Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Three Little Words: A Memoir by Ashley Rhodes-Courter

Ashley Rhodes-Courter was Ashley Rhodes, living in the United States’ foster care system from the age of three until her adoption at age 12. Her mom was not the best of mothers, a teenager who was arrested for passing a check stolen by her boyfriend. Her mother’s arrest precipitated Ashley’s entrance into foster care in Florida, and even though her mother was released, she was declared too destitute to get her children back, Ashley and Ashley’s half brother Luke. Ashley gives us her memories of different placements, which include an interlude of some months leaving Florida to live with her maternal grandfather and his girlfriend in South Carolina. While the girlfriend gives both children loving care, the grandfather has issues with violence and alcohol which eventually cause Ashley and Luke to go back to foster care. Altogether, Ashley lives in nine different placements, sometimes with and sometimes without her brother. Through Ashley’s eyes, you see even well-meaning case workers making no attempt to explain developments to a child in the system, and see some foster parents working the system for their own benefit, including one foster “mother” enjoying punishing both physically and mentally the children entrusted to her care. When children want to get help in these situations, they are often afraid to speak for fear of retribution by the foster parents. I especially liked Ashley’s account of her adoption and subsequent developments with her adoptive family. Written ten years after being adopted, her straightforward narration of her struggles to adapt to a secure situation speaks for itself and gives unique insight into her emotional adjustment.

1 comment:

Chloe said...

If it was ashley who put this up i want to say i cannot believe that you had to live w/ that!i mean sometimes i would remind myself 'this is real' to not think that this was all made up! i hnestly do not like the mosses they dont seem very nice i mean abuse is horrible and then they let you stay w/ them! i loved your book and am happy you found a GOOD home:) i almost cried when i read it. i am only 11 aand i hate the fact that people hit there children molest even murder!i never want to be like that! if you ever see mandy tell her that i feel very very very sorry she got adopted by the mosses :)