Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Hope's boy by Andrew Bridge

Andrew Bridge entered the foster care system in Southern California at about the age of 10. His mother was mentally ill and unable to really care for him. What follows is his experiences of growing up in the foster care system while desperately missing his own family.

Andrew explains the constant change that a foster child experiences. Different social workers, different foster parents, different foster siblings. Foster kids grew up in a sea of constant change with little stability. In some ways he withdraws into a shell of protection - protecting his own thoughts and feelings from those trying to care for him. Even though his own situation stabilized by getting a permanent placement, he never felt truly loved or cared for.

Once Andrew enters high school, he makes plans to leave. He studies colleges and applies to some of the most elite schools in the country. He picks up part-time work to save money. He received very little encouragement from those around him - either they didn't know his plans or didn't think he would be able to succeed. Just before Andrew leaves for college, he meets his mother in a mental health facility and comes to the truth of her situation.

I enjoyed reading Andrew's story and I am glad he shared it. It truly is remarkable that he was able to succeed despite his circumstances. He now works as an advocate for kids in the foster care system. Has he become a part of the bureaucratic system that he so despised? One of those nameless individuals who enter and leave a foster kids life with little effect. It's hard to say because Andrew ends his story with out telling us too much of his life after foster care, but one can't help wondering if he has truly left the foster care system.

The books I select for review are books which I personally select from my local library. I do not receive any reimbursement from authors or publishers or free books. I do provide links to Amazon as a convenience to the readers of this blog. I do earn a small referral pittance which is not even enough to buy a soda.

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