The Girl in the Orange Dress: Searching for a Father Who Does Not Fail, By Margot Starbuck

The Girl in the Orange Dress

Searching for a Father Who Does Not Fail

by Margot Starbuck

The Girl in the Orange Dress
  • Length: 201 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.25 in
  • Published: May 22, 2009
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: 3627
  • ISBN: 9780830836277

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"Chosen." "Special." Those are the words Margot Starbuck used to describe herself as a child adopted into a loving family. And when her adoptive parents divorced, her dad moved east, and her mom and dad each got remarried, she told herself that she was extra loved, since she had more than two parents and people in different times zones who cared about her.

But the word she really believed about herself was rejected. First by her birthparents. Then by her adoptive father-when he moved away. Then by her stepfather. Then by her birthfather a second time, when she tried to invite him into her life.

Most of all, Margot felt rejected by God the Father, who she also suspected could not be trusted. Margot's story begins with a woman looking for her biological father. But it doesn't end when she finds him. Instead, his rejection punctures her soul and sends her on a different search--one that leads to a different Father. This Father did not just "sacrifice a son" like the parents she knew, but instead gave his own life out of love for her.

Maybe you've been disappointed and wounded by parents who divorced, left, were abusive, or simply weren't there. Enter into Margot's story. She has been where you are. She knows the pain you carry. And her journey can lead you to the God who nurtures, protects and always says, "I am for you."

"Simply put, this is a brilliant book. Beautifully written, it's a must-read for all of us who realize our deepest longing is for a true experience of our real Father. Don't miss this book!"

Paula Rinehart, author of Strong Women, Soft Hearts and Better Than My Dreams

"Will this book be made into a movie? A TV series? A graphic novel? Well, it oughta. Margot Starbuck's story has legs, and it'll captivate anyone who has a chance to hear it, in whatever way they can. Her easygoing style spins this unique yarn into an every(wo)man tale that can speak to us all."

Patton Dodd, senior editor,, and author of My Faith So Far

"Starbuck gets it—what many fail to understand about how much it hurts to lose your parents at birth. Being relinquished, that is, given away, and then taken by others can be a core injury to the developing human heart. In her early years, Starbuck denies it, then fights it, then feels it. She negotiates the troubled waters of sorrow and 'second rejection' suffering when Max, her father by birth, says 'No' instead of 'Hello.' Finally, she rests her heart in the Lord's care and discovers her deepest identity in Jesus Christ. Lightly and delightfully written, this autobiography is a great read for those who want to understand more about the agony of abandonment and the joy of belonging."

Ronald Nydam, Ph.D., author of Adoptees Come of Age

"With this book, Margot Starbuck unleashes her new, very welcome voice. She narrates the Christian spiritual life with winsome humor and (occasionally scary) honesty. Pretty much every woman I know will be getting The Girl in the Orange Dress for her birthday."

Lauren F. Winner, author of Girl Meets God

"The desire for a father who sees, knows, hears and loves us is the quintessential longing in every girl's heart. In The Girl in the Orange Dress, Margot Starbuck chronicles her own search for a Father who doesn't fail her, and the good news is she lands us right in the heart of God: the one who accepts us and never fails us. Thank you, Margot, for sharing your journey and reminding us once again that he is the only one that can truly fill our longing for 'perfect' on earth."

Jennifer Strickland, speaker and author of Girl Perfect: Confessions of a Former Runway Model (

"This is a story hard to put down. It is a fascinating read. Margot's ability to capture the essence of the search—not just for her biological father, but ultimately for her heavenly Father—is intriguing, unique and most of all—real. Throughout the book, I felt like a fellow traveler, quietly joining in her journey . . . encouraging her on. This book is a must-read for anyone who might find themselves on a similar search—one of a lifetime."

Jayne Schooler, author of The Whole Life Adoption Book

"A lovely journey through family, failure and friendships to finally find a Father who does not fail. Sure to charm and challenge all spiritually minded seekers and sojourners."

Patricia Raybon, author of I Told the Mountain to Move

"Margot Starbuck takes us on a lovely and challenging journey, searching for herself, her family and her faith along the way."

Shauna Niequist, author of Cold Tangerines

"I haven't felt this much emotion from a memoir since reading Angela's Ashes. Outrage, grief, joy and humor mingle together in Margot Starbuck's book, drawing the reader into her experiences in a way that leaves one feeling neither like judge nor voyeur, just a friend on the journey. Humbly honest, graciously hilarious, evocative, The Girl in the Orange Dress is for anyone who needs to know, really needs to know, how much God loves his children."

Lisa Samson, award-winning author of Quaker Summer, Justice in the Burbs and The Church Ladies

"Maybe you've been disappointed and wounded by parents who divorced, left, were abusive, or simply weren't there. Enter into Margot's story. She has been where you are. She knows the pain you carry. And her journey can lead you to the God who nurtures, protects, and always says, 'I am for you.'"

Youth Christian Education Leadership, Spring 2010

"The Girl in the Orange Dress is not an indictment against fathers. Starbuck's evolving relationship with God is, like our own, worthy of exploration and sharing. As with most life lessons, the learning never stops. I look forward to the next installment of her life."

Michel L. Tisdale, National Catholic Reporter, July 9, 2010

"Starbuck's skillful writing, her courageous honesty about her own pain, and her good natured willingness to laugh at her own youthful foolishness will endear her to readers. Anyone interested in issues related to adoption will welcomet his book. Highly recommended."

Monica Tenney, Congregational Libraries Today

"In this bittersweet memoir, Starbuck displays a refreshingly quirky sense of humor as she chronicles her search for human connection and divine love."

Sandy Swartzentruber, The Banner, November 2009

"With a delightful fresh voice and remarkable insights, Starbuck draws readers into her story as she journeys toward the healing the only comes through a Father's love."

Kris Wilson, CBA Retailers + Resources, July 2009

"Margot Starbuck is one heckuva great writer, a breezy, witty gal who will be (or ought to be) compared to Donald Miller (Blue Like Jazz) and Lauren Winner (Girl Meets God). This is a fun book, and, I think, it is an important one. Whether you have, know someone who has had, experience with adoption, or know adopted kids or foster parents or have divorced parents in your extended circle of family and friends, or a clay-footed father, knowing we are beloved and accepted by a God who is there for us--is of extraordinary significance. [A] beautiful gift for anyone, a perfect kind of book because it is easy to read, a bit lighthearted (no, it is downright funny) and yet packs a notable punch, in the story-line, the sheer emotions it conjures, and in the theological truth it conveys."

Hearts and Minds Books blog, July 2009


1 My Perfect Childhood
2 Dumpster Diving and Other Social Disasters
3 Love Child
4 Sleuthing Around
5 Welcome to Oz
6 One Wily Emotion Chip
7 Looking for Love in Too Many Faces
8 Stranded in a Scorpion Desert
9 Claimed by the Good Tribe
10 God's Cool Tatoo


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Margot Starbuck

Margot Starbuck is a writer and speaker who cares deeply about what it means to follow Jesus in the sneakers, pumps, or Doc Martens in which we find ourselves. She is passionate about communicating God's great love for the worldinextricably bound to God's love for individualsin print and in speech. Margot studied art at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. At the beach and in dorm rooms, she began to notice the bind in which women find themselves today, specifically as they're pinched by the culture's insistence on the value of appearances. She was further equipped to process these issues theologically at Princeton Seminary. Today, Margot continues to be energized by the kingdom reality of God's big plan for our bodies which have been called good.