She says, “At the end of the day, having a child call you Mom or Dad is the most important thing, isn’t it?”
About Johanna Garton
Johanna Garton fills her days as owner of Missionworks Consulting, a nonprofit management consulting firm in Denver. She leads workshops for parents on traveling back to China through the Chinese Heritage Camp in Denver through Regis University. For those looking for something a little more close to home, Johanna also developed Kids Yoga Speak while preparing for her year in China. The program is based on Total Physical Response and teaches children Chinese by incorporating the language into a yoga routine.
My Personal Thoughts on Awakening East by Johanna Garton
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first read what Awakening East by Johanna Garton was about. I knew I’d be reading about their year in China, but otherwise, I was walking in blindly.
Little did I know that Johanna would be dipping us into her full life before children and husband and then after husband and children. I loved that we got the full back story that led them to moving and living in China for a full year.
Throughout the book, I felt like was walking right beside Johanna, experiencing everything she had experienced.
Did you know that China at one time only allowed one child per household? Which is why Johanna and her husband wanted to adopt in China. Usually, Chinese families only wanted boys to take care of them when they got older, so often it was little girls that were put up for adoption. Which is why Johanna and her husband were shocked when their first-born was a boy.
Taking the big leap to live in China for a full year so their two children could experience their born world in so much more depth is an amazing tell. Not only did they live in China for a full year, but while living in China they did much exploring and vacations while they could to take full advantage of living overseas for that full year.
If you have any interest in Chinese culture, adoption or just real-life stories, you’ll want to pick up Awakening East by Johanna Garton yourself. I loved every single minute of it and I can bet you will too. You’ll probably learn a thing or two about other countries customs as well.
5 out of 5 stars from me!