Motherhood & Words

gillian marchenko & a book giveaway

I met Gillian Marchenko a few years ago through her blog, when I was swept up in the story of her and her husband’s journey to adopt their sweet Evangeline, who has Down Syndrome, from Ukraine. (Polly, their third biological child, also has Down Syndrome.) I would pop over and check in on the progress, and I cheered for them as they packed up and made the trip across the Atlantic. Gillian writes honestly about life, faith, depression, and parenting children with Down Syndrome. I had the pleasure of working with her on her memoir, Sun Shine Down, when it was in the manuscript phase. It’s a moving memoir about Polly’s birth and coming to terms with having a child with special needs.

I’m happy to announce that as part of the blog tour, Gillian has offered to give away a copy of Sun Shine Down to one of my readers. In Sun Shine Down Gillian bravely chronicles her first years as a parent to children with special needs, taking us on a journey from darkness to light, from desperation to hope. I read this book in one beautiful afternoon. You will too! Please leave a comment below if you’re interested in winning a copy of Gillian’s lovely memoir.

And I’m grateful to Gillian for posting about Ready for Air today. She writes:

This memoir is skillfully and beautifully written, but almost more important, it is honest. Dense in time frame, Kate draws you in from the first page and keeps you there… Sick and pregnant, wheeled in to surgery, meeting the baby and not believing it is the same one who paddled around inside her. While reading I was keenly aware of a privilege… I was participating in something intimate; a husband, wife, and baby’s journey towards becoming a family.

Thank you Gillian, for your honest and powerful writing and for participating in my blog book tour! Please check out Gillian’s blog! And if you’d like to be entered to win a copy of Sun Shine Down, please leave a comment below by Sunday, November 10th.

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I have been teaching creative writing for almost twenty years. Reading about other women’s lives and experiences has expanded my world. To be able to walk in someone else’s shoes, whether it’s for a moment or an hour or a few days, is an incredible gift, providing me with insight into the human experience. It takes courage to write your truths, especially if it doesn’t seem as though anyone cares, as though anyone is listening. Let me tell you: your stories matter, I’m listening, and I’m here to help you find the heart of those truths, to get them down on the page, to craft them, and to send them out into the world. Together, we will change the world, one story at a time.


  1. Autumn on November 4, 2013 at 9:42 am

    Dear Kate,

    Thank you for pointing us to Gillian’s blog. I think her story will resonate with me on multiple levels.

    Her review of Ready for Air was point on. I just loved these words of praise Gillian gave your memoir:

    “…Real, raw, beautiful.

    A triumph for motherhood and writing.”

    Yours is a beautiful and triumphant story, indeed.

    I hope to win that copy of Gillian’s adoption memoir being that I am an adoptive mother of a special needs child. But also because the book comes so highly recommended by you!

    Cheers to you!

    • Kate on November 4, 2013 at 10:45 am

      Oh Autumn, you’d love it, I think. Also the important thread of faith will resonate with you! xox

  2. Sue on November 4, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Now I am intrigued to read Gillian’s book and her blog. She may not want to ship to Canada, if so I am not offended but will look for her book. She does aptly say your book is intimate- I felt like I was a voyeur in your lives, in a good, non creepy way 🙂

    • Kate on November 5, 2013 at 7:49 am

      I think you’re okay, Sue. Consider yourself entered!

  3. Marilyn bousquin on November 4, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    Sun Shines Down is an incredible title. Can’t wait yo read this book!

    • Kate on November 5, 2013 at 7:50 am

      Isn’t it a great title?

  4. Sara on November 4, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    Sun Shine Down recently popped up on my radar, though I don’t know where or how, but it’s on my reading list!

    • Kate on November 5, 2013 at 7:50 am

      I think you’ll like it, Sara!

  5. Renee G on November 4, 2013 at 11:53 pm

    I would absolutely love to read this. My husband and I have considered adopting a special needs child, but haven’t committed yet.

    • Kate on November 5, 2013 at 7:52 am

      Thanks for posting, Renee. I think it would be helpful, even though the book centers around the birth of Gillian’s biological child with DS. But then they went on to adopt another girl with DS.

  6. Gillian Marchenko on November 5, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Thank you so much, Kate, for your kind words and for the book giveaway. I appreciate you!

    • Kate on November 5, 2013 at 9:10 am

      Likewise, my dear!

  7. Jennifer T on November 5, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    I would love to win her book. I had wanted to listen to her talk while at MOMCon but didn’t get the opportunity. I would love to be able to read her book. I have a heart for mommies of special needs children as my sister-in-law has a sweet son with special needs and my brother-in-law has downs. Thanks for the opportunity!

    • Kate on November 5, 2013 at 7:28 pm

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Jennifer. You’re in the running!

  8. Kate on November 13, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Sara, you are the winner! I’ll send you address on to Gillian!