"Sunshine, you're my baby and I'm your only mother. You must mind the one taking care of you, but she's not your mama." Ashley Rhodes-Courter spent nine years of her life in fourteen different foster homes, living by those words. As her mother spirals out of control, Ashley is left clinging to an unpredictable, dissolving relationship, all the while getting pulled deeper and deeper into the foster care system.
Painful memories of being taken away from her home quickly become consumed by real-life horrors, where Ashley is juggled between caseworkers, shuffled from school to school, and forced to endure manipulative,humiliating treatment from a very abusive foster family. In this inspiring, unforgettable memoir, Ashley finds the courage to succeed - and in doing so, discovers the power of her own voice.
In this engrossing memoir, college senior Rhodes-Courter chronicles her hardscrabble childhood in foster care, detailing glitches in the system and infringements of laws that led to a string of unsuitable and sometimes nightmarish placements for her and her younger half-brother, Luke. Using a matter-of-fact tone at times laced with bitterness, the author recounts how she was wrenched away from her teenage mother at age three and was later removed from her unstable grandfather's home to live in cramped quarters with strangers. She acknowledges that there may have been legitimate reasons for her and Luke's placement in foster care but pointedly criticizes the manner in which she was repeatedly uprooted. She also blames the ineptitude of social workers who, more often than not, acted as advocates for foster parents rather than the children they were assigned to protect. The girl's frequent moves and sporadic mental and physical abuse left emotional scars that affected her even after she was adopted by a loving family (the "three little words" that change her life are her guarded consent to legal adoption, "I guess so"). The author's ability to form intelligent, open-minded conclusions about her traumatic childhood demonstrates her remarkable control and insight, and although there are plenty of wrenching moments, she succeeds not in attracting pity but in her stated intention, of drawing attention to the children who currently share the plight that she herself overcame. Ages 14-up.
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Well Ashley has final y found love and has a Family
three little words
I never read a book from cover to cover in one setting. However, Ashley Rhodes wrote about her life story in such a manner that I was riveted to find out how she survives it. What an inspiration and a motivation to help the children in this country who are first neglected or abused by the people who gave them life and then by people who are pretending to help them only for their own personal gain or to take out frustrations of the past on the innocent children.
This book is AMAZING. I am so moved by hearing her story. I am a CWS (CPS) social worker and truly work very hard to ensure my part in a child's memory is as positive as possible (given the circumstances). Ashley's story has taught me A LOT and has made me want to implement some of my practices very differently. Her story is very real and so accurately represents problems with the system. So, touching and a MUST read.