THEY CAME TO STAY by Marjorie & Ruth Gruber Margolies


Email this review


Interracial adoptions are still far from standard practice, and adoption by a single parent can be a major hassle. NBC-TV reporter Margolies surmounted both obstacles in 1970, after several years of effort. Seven-year-old Lee Heh Kyung was a parent's dream of loving and intelligent cooperation--so much so that the few ripples on the surface (her fear of speaking Korean, her worry about her Oriental eyes) were perhaps too easily smoothed over. But Ho Thi Thu Nga (Holly), the six-year-old American-Vietnamese gift Margolies adopted three years later, would have been a shock under any circumstances: constant violent tantrums for no apparent reasons; stealing episodes at school; night terrors and bedwetting; worms and a severe vaginal infection; a mouthful of rotting teeth. It took exhaustive legwork by coauthor Gruber to track down the two children's histories--both had been given up by loving but desperate mothers. Margolies is not bitter about the rosy adoption agency report that led her to Holly (the young Vietnamese staff members helpfully made up whatever they thought prospective American parents might like to hear) or the agency's failure to give her essential cultural information (the Vietnamese believe in ghosts; hence Holly's dreadful nights). The Margolies family has now settled into reasonable harmony, jarred by predictable resentments and rivalries but held together by increasing trust. Margolies and Gruber have done well by these events; they play down opportunities for humanitarian posturings and self-congratulation, and don't try to impart the last degree of polish to Margolies' unpresuming reconstruction. Many people will have been introduced to this story by prior NBC coverage.

Pub Date: Jan. 16th, 1975
Publisher: Coward, McCann & Geoghegan