Oh, this book is so sad. It has a happy ending, and a good message, and hopefully will spur some change within the foster system, but it still made me so, so sad.
“I journeyed alone for almost ten years before I found home. Adoptions are like very delicate gardening with transplants and grafts. Mine took hold, rooted, and bloomed, even though there were inevitable adjustments to the new soil and climate. Yet I have not forgotten where my roots started.”
Ashley Rhodes entered foster care at the age of 3. For years, she bounced around the system, falling through the cracks (she actually legally went missing at one point because the proper paperwork was not filed for her), and enduring some truly horrible homes. Her little brother, Luke, was with her on and off during this time. While they both eventually get adopted, it’s a frustrating and difficult process. It takes Ashley years to learn to fully trust her new parents. But they’re there by her side, even when she decides she wants to press charges against the most abusive couple that kept her.
It broke my heart how much Ashley went through, and still goes through, all because her mother could not get her life together. She flits in and out of Ashley’s story, and just crushes her over and over again. My husband has gone through that for years with his own mother, and he still can’t emotionally break that tie. It’s hard to watch. I also hated to see how Ashley treated her brother, although I understand how she felt — she thought her troubles could be blamed on Luke, who acted out and made things difficult. So she turned away from him, too. Makes me sniffle just thinking about that poor little boy, so confused and without even his sister to help.
Ashley has grown into an accomplished young lady, and fights for changes within the foster system. She’s obviously very bright, and the book is well written. She’s also honest — she admits her mistakes, and does not gloss over her own behavior. It’s a hard read, but a good one.