5 Stars Out Of 5
Awesome example of God's love in action
March 23, 2014
This book is quite simply summed up in this statement from the book: "It's all about family-being there for each other, giving each other space to heal, and believing in the value of each and every person." pg. 4
But it's not just a book to read, we are all called to do something. What can I do?
"Pray for this courageous couple and then ask God how He wants to use you. Not everyone is called to adopt or foster, but we are all called to do something...one starfish at a time!" pg. 4
Dana wants a child but her dear hubby, Allan, , father already of 3, says no. She begins praying and a year almost to the date he is ready to add to the family, and they decide to look into adoption. Thus begins this incredible journey.
The children begin to arrive:
1. Aimee 16 months old- shaken baby syndrome, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, exposed to drugs most of her time in the womb, bi-racial
2. Hailee 6 weeks old-shaken between 4th-5th week of life, offered for adoption at 7 months by social worker but changed her mind at 16 months after a disagreement over theraphy and contacted grandparents and they were given custody, immediately.
"We have never heard anything about her since, although we continue to contact the grandparents to ask for pictures and for an update." pg 26
3. Jack Frost 3 months-36 broken bones, shaken baby, needed to see a pediatric gastroenterologist, neurologist, neurosurgeon, orthopedic surgeon, physical therapist, ophthalmologist, pediatrician, immediate brain surgery after developing water/fluid on his brain from being shaken not once, but twice in the same week, cerebral palsy, vision issues, psychiatrist and two counselors
4&5. sisters 15 months Tanisia (Tawnee)-only stopped crying when held, serious, clingy, unhappy much of the time, needed physical and emotional play theraphy, beaten in face just prior to arriving, Reactive Attachment Disorder but PTL is now atttached to both parents
3 month old Taylor-young when she arrived so no ill affects of the violence or attachment issues, enjoys being the youngest in the family
6. Evelyn 17 years-foster daughter of friends who babysat when needed, was to age out of foster care and had been couch surfing no place to call home, they offered her a place in theirs and she accepted immediately.
"EVERYONE needs a family, regardless of their age. The tragedy of children aging out of foster care in this country without any family or mentors who will be there for them is overwhelming." pg. 42
7. Jasmine 20 years old-Evelyn's older sister
8. Hanna 22 years from Ethiopia-managed guest home, speaks English and Amharic, goal: become more educated in USA then return to work in Ethiopia, she could live with and obtain degree, tried everything but kept getting blocked but 3 years later Hanna did arrive, married and moved to Tennessee for job opportunities
"It has been a long, difficult struggle, but it is definitely worth it to have Hanna home." pg. 60
9. Cassandre 16 year old high school sophmore-orphaned in Haiti at birth, dropped off at hospital between day 1-3 of life, lived with nurse for first five years to be adopted by friends in USA, sexually assaulted at 4, removed and placed in another family where she was not treated well, and often went without food, dumpster diving to eat. At 8.5 she was adopted and moved to USA but all so new: language, culture, family. The family did speak Creole. Father died, never welcomed by mom and at age 13 mom voluntarily terminated parental rights and Cassandre was placed in foster care.
"...did not want to 'age out' of foster care. She wanted to be adopted before she left high school." pg. 65
10. Keyunda(Kiki) 17 year old foster sister, disappeared and after turning 18 called and wanted to join family, and pregnant, lived with grandmother from only 3 weeks on, mom was on drugs and Kiki had drug withdrawals as baby, born addicted, at 14 grandma died and she went into foster care, met her mom at 16, never heard from her again
11. Callee 9 years old-entered foster care at 3 with severe lead poisoning, intellectually disabled, autistic, about 18 months-2 years delay academically, receptive-expressive language delay, play theraphy, inhome therapist, learning to relate to others, most likely sexually abused
12. Ciara- severely neglected as a child, domestic violence, in foster care since age 10 but still difficult time disconnecting from birth family, verbally abusive, physically violent, on occasion given false reports to authorities resulting in removal from family. Now 19, "we are realistic enough to know that she may never be able to truly bond and live within a family."pg. 82
13. Rebekah-entered foster care at 8, several mental health hospital and residential care centers, lower than average IQ, exposed to domestic violence, lack of care, giving anything she wanted, particularly food so overweight, emotional age of 8 year old, struggles with symptoms of Reactive Attachment Disorder and is 'stuck' at a younger age emotionally.
14. Justice-Callee's little sister, nomadic life, full of domestic violence, from birth until just before third birthday.placed in foster care which led to nine month battle to get her, aggressive behaviour, goes after older kids with no qualms or to get her own way, very almarming, in trauma art and play theraphy
15. Nichole 17 years old-neglected by an alchoholic mother and drug addicted father, propositioned at 12 or 13 by one of mom's boyfriends. Didn't go to school from about 12 on. Smoked at 6, drank beer at 12, became alcoholic, raped at 13 while drugged, went from special school to being caught up and on on honor role by sophomore year birth family able to parent-NOT! sophomore in high school, nowhere to live, no school to go to, or transportation
Some will say that people that people foster and adopt for the money, notoriety. With each of these children and their needed therapies, nothing is covered by the agencies it all falls on the parents to take care of it. Sadly many never receive the needed services.
Besides this, it is not only dealing with the children and their needs that can be overwhelming and frustrating but also the social workers, directors, etc. that may not always put the children's needs first.
I grew up in a family of 9 children, and my mom took in 29 children, and I recall hearing some of the stories she would share. She finally decided after one father whom was let out of jail showed up on our door with his mom, who had the rights to visit her grandson, and was disgusted to see his 'black boy' being raised by 'white folks'. He said he would get his son back or he would burn down our house. After having recently lost not only our family home but a child she gave this toddler of 3, back to the agency and gave up fostering. It is not a job for those whom don't have a heart for it, and as I read this wonderful story of love, was reminded of times in our house with some of the children whom passed through. Even one child, does make a difference.
"The boy scooped up the next starfish, threw it into the sea, and said, "It made a difference to that one! And that one!" as he continued throwing them back into the sea." pg. 6
I would highly recommend this book to anyone considering fostering/adoption and for anyone whom just wants a true story of God's love in action today.
I was given this book by bookfun.org and Fred St. Laurent in exchange for an honest review.