If you never had any experience with the USA foster system this book will be startling. If like me you have volunteered in the system or been entangled for another reason than it will be uplifting. Andrew Bridge was placed in foster care as a child and stayed in the system for 11 years. I was a volunteer with the San Diego Voices For Children CASA program and it was both a wonderful and heartbreaking experience.
One particularly memorable moment from my time as a foster care volunteer stands out in my mind. I had the privilege to hear a panel of teens who were or had been in the system, share their experiences. A bright young woman shared the most amazingly simple words of wisdom when an audience member asked what foster families can do to make the system better. She replied that foster families MUST acknowledged that this new child has a family who is a large part of them. They may not be the best parents or provide the healthiest environment, but they share a bond. This is exactly what Andrew writes about in his memoir.
This book was so engaging that I finished it in two days. Like many foster youth he was sent to a center that held mass amounts of youth, but unlike many foster stories somehow Andrew was sent to live and remained in a single home for the majority of his time. This wasn’t the most loving home at times it seems quite unhealthy, but somehow he survived and thrived. He grew up and found a career that has helped countless other foster youth. I was so curious to find out what would happen to this boy. Would he be safe? Would he be damaged from the system? Would he ever see his mom again? Could he keep hope for a happy ending alive?
I highly recommend this book for anyone who is concerned about or works with youth, teachers, parents, and those considering foster parenting or adoption. He gives you a look into the private life of a young boy who becomes a man that creates great positive change. His story is at times sad, but ultimately uplifting. Pass this post on with your friends and family. Buy this book! Learn more at HopesBoy.com.
On a personal note, I have wanted to be a foster parent for over half of my life and this want has never dimmed. I took to heart what I learned that night along with all I continue to learn with my other foster s system related volunteering. I know it will not be easy and I have no expectations from whomever I am lucky enough to provide a safe home for, but I know that this is part of my future. All children deserve to feel love.
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