CHANGING HANDS is a Great Northwest Book Festival winner.
It is said to be the happiest moment in a woman’s life: holding her child for the first time. But for Sadie, at the tender age of sixteen, it will be the first and only time she will hold her baby boy. In order to give him his best chance in life, Sadie realizes the only thing she can do for him is to let him go. While she is torn between her decision and the love she feels for her baby, she knows she can’t think about what she wants but instead what her baby needs. And in the end, she says goodbye.
All of his life, Hayden never really fit in. Not with his friends. Certainly not with his family. The only thing he seems to do well is self-destruction. But his behavior is only a façade. In reality Hayden is besieged by self-doubt. How could anyone love him when the woman who gave him life, simply discarded him?
Just as Hayden graduates from high school, he discovers he is to become a father, placing him directly in the shoes of his birthmother. Determined to do things differently than both his biological and adoptive parents, Hayden knows the answers are with her: his birthmother. Armed with only a letter from her, he embarks on a journey to find Sadie and the answers to the questions he so desperately needs.
From beginning to end, you are drawn to the reunion of mother and child. The events that take place keep you turning pages. Just how do you find your mother? Should you attempt to seek out your child? What are the consequences for either endeavor?
Do you really want to know?
wherever you are…whoever you are…
I love you.
This book holds a very special place in my heart, as I hope it will with all of you. As some of you know, I placed a baby boy for adoption when I was seventeen years old.
For a long time, I kept this part of my history a secret. Part of me was ashamed while the other part wanted to hide from the pain remembering caused me. It took me a long time to come to terms with this chapter of my life and to realize one very important fact: I gave my son his best chance. Because, that is what moms do. And while I may never meet my son, he is never far from my thoughts and will always occupy a very special corner of my heart.
This book is by no means an autobiographical account of that part of my life; however, it would be impossible to separate my emotions and experiences from the creation of this story. Sadie’s story is intertwined with my own.
That being said, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the people in my life who helped me through this very emotional piece of my history. Using their names in this novel is the best and only way I can think of to express my gratitude. While I realize that words cannot express how much I appreciate and love each one of them, it’s the best way that I know how to articulate it.
It is a special group of people who can lift up a young woman in the worst time of her life and carry her through it.
You made me stronger…
You gave me hope…
You helped me carry on…
Mom, I know you never really understood me and we rarely saw eye to eye on anything — such is the relationships of mothers and daughters. Be that as it may, I love you. Thank you for giving me an example of strength and courage to follow throughout all of my life.
Darlene Ferguson — my other mother — you are the kindest, most genuine person I know. Thank you for holding my hand, wiping my tears, and most of all, for loving me even when I was unlovable.
Tricia Doman Christianson, you stood by my side in that hospital room as I brought my son into this world. No matter what happens in either of our lives, you will always have a special place in mine.
Kelly Swanson Hayden, biology may not have made us sisters but life did. I don’t know how I would have ever made it through my childhood without you by my side. Miles may separate us and years may go by without us seeing each other but you always will be my very best friend. I love you.
Wendy Wright, if I had known how much your friendship was going to mean to me, I probably would have never left Choteau. I hope it will continue to grow and I always want you to be a part of my life.
Jane Butsch Hassler, if there were a picture next to the definition of friend in the dictionary, yours would be there. You were the only person who came to my house after I came home from the hospital. You sat next to me the day after I gave my son up for adoption while I cried myself to sleep. You didn’t judge and you didn’t try to fix it. You simply held my hand. It gave me comfort to know you were there and that meant more to me than you will ever know.
Luke Hawes, you are one of my heroes. You are an excellent father, you are an incredible friend, and you bravely serve our country every day. Your children are very blessed to have you in their lives, as am I.
And to Rick Kolb — or as I always called you: Ricky — what is there to say? You loved a pregnant, lost, and confused girl in spite of everything. Life may not always turn out the way we plan but I consider myself lucky to have had you in my life, even if it was only for a little while.