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Mummy’s Little Helper – A Foster Care Book Review

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From the Cover of Mummy’s Little Helper by Casey Watson:

“In less than a day Abigail’s whole life had imploded. She’d gone to school expecting to come home again but instead she’d been picked up, told her mother was in hospital and that tonight she would have to sleep somewhere else.

I was used to dealing with kids from bad situations, but it seemed inexplicable that this sweet little girl didn’t have a single other place she could go.”

Grade:

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Transfiguring Adoption awarded this book 4 Hoots out of 5 based on how useful it will be for a foster/adoptive family. [Learn more about our Hoot grading system here]

What Our Family Thought:

Mummy’s Little Helper allows readers a look into the daily life of a professional therapeutic foster home in the United Kingdom. Each of Casey’s (pseudonym) books detail a case study of sorts—the time while a particular child (or children) was in her care. This book tells the story of a child named Abigail, who comes into foster care because it is found that she has been caring for her seriously ill mother and has no one else to look after her while her mother is hospitalized.

Issues dealt with in this book include:

  • Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Child caregiver
  • Birth family conflict
  • False allegations
  • Foster parent investigation

Memoirs by Casey Watson make for lighter reading than parenting books but are very interesting. As caregivers we can glean from the experiences of professional carers like Mrs. Watson. I recommend this book and look forward to reading more of her work.

Buy From Our Links and Support Transfiguring Adoption:

It’s Your Turn:

  1. How is caring for Abigail different than caring for other children typically in foster care?
  2. What did you glean or learn from this book?
  3. How have you had to advocate for a child in your care when you have noticed behaviors or symptoms that indicated a need for further help for the child?
  4. Has your advocacy ever gotten you in trouble?
  5. Have you ever been disciplined or investigated as a foster caregiver? How did you feel during the process?

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Damaged – A Foster Care Book Review

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From the Cover of Damaged: The Heartbreaking True Story of a Forgotten Child by Cathy Glass:

“Cathy Glass had fostered fifty children over twenty years but none of them had been as disturbed as Jodie, a troubled eight-year-old whose violence and aggression had seen off five foster carers in just four months. When Jodie arrived, Cathy had no idea what lay beneath Jodie’s shocking behaviour, which included smearing feces all over the house, erupting into violent rages and even cutting herself. Little by little, as Jodie’s rage was met with patience and understanding, she began to trust Cathy, and to confide the dreadful background which had led to her present torment.

Jodie’s childhood had been an appalling litany of mistreatment and neglect, which should have alerted the numerous social work professionals involved with her case. Jodie’s case file was so big it filled two suitcases, but apparently not one of her social workers had ever read the entire file. If they had, Jodie’s story and her future might have been very different. Finally, in Cathy, Jodie found one adult worthy of her trust, one who could help her begin the process of recovery.”

Grade:

5 hoots out of 5

Transfiguring Adoption awarded this book 5 Hoots out of 5 based on how useful it will be for a foster/adoptive family. [Learn more about our Hoot grading system here]

What I Thought:

Reading Damaged you will likely find yourself wishing this were a work of fiction as Jodie’s case history and experiences seem too vile and heart-rending to be true, but yet we know that children are living lives like hers worldwide on a daily basis. Cathy Glass offers insight into

  • the behaviors caused by sexual abuse which she saw in Jodie,
  • how she handled those behaviors as a caregiver,
  • how Jodie came to trust her and disclose the atrocities she had experienced,
  • how the case progressed,
  • and her own struggle with feelings of failure regarding Jodie’s healing

I have heard from several foster moms that Cathy Glass’ other books are also very well written and enlightening. Other foster caregivers will find encouragement, information, and insight in her books. I look forward to reading more books by Cathy Glass.

Note: This book could be very triggering for someone who has endured sexual abuse.

Buy From Our Links and Support Transfiguring Adoption:

It’s Your Turn:

Be sure to share your thoughts if you’ve read the book to keep the discussion going!!

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Foster Cat Foster Kid God Says You Don’t Have to Eat Dirt Anymore! – Book Review

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From the Cover of Foster Cat Foster Kid God Says You Don’t Have to Eat Dirt Anymore! by Katherine Jones:

“A neglected cat is found living in an abandoned lumber yard. He had been hit by two cars in one day; yet survived. We adopted him, and named him Good Boy. He saved my life. Discover how my life of abuse and neglect mirrored his. My neglect led to group homes and foster care. Good Boy’s neglect led him to our home.

Katherine Jones is a resident of Citrus Heights, California. She is a passionate advocate for animals and foster care youth. Her foster care advocacy has garnered recognition from organizations and politicians, such as the Foster Children’s Day Award, which is nationally celebrated every December 12th, and is given to those who dedicate their lives to building awareness for the unique backgrounds of foster youth.”

Grade:

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Transfiguring Adoption awarded this book 4 Hoots out of 5 based on how useful it will be for a foster/adoptive family. [Learn more about our Hoot grading system here]

What I Thought:

This book targets four audiences: people of faith, abuse survivors, the foster care community, and animal lovers. All four groups benefit from Katherine’s personal memoir of her abuse, her times in group homes and foster care, her faith and how it helped her, and the therapeutic benefits she received from animals, one cat in particular. This memoir heartbreakingly walks readers through Katherine’s childhood—including her abuse, her parents’ divorce, her mother’s mental illness and caring for her, and her stints in foster care—and travels into her adulthood as she finds healing.

As foster and adoptive parents of children from traumatic beginnings, it is important that we hear from abuse survivors and former foster children like Katherine to learn how our children could be feeling and thinking. This insight can help us empathize with our children and know more effective strategies for reaching them and helping them heal. Katherine’s debut book deals with the different ways in which she found healing from the many traumatic experiences in her life. She also writes in depth about her thoughts and feelings entering children’s homes and her foster home. By listening to former fosters, we can avoid pitfalls that we may not have realized would be hurtful to a child and understand their feelings and behaviors better.

Katherine’s book concludes with ways that people in each of the four groups her book targets can find purpose in bettering the lives of others, both humans and animals. This is a great read for anyone desiring to read about 1) the power of faith in someone’s life, 2) the therapeutic benefits of animals, 3) what it is like to suffer abuse, 4) dealing with the mental illness of a family member and caring for the individual, 5) how a child feels going in and out of foster care, and 6) how a person can find healing. While it can be a little disjointed at times as it is written by topic and not chronologically (because of the nature of trying to reach so many audiences about so many topics), it is a quick and engaging read.

Buy From Our Links and Support Transfiguring Adoption:

It’s Your Turn:

  1. Have you seen the therapeutic benefits of animals in your family?
  2. What parts of the book did you find helpful in your journey?
  3. Is there a person or an animal in the life of your child to whom they can connect and see parallels in their lives to help them find healing and comfort?
  4. What can you do to give your life purpose in one of the four areas Katherine discussed?

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