Thursday, May 14, 2009

adoption book review: One Small Boat

Kathy Harrison and her husband, Bruce, have been foster parents nearly a hundred children in Massachusetts. In 1996 they were named Massachusetts Foster Parents of the Year, and in 2002, they received the Goldie Rogers Award. They are the parents of six children, three by birth, and three by adoption.

One Small Boat is Kathy Harrison’s second book. In this book, she tells the story of Daisy, who was five years old when she came to live in the Harrison household. Unlike most of the foster children they took in, Daisy was the child of an affluent family, but her mother was unable to understand how to care for a child. The effects of this abandonment, and the ineffectual parenting Daisy had received were heart wrenching. Anxiety and fear were Daisy’s constant companions. Her hair was thin enough that her scalp showed through in several places. She was emaciated and her eyes were sunk into her skull. Her nose was always running. She was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, ADHD, generalized anxiety disorder, multiple phobias and ODD. She could hardly eat; she spun around in circles and flapped her hands. She had a severe speech impediment. It didn’t take long under Kathy’s loving care, however, before Daisy began to thrive.

Kathy soon began to be taken with Daisy’s survival spirit and innocence in spite of all the things she had been through, and her love for her grew. When it was clear after a year and a half that Daisy would not be returning to her mother, Kathy began to make plans to adopt her. However, her plans were interrupted when social services managed to locate Daisy’s father, who had been absent from her life since babyhood. After breaking up with Daisy’s mother, her father had thought it best for Daisy if he dropped out of her life. He then married and had a couple of children with his wife. When he learned how things had worked out for Daisy, he wanted to take her into his family.

Brokenhearted, but wanting the best for Daisy, Kathy bravely learns to release her and help her bond with her father and stepmother.

This is a fairly short (201 pages) sweet and inspiring book to read. It’s one that helped heal my own heart after giving back a much loved foster child of my own recently. I highly recommend this book to anyone who fosters or is considering foster parenting. See link on the left side of this page to view and/or purchase this book.

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