When most of us think of Christian missionaries, or other sorts of crusading do-gooders, we envision people who are squeaking by on the bare minimum because their charity work takes up all of their time and resources. We don’t immediately think of Ivy-league educated, mega-wealthy couples, who helm financially successful corporations. But maybe we should– doesn’t it make quite a bit of sense to become as financially successful as possible if your ultimate goal is to change the world? The unpleasant reality is that changing the world costs money…lots of money. Get Money, Do Good follows Jodi and Garry Vermaas across the world as they adopt children from China, the Philippines, and India; as they advocate for educational opportunities for these children and for their biological son who has autism; and as they fund missions to serve forgotten populations in places like India and Haiti.
The opportunity to review a book like this is unique for Lit Buzz, as we typically focus on fiction submissions…we get quite a few sassy romances, paranormal love stories, and various feel-good chick lit tales sent our way. And while I love sassy vampire love triangles, there is something uniquely satisfying and inspirational in reading about a family’s quest to truly live the values of servant leadership, and to change the world one forgotten child at a time. This story spoke to me as an adoptive parent (they aren’t kidding in the book, adoption is expensive!!), as a former educator (we really do underserve children who need ESOL and ESE services in far too many instances), and simply as a person who gets discouraged every time I watch the news and see all of the evil in the world.
What surprised me the most during the adoption process was how vulnerable I felt as I wrote down every detail and nuance of our personal, professional, and financial lives. In the eyes of the social worker and the people who had to confirm our employment, character, faith, health, and intentions, I felt utterly exposed. — Dr. Jodi Vermaas
Dr. Vermaas does an excellent job of presenting the facts and frustrations involved with international adoption, of living in foreign countries that are not necessarily pro-American, and of dealing with the judgement that comes from having children who misbehave (sometimes spectacularly) and a family in which everyone does not look the same. She never becomes preachy, and never levels shame on those who choose to ignore all of the injustices in the world; yet at the same time she inspires a silent introspection and yearning to get out of one’s comfort zone and to do something to address those injustices. I also enjoyed the fact that we see the work the Vermaas family is doing not only from Jodi’s perspective, but also from that of her husband Garry, from their biological son Garret, and from one of their adopted daughters.
Get Money, Do Good will take you on a journey: the journey of the ever-growing Vermaas family, and a journey through your own global perspectives and prejudices. It’s a different kind of book, not able to be neatly categorized as just a memoir, or just a how-to book…it is something more than that. Give it a read, and then figure out what you can do to change the world!
Barnes & Noble