Finding My Son by Eric Odell-Hein: Author Interview
About the Book
Book: Finding My Son
Author: Eric Odell-Hein
Genre: Christian Memoir, Adoption
Release Date: February 21, 2018
Eric was perfectly happy being one half of a dual income, no kids family. Having the freedom to travel the world with his wife Christine, while indulging his hobbies and furthering his education and career, was a pretty sweet life.
Christine wanted to be a mom.
Though he was scared he didn’t have what it took to be a good dad, Eric wanted to fulfill his wife’s dream. After years of trying to conceive, however, the couple received a devastating diagnosis: infertility.
For Christine, adoption was the obvious answer. Eric wasn’t so sure.
In Finding My Son: A Father’s Adoption Journey, author Eric Odell-Hein offers an unfiltered view into the heart and mind of a man who has experienced the sometimes messy and often awkward process of becoming a father through adoption. Encouraging men to acknowledge the fears they don’t want to admit while advocating a thoughtful, deliberate transparency as the best approach to even the most unnatural, uncomfortable aspects of the adoption process. Eric shares his misgivings and mistakes with an honesty that does not deny his insecurities.
A valuable resource for any man considering growing his family through adoption—or anyone seeking to understand the process—this engaging memoir is a testament to the beautiful gift of adoption and a touching account of a father’s love.
Click here to get your copy!
How does writing non-fiction affect you personally?
In writing Finding My Son, it was the first time I had gone back through my entire life and pieced together the events, experiences, and emotions that made me who I am as a husband and a father. It was valuable to identify and tie together the various cords that have shaped me. My hope is that by transparently and authentically sharing my journey (both the good and bad), other prospective adoptive parents will find points of commonality that will help them as they go on their own journey. My other non-fiction books are more academic in nature, and the years of research and writing helps me to organize and clarify my thoughts, which yields benefit far beyond just writing.
Are there books you want to write, but can’t (for one reason or another)?
My academic passion is the ancient Near Eastern context for the Bible, and I have been slowly working on a novel that introduces ANE cultural context to readers of fiction. The general story follows a Hittite youth as he grows up and his journeys take him through the ANE and eventually up to Hallstatt (a scenic town in Austria), which in real life is the first anthropologically identified Celtic culture. The challenge for me is reconciling my academic nature and studies with historical fiction. How can I use this story to roughly teach about the Indo-European migration (which took place over a long period of time) and introduce ANE context for scriptures without violating academic precision? I find myself crippled with maintaining academic honesty while trying to create a work of fiction. It’s all self-imposed criticism and concern, but it’s been difficult for me to work through it.
If you’ve written more than one book, which one is your favorite?
That’s such a tough question to answer! Finding My Son is very personal and tells about the most important event in my life: becoming a father through adoption. Systems of Evil is an academic resource based on the work that earned my Ph.D., so I love it because of the academic achievement it represents. But Recovering Lost Treasure is the book that is closest to my heart and passion. It is my attempt to bring academic research to a popular level and provide meaning and insight into the Scriptures. As modern-day people, we are so far removed from the cultural and religious context of the people who lived during the times the books of the Bible were written, and we miss so much of the incredible richness, symbolism, and meaning that was readily apparent to the ancient people. If I could only do one thing the rest of my life, it would be to teach this concept. I’ve just started on the second edition of this book, so I guess I’d have to say it is my favorite.
What do you like to read?/What books are on your nightstand at the moment?
I am currently switching between two books, one non-fiction and the other fiction. For non-fiction, I’m reading Israel in Egypt: The Evidence for the Authenticity of the Exodus Tradition, by James K. Hoffmeier. For fiction, I’ve just started on the series of books that the TV show The Expanse is based on. Currently I’m on book two in the series, which is called Caliban’s War, by James S.A. Corey.
In general I will devour anything written by Dr. Michael Heiser. I’ve read everything he’s published so far, and I’m anxiously awaiting his next release, which I think is coming in March. If you ever read any non-fiction besides my books, give Heiser a try.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love learning, and I am constantly reading non-fiction and increasing my store of knowledge. I listen to the Naked Bible Podcast (no, that’s not what it sounds like), and my family has gotten used to getting the car and hearing the podcast come on. I also love to travel and visit sites of ancient religious significance. I was once on a trip with my brother-in-law, and upon visiting the Dom zu Salzburg, I spied an old baptismal with religious cosmogonic symbols and stories from the Bible etched on the cover, and I instantly geeked out and started lecturing on the importance of water symbolism in the ancient Near East. Yeah, I’m that guy. As a family, we love to play video games together, and Minecraft is always being played by someone somewhere in the house. My son and I love to end our day by watching funny videos together.
About the Author
Eric Odell-Hein (PhD, MDiv, MRS, ThB) is the president of Columbia Evangelical Seminary. The teaching pastor at Summit Evangelical Free Church, he is also the author of Recovering Lost Treasure: Finding Christ in Ancient Myth, Symbol, and Ritual and Systems of Evil: A Study in Comparative Theodicy. Eric lives in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with his wife Christine and their son Ephraim. All three are passionate travelers.
More from Eric
Adoption was a scary prospect for me. My mother and all her siblings are adopted, and the family dynamic for them was challenging. So when my wife decided we should adopt, I initially responded with a flat-out “no.” But my heart changed, and I am strongly convinced that our son, who joined us via adoption back in 2008 when he was just two days old, is the greatest child in the entire world. If you knew where I was emotionally prior to adoption compared with where I am now, you would marvel at the change. My adoption book is for people like me, particularly men, who struggle with the enormity of the choice to adopt and the constant challenges of the process.
On a lighter and more personal side, when people learn about all the various aspects of my life, they often have to stop and process the seemingly incongruous pieces. Some people know me as a guy who has spent more than two decades in software and entertainment, primarily in various aspects of behind-the-scenes video game technology and management. My entire family plays games, and more often than not, when I get back home in the evening, I find my wife and son online with other members of the extended family playing Minecraft. Sometimes we’ll all get in an online session together, each one of us at our own TV on our own Xbox, and take on bad guys together in one game or another.
Other people know my intellectual side, where I have earned several degrees in areas of theology and religion, including a Ph.D., as well as serving as president of Columbia Evangelical Seminary. I previously published two books on academic topics (evil among world religions, religious symbology) and have more in various stages of development, the next one being a focus on the ancient Near Eastern (ANE) cosmogonic/chaos-order symbolism in baptism. As a teaching pastor, I have a reputation for sermons with an intense ANE contextual emphasis that are part sermon and part seminary course. Check out my most recent four-part series on the Odell-Hein Books Facebook page here.
I was born in Germany to an American family, and while my German-language skills have deteriorated, I love German music. I’m very excited that my favorite group, Juli, has a new album coming out later this year. It’s mild stuff compared to most of the rock or industrial music I listen to, but they’re good. Check out the first single from their upcoming album here. I’ll be one of the small handful of Americans who purchase the album on the day it first releases in the US.
When not working or playing games with the family, I read primarily academic ANE books. When we’re in the car, I love to subject the family to my go-to podcast, the Naked Bible Podcast. No, it’s not what it sounds like. If you want to hear a serious scholar tackle the ANE context for the Bible, start with Dr. Michael Heiser’s Exodus series (it begins with episode 255).