Book review: River of Promise: Two Women’s Story of Love and Adoption, by Judy Dahl

The GLBTRT has been reviewing books and movies in its newsletter since the early 1990s. Trace the evolution of queer publishing through these historic reviews. This review was originally published in Vol. 3, No. 1 & 2, Fall 1990/Winter 1991.

Dahl, Judy. River of Promise: Two Women’s Story of Love and Adoption. LuraMedia, 1989. Paper. $7.95. (ISBN 0-931055-64-4).

The book begins with Judy Dahl and her lover Terryl looking through a hospital nursery window at a baby, soon to be their adopted son. Using unattributed dialogue, stream-of-consciousness, and conversations from Judy’s prayers with God, the story of Judy and Terryl and their desire to include children in their family unfolds. Wrestling with homophobia, fears of the changes having children will bring, and the vulnerability that comes with wanting anything so very much, the two women investigate doctors, lawyers, donor insemination clinics and adoption agencies. Neither woman achieves a pregnancy, but they are more successful with adoption. Working with both private and international adoption, they experience plenty of joy and sorrow, and the reader is given an inside look at private adoptions.

This intensely personal book is clearly written, though the style is unusual. An intriguing bonus is the insight which Dahl, a minister with the Metropolitan Community Church, provides into her relationship with God. River of Promise would be useful for any public library where there is interest in accounts of private adoption or lesbian parenting.

Reviewed by Nancy A. Higgs
Evansville-Vanderburgh County Public Library
Evansville, Indiana

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