By Donna Thornton
Ginger and Denny Sanders kept a drawing done in Sunday School by their son Jamie – adopted from South Korea in 1971 – and now Ginger Sanders is sharing that story, of when Jamie realized that he looked different than his parents.
When asked many years ago in Sunday School to draw his family, Jamie’s drawing showed stick figure parents with round eyes, and a stick figure child with straight lines for eyes. It is the image used on the cover of “Round Eyes,” a book written by Sanders and illustrated by local artist Tracey Applewhite Broome, published by CrossBooks.
“It’s the story of when Jamie realized he looked different from his mother and father,” Sanders said, and that difference in appearance does not make a difference in families.
“Round Eyes” was published in August, and has made it as high as Number 3 on the CrossBook bestseller list. Sanders has published another book, “He Goes Before Us,” through CrossBooks, LifeWay’s publishing arm.
“He Goes Before Us” was published in September. It recounts 31 “faith building stories” from the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains. The Sanders are Chaplain Coordinators with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, which sends teams to areas of natural or man-made disasters to give emotional and spiritual care to the people affected by disasters.
Ginger Sanders said the book includes stories from chaplains who were on site – as the Sanders were – after the movie theater shootings in Aurora, Colo., the school shootings in Sandy Hook, Conn., and stories from serving after natural disasters as far away as Haiti.
Some of the stories are from experiences of the Sanders themselves; some are from other chaplains they served with.
When the response teams are in the field, Denny Sanders said, they come together at the end of the day to discuss what they encountered. Some of those shared stories are in the book. It is stories of situations that only God could have orchestrated.
“These stories are not about us,” Ginger Sanders said. “It’s about God.”
“It’s the same with “Round Eyes,” she said. “God gave us this story, because God gave us our son.”
Sanders said she’d wanted to share the story for some time. Once, encountering a ghost writer for Jerry Falwell, she told the woman “I have a great story you need to write.”
Hearing the story, the writer told Sanders that it was Sanders who needed to write that story.
When she decided to write, she called on Broome, who attends Southside Baptist Church, as the Sanders do, to do illustrations. Broome said she was happy to have the opportunity.
“Every time Ginger came to the house she would tell me a God story,” Broome said. “I was blessed the whole time.”
The Sanders adopted Jamie and their daughter Kara from South Korea. Both were abandoned children. The couple, now living in Southside, have two biological sons as well.
“None of us notice the difference,” Sanders said. “It is truly the love on the inside that counts.”
That is the story “Round Eyes” shares, and it can be a beneficial message for not only adopted children, but for any children who may look different, she said.
Sanders said at a book signing there was a woman who approached and talked about how much it meant to her to see an illustration of a woman praying for a baby. Sanders said she had the feeling that there was an adoption story in that woman’s past – that perhaps she’d given a baby up for adoption, and was comforted by the idea that there are people asking God for children to adopt.
“It’s a story for adults, too,” Sanders said.
Sanders and Broome may have more book signings in the area in the coming months. Sanders said CrossBooks is promoting the book, too, with a national radio interview scheduled soon and a film crew coming to her home later this month to film a segment that could be used on various radio and television shows.
Ginger Sanders will be at Barnes and Nobles, Hamilton Place Mall, Chattanooga, Tenn. on Nov. 2, at 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. with Karen Kingsbury for a book signing.