Leap Books author Jacqueline Horsfall has firsthand knowledge about Russian adoption, which prompted her to write For the Love of Strangers.
From the time Horsfall's 16-year-old protagonist, Darya, is taken from the orphanage, she is plagued with doubts. Does the stranger who adopted her truly love her and want keep her? Or will Darya someday be sent back to Russia? With skill and sensitivity, Horsfall explores this delicate balance in the adoptive child's relationship with her new and foreign parent. Though Darya is a strong lead character, one who chooses to take on a fight against the town's leading citizens, her life is colored by the sadness and uncertainty of her early life and the constant fear that being adopted does not mean being loved or secure.
The fact that Darya's fears could be real was brought into stark relief by the media over the past month or so. Seven-year-old Artyom Savelyev lived out Darya's nightmare when he was sent back alone to Russia in April 2010. ABC's Good Morning America captured this heartbreaking story in a video called "Adoption Gone Wrong."