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"I guess so." With these three little words, Rhodes-Courter, age 12, agreed to be adopted and became part of a new family. Gay and Phil Courter had raised two sons, but after surviving a harrowing plane crash, they decided to do more with their lives. What they took on was a deeply mistrusting, angry young girl who'd been removed from her drug-abusing mother at age three and spent the next nine years shuttled from one overcrowded foster home to the next. Beaten, starved, forced to squat for long periods and run laps in the hot Florida sun without water, she had watched helplessly as her little brother was forced to endure the same ill treatment.
Ashley lashed out at the Courters, hoping to preempt their rejection. What she received in response was patience, love, acceptance, and honesty. Hers is a success story that's sure to elicit tears and cheers in equal parts, but as Three Little Words attests, there's no celebrating to be done yet. Many other children were not so lucky, and the foster parents and other so-called caregivers who milk the system for profit while abusing or neglecting their charges are rarely held accountable. The foster care system is a national disgrace, but it's possible for us to make a difference. This book -- though difficult reading at times -- offers an eye-opening and courageous account by a true survivor who wants to make a difference. (Spring 2008 Selection)