Thursday, May 14, 2009

fostering book review: Another Place at the Table by Kathy Harrison

As a foster/adopt mother, this is by far my favorite book on the subject. Kathy Harrison conveys the emotions, the joys and sorrows that come from fostering children, and adopting some of them so very well. She is certainly experienced, having fostered nearly one hundred children. In 1996, she and her husband were named Massachusetts Foster Parents of the year, and in 2002, they received the Goldie Foster Award. She and her husband have three biological children, and three adopted children.

The book begins by telling us a little about their life before, and how they adopted their first two daughters. It then goes into their lives after they became foster parents, and tells the stories of Karen, the daughter they adopted from foster care and several other children who lived in their home at that time. It’s an unabashed view of the fascinating, heartbreaking world of foster care – something most people don’t really understand. With the foster care system under so much fire because of abuse and mistakes, this book shows that there are dedicated foster parents who literally save children’s lives, and who love what they are doing.

This book details the fear of the children who come into a foster home on the worst day of their lives. It shows the heartbreak of children whose parents don’t know how to care for them. It shows the fear of a foster mother who grows to love a foster child with a fierce love, and then has to watch them go back to a less than desirable situation. It shows how a foster mother prepares a child to go to a new adoptive home.

Many situations of the life of a foster family are covered in this book, dealing with social workers in and out of your home, the effect it has on your own biological family, the ‘labor’ you go through when you decide to adopt one of your foster children. It tells how this family manages clothes, toys and rooms. It shows what it is like to deal with the biological family of the child. It’s not a sugar coated version, but shows how hard it can be to care for damaged children.

This is a spell binding book, one I have read more than once. I would highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in actually doing foster care, or who loves someone who does. Click the link under recommended books to look at or purchase this book.

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