Memoir Asserts We’re All Orphans in Some Way Who Can Turn to Heavenly Father

Written by Paul R. Kopenkoskey on . Posted in Local

Lorilee Craker 235Lorilee Craker’s new book abounds with humor, lightness and depth.Author Lorilee Craker's latest book makes an assertion that may jar some readers, while others will nod their heads in wholehearted agreement: All of us in one way or another are orphans.

Craker's book, "Anne of Green Gables, My Daughter and Me: What My Favorite Book Taught Me About Grace, Belonging & the Orphan In Us All" (Tyndale House Publishers Inc.), weaves the literal sense of the word "orphan" with the fallout that's let loose when rejection and desertion strikes our emotional and spiritual core.

Either way, we feel bereft of hope and direction, left behind and abandoned, grieving, wondering through it all who to turn to.

That is one facet of life.

The other is the assurance that our heavenly Father never leaves or forsakes us. Craker in more ways than one, has been impacted by loss and what it truly means to belong.

Turn to the Father

"Those orphan feelings are an opportunity to turn to the Father Who does not fail us," said Craker, whose book cites two Scriptures: "I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you" (John 14:18); and "I would not forget you! See, I have written your name in the palms of my hands" (Isaiah 49:15-16."

Craker's new book — her 13th — draws inspiration from Canadian author Lucy Maud Montgomery's beloved series of novels "Anne of Green Gables" whose protagonist, Anne Shirley, is a young orphan who is sent to Prince Edward Island after a childhood spent in strangers' homes and orphanages.

The 'lost' girls

Craker also threads the stories of three other "lost" girls: her own adoption, the adoption of her now 10-year-old daughter, Phoebe Min-Ju Jayne; and Lucy Maud Montgomery whose father gave custody of Montgomery to her maternal grandparents after her mother died of tuberculosis when she was 21 months old.

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Craker recalled reading a picture book version of "Anne of Green Gables" story to her adopted daughter, Phoebe, when she was seven years old. Phoebe stopped Craker in her tracks when she asked what an orphan was.

"The cool thing was I was able to explain it to her how Anne was an orphan, I was an orphan and she was kind of an orphan," Craker said. "That was the spark of my book. I make a case that we belong to people who are not our flesh and blood. DNA is not the qualifier."

Craker was 13 she read on her birth certificate her original name was Charlene Rudineska. She eventually did meet her birth mother and father later in life, which didn't go well.

"I found my birth father a few years ago," Craker said. "His letter to me was cold and business like."

She also endured the taunts of a "mean powerful girl" in 8th grade and wrestled with losing her long-time job as an entertainment writer for The Grand Rapids Press.

The universal reality is all people at some point feel like they've drifting in uncertain waters.

Connecting the dots

"We've all had experiences where we've been excluded or rejected," Craker said. "I was pointed to the Father who always claimed me.

"I hope people can connect their own orphan dots. When we hear about other people's stories, we're able to make sense of our own stories."
Author Information
Paul R. Kopenkoskey
About:
Paul R. Kopenkoskey is a full-time freelance writer and editor for an assortment of publications including Grand Rapids Magazine, Grand Rapids Business Journal, and Faith Grand Rapids magazine. He has completed his first novel with the working title, Karl Beguiled. He and his wife, Barb, live in Wyoming, Michigan. They have three children and five grandchildren.

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