When I first started hanging out with my friend E (who has herself adopted from foster care and is studying to become a child case worker), I asked her if there were any books she could recommend for me to read that would be helpful in understanding adoption. She immediately recommended this one. It took me a while before I got around to reading it, but once I started, I couldn’t put it down.
Three Little Words is a memoir written by a young girl who was taken into care at the age of three, and stayed there for nine years, while travelling through fourteen foster care placements. (I’d like to tell you that her story is a rare exception, but sadly, that’s not the case.) She was separated from siblings in one placement, then reunited with them in another, only to be separated from them once again. For those not familiar with foster care, some of her story could be quite shocking. Even though this was not the first tragic story I had heard, the one entry that still took me aback was found at the end of the book.
When I reviewed the spreadsheet that listed everyone in South Carolina and Florida who had been responsible for my case, I was amazed by how many there were. I counted:
73 child welfare administrators
44 child welfare caseworkers
19 foster parents
17 psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists
5 Guardian ad Litem staff
4 court personnel
3 abuse registry workers
2 primary caseworkers
1 Guardian ad Litem
To see it all written and tallied like that, really puts it into perspective. It reinforces their feelings of instability due to the constant rotation of people these children experience in their lives.
That said, this book was not a wholly depressing recollection. Sad, infuriating, and heartbreaking at times, yes. Absolutely. But there were also bright spots in her journey where people advocated for her and attempted to make a difference in her young life. Eventually, the ending sees the bright spot become a constant glow, instead of succumbing to darkness time and time again.
Ashley Rhodes-Courter’s ability to convey her feelings and thoughts in a child like manner, give you an insightful look into why children in care sometimes act out. It helps one to understand why they sometimes look to sabotage their chances at a forever family that they so desperately need and want. Her account of her experience in care will penetrate further, and with more meaning than a clinical textbook explanation will. I know this story will resonnate with me forever, and will always be accelerant to my desire to speak out about helping children in foster care.
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I’m recommending you go grab yourself a copy sooner than later. 😉
*Disclaimer* I was not supplied a copy of this book, or given any other form of reimbursement in exchange for this review, from the author, or anyone affiliated with this publication.