"Adopting a baby from China should be a fairy tale ending to a story of loss. But life offers no guarantees, no matter how a family is formed. Children come with needs, while middle age presents its own set of challenges. The goals from our thirties often seem hollow, unattainable or irrelevant. Illness can make its sudden devastating appearance. “Big Sister,” the sequel to “Little Sister,” is the story of such a family, twice blessed by adoption. Mark and Rena, the American couple who adopted the baby Mooi Mooi (now called Jennie) from “Little Sister,” live in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. While adopting Jennie satisfied Rena’s yearning for a child; adopting Lily, their second daughter, blew apart a marriage already edging toward divorce. It isn’t Lily’s fault—though Mark would like to blame her, if only to get Rena angry. Yet even before Lily’s arrival, he’d begun questioning his life choices, his health was declining, he’d backed away from family obligations. Then at fifty, he learns he was adopted. Always the strong one, Rena’s faith in marriage is shattered when Mark leaves, apparently for a younger woman. She appears resolute, however, amidst Lily’s head injury, her brother, Jim’s unexpected arrival; and her best friend, Linda’s problems with her son, Zach. Yet she cries each night, lonely and afraid, desperately wanting her husband. Jennie's a daddy’s girl, figuring she would have favored her birthfather as well. Ashamed of her role in Lily’s injury, she strives to be a better sister. Her strength is evident as she helps an unwed mother make a difficult, life-altering choice."
About Wendy MacGown
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Published June 4, 2007
Literature & Fiction.