May 14, 2001 12:00 PM

A True Story of Adoption

by Janis Cooke Newman

Until her mother began dying of cancer in 1993, the author of this engrossing memoir didn’t want children. Once the desire hit, though, she longed for a baby desperately enough to undertake an agonizing journey. Unable to conceive, Newman and her husband headed from their California home to Russia to adopt an infant they had fallen in love with on a videotape from a Moscow orphanage. Named Grisha, the Russian word for snow, because his mother had abandoned him in winter, the 1-year-old proved as appealing as they had hoped, even if he did smell like the boiled cabbage that was a staple of the orphanage. The couple’s fight to bring Grisha (renamed Alex) home after months of dashed hopes and bureaucratic snafus vividly illustrates the perils of foreign adoption. Alex, now a healthy and happy 6-year-old, shows it’s worth it. (St. Martin’s, $22.95)

Bottom Line: Nail-biting adoption saga with a happy ending

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