Tuesday, July 14, 2009


When Ashley Rhodes was about three years old, the Florida Department of Human Services determined her mother unfit, and took custody of Ashley and her younger brother. The two children spent the next ten years bouncing from foster home to foster home. Some of the situations were passable, several, however, were absolutely horrific. In one particularly unbearable situation, Ashley lived in a trailer, approved for two children, with eleven other foster children. The children were made to drink hot sauce or crawl around the dirt backyard on their knees for punishment.

When Ashley was about twelve, she was adopted by Gay and Phil Courter. Gay and Phil had already raised two biological sons. When they survived the crash of a private plane, they decided they had been left on Earth to do something special. They adopted Ashley and took on all of the complications of life with a child who had never experience a normal, loving home (not to mention all of the regular teenage issues).

I adopted my sons out of the foster care system when they were seven and nine. Although I had known my boys for several years, nothing prepared me for the length of the adjustment period, or for the depth of the heartache they had gone through. I wish this book had been available to me, then, because I think it would have made our journey a lot easier. This memoir is a must read for anyone involved with children in the foster care system.

"Broken promises crippled me for many years. As the Courters kept their promises to me, my faith in others were expanded. Day after day, they were there for me; until one day, I not only felt safe, I did not want to leave. Maybe that is one definition of love" (p. 289).


Laura Lynn Benson said...

I need to read this book. Many blessings here at Cambridge...but we got pretty beat up, too. Sounds like reading this will be good medicine to help me put everything back into perspective. You are such a lighthouse to the books my soul needs.
Love 'ya xoxoxo

Mary Lee said...

How on earth did this book find you (or you find it)? Sounds like it was a hard but important read.

You chose the hardest kind of parenting and you do it with such grace and determination. Your boys are blessed to have you as their mother.

Matthew Tripp said...
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