The God-Sent Child: The Bitter Adoption of Baby David


426 pages
ISBN 0-670-85620-7
DDC 362.7'34'097123





Reviewed by Patricia Fenton

Patricia Fenton is chair of the Adoption Council of Ontario.


This true story, by award-winning author Kim Westad, is a detailed
account of the battle between Teena Sawan, a Native teenage mother, and
Fay and Jim Tearoe, the adoptive parents, over custody of Teena’s
blond-haired, blue-eyed child.

Teena, who grew up in foster care in Alberta, is poor, and has a
history of alcohol abuse, gave birth to a baby boy, tried to parent him,
and then placed him with the Tearoes, a white, middle-class, Christian
B.C. family, in a private adoption. A few days later she changed her
mind about the adoption and informed the adoptive parents and the
authorities that she wanted her baby back. The Tearoes refused to comply
with her wishes, and a court battle ensued.

Although public opinion generally supported the final outcome (the
Tearoes retained custody), Westad’s well-written account illustrates
the complexity of the case and raises interesting questions about the
interplay of social class, racism, the courts system, provincial
adoption legislation, and social service agencies in determining the


Westad, Kim., “The God-Sent Child: The Bitter Adoption of Baby David,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 21, 2024,