I have had more than a dozen so-called mothers in my life. Lorraine Rhodes gave birth to me. Gay Courter adopted me. Then there are the fillers.
Ashley Rhodes-Courter spent nearly a decade in foster care after her mother was deemed unfit by the State to care for her and Ashley’s younger brother, Luke. Ashley bounced around between foster homes from ages three to twelve, sometimes with her brother and sometimes alone. She found some stability with her maternal grandfather’s girlfriend, Adele, but the instability caused by her grandfather ruined the placement. The most harrowing experience was her time with Marjorie Moss, who she eventually took to court, a sadist woman who ran an abusive, overcrowded foster home.
Ashley moved into The Children’s Home of Tampa after several foster homes fell through. She was adopted by Gay and Phil Courter, film makers who watched Ashley during events held by The Children’s Home, an older couple with two adult boys. She had a tenuous relationship with her adoptive mother, mostly out of loyalty to her birth mother but probably not helped by teenage hormones.
Ashley has used her experiences to advocate for other foster children. She uses her memoir to shine a light on some of the injustices foster children face, particularly the children who fall through the cracks. She has performed a lot of key note speeches through the Dave Thomas foundation and even met then President Clinton. She’s an impressive young woman (this book was written when she was only 22) and recently wrote a follow up memoir that I’m anxious to seek out.