Bella's Gift, by Rick and Karen Santorum with Elizabeth Santorum is a beautiful book that is much more than a biography. Picking up this book, I expected to hear the story of a little girl and her family. What I didn't expect was the incredible journey of faith and grief and the raw honesty that I found. In many ways I feel like they wrote my personal faith statement, Catholicism and all. Each chapter tells a different part of the story focused on an aspect of true love. For example, Love is a Leap of Faith, Love Necessitates Trust, Love Requires Vulnerability, and more. I could probably fill an entire post of quotes that made me smile, laugh, and even cry.
In many ways, Bella's story is Siena's story. There are differences of course... the obvious one being the outcomes. That being said, however, I understood much of what they shared on a deeply personal level. I wanted to invite them over for dinner so we could share these stories with each other face to face! Karen seemed to instinctually understand that this story would connect with moms of special needs children who's babies had lived and those who had died and often acknowledged those of us who's children did not survive long (or in some cases at all) outside of the womb.
I appreciated that Rick was not shy about his struggles. He was also not shy in his call to fathers not to abandon their families emotionally or otherwise.
Last week, I submitted a brief piece for the Catholic Bloggers Network (you can read it here) about my experience mothering Siena. I concluded with the following remarks, "I like to think Siena was conceived in love, nurtured in love, born into love, and finally received into Love."
The Santorum family has been on this incredible, crazy, wild ride of love too. I truly believe that their testament to love will continue to encourage and inspire others for many years.
In exchange for an honest review, I was provided with a free copy of this book through the BookLook Bloggers Program. All opinions are my own.