Tuesday, January 17, 2012

One Small Boat

Kathy Harrison, foster mother to over a hundred children through the years, has written a new memoir about her experiences with Daisy, one of her foster daughters.

I enjoyed Harrison's first book, Another Place at the Table, but had never read her second book which was published in 2006. These books remind me of the Torey Hayden books I read and enjoyed while growing up (Hayden was a special education teacher who shared stories of her time in the classroom and the students that touched her life). Harrison is also impacted by the children she provides a home to, whether it is for a short duration or for a long span of time.

Daisy is one child that Harrison and her family became emotionally attached to despite the fact that she arrived at their home with many problems. Sexually abused, anorexic, and violent and uncooperative (to put it mildly) for her mother, Daisy's mother, Glenna, willingly gives up custody of her child. Her story is unlike that of most other foster children. Daisy is from a home with educated parents and enough money. Her mother is simply unable - or unwilling- to care for her daughter.

In this book, Harrison shares Daisy's time with their family, the other foster children also in their care, and various occurences within their household during this time. As she and her family fall in love with Daisy, they are always aware that she is not "theirs" and may be gone at any moment.

Atlhough this story does not have the ending I wished for, Harrison and her work with foster children is amazing. One Small Boat should serve as an example that there are truly caring and competent foster parents out there doing their best to love and care for children with a wide variety of complex needs.

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