Foster Care Odyssey: A Black Girl's Story by Theresa Cameron, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Foster Care Odyssey: A Black Girl's Story

Foster Care Odyssey: A Black Girl's Story

by Theresa Cameron
     
 

Without signing the documents that would permit adoption, young Theresa Cameron's mother placed her little daughter under the aegis of Catholic Charities, and then the mother vanished forever.

During the 1960s and 1970s this abandoned, unadoptable child was shuttled through foster homes in the vicinity of Buffalo, N.Y. Insecure, desolate, and frightened, she

Overview

Without signing the documents that would permit adoption, young Theresa Cameron's mother placed her little daughter under the aegis of Catholic Charities, and then the mother vanished forever.

During the 1960s and 1970s this abandoned, unadoptable child was shuttled through foster homes in the vicinity of Buffalo, N.Y. Insecure, desolate, and frightened, she was rotated through group homes and the houses of alien families, the victim of religious hypocrisy, racial prejudice, and insult.

Theresa remained in this bleak, shame-imposing limbo until she was eighteen. Foster Care Odyssey is her candid story.

"What little I owned," she writes, "could have fit inside my usual moving-day luggage--a couple of shopping bags. Besides my clothing, I only had a few school supplies. Like the other girls at the group home, I attached very little sentimental value to the items I owned. . . . The only thing of value that could not be taken away from me were my thoughts."

Theresa places her narrative against the backdrop of the civil rights movement in blue-collar Buffalo, where mixed-race foster homes were almost unknown and where she witnessed a welfare system that accorded only marginal benevolence to children, particularly black children caught in the squeeze of bureaucratic machinery.

As she passed through her turbulent teenage years, she acquired both a strong will and a tough veneer to shield herself from the many hurts in a restrictive world infused with racism and institutional segregation.

Her coming-of-age narrative voices plainspoken criticism of the pernicious system which engulfed her and other helpless abandoned children.

Theresa Cameron is an associate professor of planning in the College of Architecture and Environmental Design at Arizona State University. She has been published in the Journal of Health and Social Policy, Policy Studies Journal, and Landscape and Urban Planning.

Copublished with the Center for American Places

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Left as an infant with Catholic Charities in 1950s Buffalo, N.Y., Theresa Cameron was doomed to spend her childhood in foster homes because her mother never signed the final adoption papers. "Very little has been written to convey what children experience and how they feel living among strangers," notes Cameron, now a Harvard-trained urban planner and designer, in her introduction to Foster Care Odyssey: A Black Girl's Story and even less about that of black children. Her ability to clearheadedly evaluate the morass of negative feelings without lapsing into sentimentality is one of the most affecting aspects of this memoir, which covers 19 years in foster care. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781578064205
Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
Publication date:
03/12/2002
Series:
Willie Morris Books in Memoir and Biography
Pages:
264
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 9.34(h) x 0.88(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >