If you’re like me, Mitch Albom’s Finding Chika: A Little Girl, an Earthquake, and the Making of a Family will bring tears to your eyes, yet you’ll smile, and want to savor this story until its end.
It’s about Chika, a little spitfire of a girl, who was born in a Haitian field around the time of the 2010 earthquake. Three years later, when her mother died, giving birth to another baby, Chika arrived at the Have Faith Orphanage that Mitch Albom and his wife Janine sponsor in Port Au Prince.
But the story is also about Mitch and Janine, who put off having children, and discovered they weren’t likely to have any. Regularly, they visited the orphanage and knew all the children, so when at five, Chika started having symptoms like her mouth, and one side of her face drooping, Albom was concerned. And when doctors discovered Chika had a malignant brain tumor, Albom and his wife open their home to Chika.
Quite an adjustment for them. The zany, but charming tsunami that was Chika totally upturned their quiet, orderly routines.
In a short time, it was clear Chika moved into their hearts as well as their lives.
She was more than a long-term guest, she was family, which made it even more heart wrenching when doctors determined Chika’s tumor was one that she most likely wouldn’t recover from. Even with the expensive and experimental treatments Albom and his wife try, Chika got worse. At first, she had trouble walking and then talking, and finally she needed help doing everything, but she never lost her spunk, or her joy in living.
I listened to the audio version, and I’m glad I did because I got to hear Chika singing, laughing, and talking.
And Albom told Chika’s story so well, I felt like I experienced it with them. It was a short read, only about six hours, but, even as I had to wipe tears away, it warmed my heart.
I borrowed this audio book from the library, and I know I’ll check it out again. It’s definitely worth listening to again and again.