About the Book
Book: Finding My Son
Author: Eric Odell-Hein
Genre: Christian Memoir, Adoption
Release Date: February 21, 2018
Eric was perfectly happy being one half of a dual income, no kids family. Having the freedom to travel the world with his wife Christine, while indulging his hobbies and furthering his education and career, was a pretty sweet life.
Christine wanted to be a mom.
Though he was scared he didn’t have what it took to be a good dad, Eric wanted to fulfill his wife’s dream. After years of trying to conceive, however, the couple received a devastating diagnosis: infertility.
For Christine, adoption was the obvious answer. Eric wasn’t so sure.
In Finding My Son: A Father’s Adoption Journey, author Eric Odell-Hein offers an unfiltered view into the heart and mind of a man who has experienced the sometimes messy and often awkward process of becoming a father through adoption. Encouraging men to acknowledge the fears they don’t want to admit while advocating a thoughtful, deliberate transparency as the best approach to even the most unnatural, uncomfortable aspects of the adoption process. Eric shares his misgivings and mistakes with an honesty that does not deny his insecurities.
A valuable resource for any man considering growing his family through adoption—or anyone seeking to understand the process—this engaging memoir is a testament to the beautiful gift of adoption and a touching account of a father’s love.
Click here to get your copy!
Mindy Houng’s Interview with Eric Odell-Hein
What inspired this book?
When I went through the adoption process, the adoption agency gave us a list of books to read. They were all great books, but they didn’t speak directly to me. I ascribed this to the fact they were written by adoptive mothers and seemed to resonate especially well with fellow prospective adoptive mothers. But they didn’t address the sort of fears, concerns, and insecurities I was facing as a husband who was going through the process of deciding to become an adoptive father. After the process was finished and I had spent a few years as an adoptive father—the best choice I’ve ever made—I decided to share my story and experience in an attempt to fill what I perceived as a gap in the book resources available to those considering adoption. In my personal experience, I had to face a lot of concerns, emotions, past hurts, and insecurities. I think of lot of people, perhaps guys more than others, tend to bury these things and power past them. But I think it’s wise to identify and intentionally engage with these sorts of issues when facing serious life decisions. My hope is that in transparently sharing my experience, other people considering adoption will find something they can take away from the book that will be helpful to them as they face this process.
Which author influenced you the most?
As a child, I devoured the writings of J.R.R. Tolkien, but my admiration of his works didn’t really translate to my gifting, which is non-fiction. During my college years, I ran across the works of Mircea Eliade, a Romanian historian of religion, and that inspired me to pursue my own academic research and writing (I have previously authored two academically oriented books on religion). When studying world religions, I read a book by Lama Surya Das that influenced my writing style. While I disagreed with his religious conclusions, I was struck by the quality of his writing and found myself aspiring to be able to write as effectively as him. Today I devour everything written by Dr. Michael Heiser. Not only do we share a religious worldview (Christian), but he has a tremendous ability to take deep concepts and patterns of thought and distill them down to a practical, impactful level. If you only read one author (beside me!), give Heiser’s books a try.
What is your favorite Bible verse or life verse?
John 1:51 has become my favorite verse: “And He [Jesus] said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see the heavens opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.’” To get an idea of the significance of this passage, read the story of Jacob’s dream back in Genesis 28:10-22. Jesus explicitly points to himself as the ultimate hierophany and axis mundi: the point of connection between heaven and humankind. In the ancient Near East, where the people who wrote the Bible lived, the concept of connection to the heavenly realm was incredibly valuable. Jesus spoke to his listeners in a powerful way that communicated his central role as the only way humankind connects to God. I absolutely love this.
Where is your favorite vacation spot?
There is no better place to spend a vacation than Germany and Austria during the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Their Christmas markets are truly something special. In October I’ll be taking my family on cruise to Rome, Greece, and various other locations, so I might have a new favorite after that trip. If I limit myself to the U.S., then Yellowstone is the clear winner.
What are you reading right now?
I am currently switching between two books, one non-fiction and the other fiction. For non-fiction, I’m reading Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition, by James K. Hoffmeier. For fiction, I’ve just started on the series of books that the TV show The Expanse is based on. Currently I’m on book two in the series, which is called Caliban’s War, by James S.A. Corey.
