Author: John M. Simmons
Author: John M. Simmons
In his memoir, To Sing Frogs: A True Story About Family, Friends, Life, and Other Things That Don’t Make Sense, John M. Simmons takes you on his journey to Russia to adopt orphans in need of a home. But this is so much more than an adoption story. It is also an exploration of things that don’t make sense. It’s written with insight, intelligence, cynicism, and a big heart of compassion as he asks the touch questions.
Where is the sense in a system that requires years of bureaucracy and wait time in order for a lonely, love-starved child to receive the welcoming embrace of a family? I felt the frustration, anger, and confusion right along with John and Amy Simmons as they were forced to watch the girls grow older while they jumped through senseless hoops and waited for months on end.
What kind of society turns a blind eye to abused and abandoned children? While we can’t change society, Simmons points out that we can all do something to help boys and girls in need. The Simmons family shares how they opened their hearts and their homes. For those who aren’t able to adopt, there are other ways to help, and Simmons has a system and website set up for that.
Why does God allow evil to happen to innocent children? Simmons asks this probing question and a lot more as he challenges the reader to think deeply. How he eventually makes peace with that struggle is revealed by the end of the book.
To Sing Frogs is the story of a family—John and Amy Simmons and their three biological sons—who had the courage and benevolence to open their arms to five-year-old Katya and her three-year-old sister Luba, who were living in an orphanage as a result being burned and beaten by their mother. Little Katya prayed daily for a papa and mama, and God answered her prayer. But the big surprise came after they arrived back in the United States. Katya was praying for something more, something impossible, something the Simmons would have no control over or ability to make happen. I won’t spoil the outcome, as reading the book in
Simmons’ own words is the best way to get the story.
This is also a book of paradoxes. John Simmons is skeptical, cynical and critical of the government system and of God. Yet, he is a man with amazing mercy, openness, and love. Amy Simmons is the emotional type who cries when she is sad, happy, surprised, receives good news, receives bad news, and at pretty much every special occasion. Yet, she is a woman with extraordinary strength of character and steadfast faith—a bedrock for her family. Little Katya wants nothing more than to have her own papa and mama. Yet after the adoption, she held them at arm’s length. It’s all very fascinating and makes for one of the most provocative memoirs I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading.
The title, To Sing Frogs, doesn’t make a lot of sense, and that is exactly the point. So much of life and faith does not make sense. (The story of how the book got its name is pretty funny, though.)
Highly recommended for all people who care about other human beings—whether or not they’re interested in adoption specifically. And for those who are interested in adoption, this is one not to be missed. All proceeds from the sale of the book go to help orphans, so feel good about buying several copies and passing them out to others.