Surprised by Children

Surprised by Children: a memoir

by Harold Myra

Publisher: Zondervan Publishing House
Published: 2001

Harold Myra served as the CEO of Christianity Today International for 32 years. Under his leadership, the organization grew from one magazine to a communications company with a dozen magazines, co published books, and a major Internet ministry. Myra started his journalistic career with “Youth for Christ” magazine, which under his leadership became “Campus Life” magazine. Author of five novels, numerous children’s and nonfiction books, and hundreds of magazine articles, Myra has taught writing and publishing at the Wheaton College Graduate School in Illinois. Harold and his wife, Jeanette, are the parents of six children and grandparents of five. They reside in Wheaton, Illinois.

The backdrop of the story is the author, Harold Myra’s experiences with raising children. Myra has birth, foster and adoptive children and recounts their stories. Myra writes with humility about his challenges. He is introverted in a full house, struggles with the loss of foster children, feels overwhelmed with responsibility for his family and wrestles with the death of family members.

While the backdrop is his experience as a father, the story encompasses love, sorrow, joy, death, growth, pain and meaning out of suffering, as well as examining the question of how does a Christian man respond to the overwhelming needs of children in the world?

This is an interesting memoir written in a very readable style. Life wasn’t easy as they fostered several children, dealing Zondervan Publishing House, 2001. with Social Services, caseworkers, and biological parents. Harold is honest in describing everyday life and crises. Their strong faith in Christ is evident in the book.

At an age when most men were seeing their nests empty and anticipating grandchildren, Jeannette, Harold’s wife, wanted them to become the parents of an African-America boy from a deeply troubled home. Since then, Harold and Jeannette have adopted a total of three African American children. Surprised by Children is their inspiring and touching story. Yet the focus of this wonderful story is not race, but the love that a man can experience, with God’s help, for children that have been neglected by society.

Although not a new book. this book would be especially helpful for those thinking about fostering or adopting and who already have biological children.