If you could have one piece of art or music a deserted island, what would it be and why?
I’m laughing right now, because I actually consider this question on a fairly regular basis. If I could only have one album to listen to, it would be In Love, by the group Juli. It’s a German-language band, and their music simply resonates with me, particularly the song Seenot. I’m not generally into art, so this might seem silly to anyone who is, but I recently watched Werk Ohne Autor (English title: Never Look Away), which was based on the life of the famous German artist, Gerhard Richter. The pivotal piece of art in the movie is adapted from his real-life work titled “Aunt Marianne,” which is an intentionally blurred painting of himself and his aunt. While this may seem heretical to art-lovers, the version of that painting re-created for the movie is very moving. If the movie-version of that piece of art is ever made available for sale, I will buy a copy and place it in my home office.
Thank you Eric for taking your time to chat with us!
About the Author
Eric Odell-Hein (PhD, MDiv, MRS, ThB) is the president of Columbia Evangelical Seminary. The teaching pastor at Summit Evangelical Free Church, he is also the author of Recovering Lost Treasure: Finding Christ in Ancient Myth, Symbol, and Ritual and Systems of Evil: A Study in Comparative Theodicy. Eric lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with his wife Christine and their son Ephraim. All three are passionate travelers.
More from Eric
Adoption was a scary prospect for me. My mother and all her siblings are adopted, and the family dynamic for them was challenging. So when my wife decided we should adopt, I initially responded with a flat-out “no.” But my heart changed, and I am strongly convinced that our son, who joined us via adoption back in 2008 when he was just two days old, is the greatest child in the entire world. If you knew where I was emotionally prior to adoption compared with where I am now, you would marvel at the change. My adoption book is for people like me, particularly men, who struggle with the enormity of the choice to adopt and the constant challenges of the process.
On a lighter and more personal side, when people learn about all the various aspects of my life, they often have to stop and process the seemingly incongruous pieces. Some people know me as a guy who has spent more than two decades in software and entertainment, primarily in various aspects of behind-the-scenes video game technology and management. My entire family plays games, and more often than not, when I get back home in the evening, I find my wife and son online with other members of the extended family playing Minecraft. Sometimes we’ll all get in an online session together, each one of us at our own TV on our own Xbox, and take on bad guys together in one game or another.
Other people know my intellectual side, where I have earned several degrees in areas of theology and religion, including a Ph.D., as well as serving as president of Columbia Evangelical Seminary. I previously published two books on academic topics (evil among world religions, religious symbology) and have more in various stages of development, the next one being a focus on the ancient Near Eastern (ANE) cosmogonic/chaos-order symbolism in baptism. As a teaching pastor, I have a reputation for sermons with an intense ANE contextual emphasis that are part sermon and part seminary course. Check out my most recent four-part series on the Odell-Hein Books Facebook page here.
I was born in Germany to an American family, and while my German-language skills have deteriorated, I love German music. I’m very excited that my favorite group, Juli, has a new album coming out later this year. It’s mild stuff compared to most of the rock or industrial music I listen to, but they’re good. Check out the first single from their upcoming album here. I’ll be one of the small handful of Americans who purchase the album on the day it first releases in the US.
When not working or playing games with the family, I read primarily academic ANE books. When we’re in the car, I love to subject the family to my go-to podcast, the Naked Bible Podcast. No, it’s not what it sounds like. If you want to hear a serious scholar tackle the ANE context for the Bible, start with Dr. Michael Heiser’s Exodus series (it begins with episode 255).
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 5
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 6
Vicky Sluiter, November 7 (Author Interview)
Just the Write Escape, November 8
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 9
Simple Harvest Reads, November 10 (Author Interview)
Texas Book-aholic, November 11
janicesbookreviews, November 12
Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 13 (Author Interview)
A Reader’s Brain, November 14
Inklings and notions, November 15
By The Book, November 16 (Author Interview)
Book Love (Featuring Gail Hollingsworth), November 17
Through the Fire Blogs, November 18 (Author Interview)
To celebrate his tour, Eric is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon certificate and a signed copy of each of his three books!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.