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The story of a remarkable woman's rise out of the foster-care system to attain the American dream—and of the unlikely series of women who lifted her up in marvelous and distinctive ways Born as a ward of the state of Maine—the child of an unmarried Yankee blueblood mother and an unknown black father—Victoria Rowell beat the odds. Unlike so many other children who fall throu The story of a remarkable woman's rise out of the foster-care system to attain the American dream—and of the unlikely series of women who lifted her up in marvelous and distinctive ways Born as a ward of the state of Maine—the child of an unmarried Yankee blueblood mother and an unknown black father—Victoria Rowell beat the odds. Unlike so many other children who fall through the cracks of our overburdened foster-care system, her experience was nothing short of miraculous, thanks to several extraordinary women who stepped forward to love, nurture, guide, teach, and challenge her to become the accomplished actress, philanthropist, and mother that she is today. Rowell spent her first weeks of life as a boarder infant before being placed with a Caucasian foster family. Although her stay lasted for only two years, at this critical stage Rowell was given a foundation of love by the first of what would be an amazing array of women, each of whom presented herself for different purposes at every dramatic turn of Rowell's life. In this deeply touching memoir, Rowell pays tribute to her personal champions: the mothers, grandmothers, aunts, mentors, teachers, and sisters who each have fascinating stories to tell. Among them are Agatha Armstead, Rowell's longest-term foster mother, a black Bostonian on whose rural Maine farm Rowell's fire to reach for greatness was lit; Esther Brooks, a Paris-trained prima ballerina, Rowell's first mentor at the Cambridge School of Ballet; Rosa Turner, a Boston inner-city fosterer who taught Rowell lessons of independence; Sylvia Silverman, a mother and teacher whose home in a well-kept middle-class suburban neighborhood prepared Rowell for her transition out of foster care and into New York City's wild worlds of ballet and acting and adulthood. In spite of support from individuals and agencies, Rowell nonetheless carried the burden of loneliness and anxiety, common to most foster children, particularly those "orphans of the living" who are never adopted. Heroically overcoming those obstacles, Rowell also reaches a moment when she can embrace her biological mother, Dorothy, and, most important, accept herself. Ultimately, The Women Who Raised Me is a story that belongs to each of us as it shines a glowing light on the transformational power of mentoring, love, art, and womanhood.


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The story of a remarkable woman's rise out of the foster-care system to attain the American dream—and of the unlikely series of women who lifted her up in marvelous and distinctive ways Born as a ward of the state of Maine—the child of an unmarried Yankee blueblood mother and an unknown black father—Victoria Rowell beat the odds. Unlike so many other children who fall throu The story of a remarkable woman's rise out of the foster-care system to attain the American dream—and of the unlikely series of women who lifted her up in marvelous and distinctive ways Born as a ward of the state of Maine—the child of an unmarried Yankee blueblood mother and an unknown black father—Victoria Rowell beat the odds. Unlike so many other children who fall through the cracks of our overburdened foster-care system, her experience was nothing short of miraculous, thanks to several extraordinary women who stepped forward to love, nurture, guide, teach, and challenge her to become the accomplished actress, philanthropist, and mother that she is today. Rowell spent her first weeks of life as a boarder infant before being placed with a Caucasian foster family. Although her stay lasted for only two years, at this critical stage Rowell was given a foundation of love by the first of what would be an amazing array of women, each of whom presented herself for different purposes at every dramatic turn of Rowell's life. In this deeply touching memoir, Rowell pays tribute to her personal champions: the mothers, grandmothers, aunts, mentors, teachers, and sisters who each have fascinating stories to tell. Among them are Agatha Armstead, Rowell's longest-term foster mother, a black Bostonian on whose rural Maine farm Rowell's fire to reach for greatness was lit; Esther Brooks, a Paris-trained prima ballerina, Rowell's first mentor at the Cambridge School of Ballet; Rosa Turner, a Boston inner-city fosterer who taught Rowell lessons of independence; Sylvia Silverman, a mother and teacher whose home in a well-kept middle-class suburban neighborhood prepared Rowell for her transition out of foster care and into New York City's wild worlds of ballet and acting and adulthood. In spite of support from individuals and agencies, Rowell nonetheless carried the burden of loneliness and anxiety, common to most foster children, particularly those "orphans of the living" who are never adopted. Heroically overcoming those obstacles, Rowell also reaches a moment when she can embrace her biological mother, Dorothy, and, most important, accept herself. Ultimately, The Women Who Raised Me is a story that belongs to each of us as it shines a glowing light on the transformational power of mentoring, love, art, and womanhood.

30 review for The Women Who Raised Me: A Memoir

  1. 5 out of 5

    Valerie

    I admire Victoria Rowell for her courage and her heart for helping others. She had to come a long way to be a successful person. That being said, I didn't especially care for this book. It was bogged down with a little information about a whole lot of people, mostly women. So many that it was impossible to keep track of who they all were. Hearing more about Victoria herself would have been an improvement I think.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    I wish that I could have liked this book more--the title was very intriguing. The author grew up in the foster care system before becoming a ballerina and TV actress. Poorly written, I struggled to read what felt most like a rambling personal history without descriptions, cohesion or a point.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Barbikat60

    I grew up in the foster care system. I'm glad she had a better experience than I.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    I thought this was going to be a memoir, but it turned out to be "thank you" to foster mothers, mentors, friends and the many, many people who helped Ms. Rowell survive and perhaps thrive. I think the book could have benefited from a good editor. As always my book discussion folks tempered my opinion a bit. We all felt some upheaval in the book and that seemed to reflect Ms. Rowell's early life. We talked about what an author chooses to include in a memoir is not necessarily what we want to know I thought this was going to be a memoir, but it turned out to be "thank you" to foster mothers, mentors, friends and the many, many people who helped Ms. Rowell survive and perhaps thrive. I think the book could have benefited from a good editor. As always my book discussion folks tempered my opinion a bit. We all felt some upheaval in the book and that seemed to reflect Ms. Rowell's early life. We talked about what an author chooses to include in a memoir is not necessarily what we want to know about her/his life.

  5. 5 out of 5

    eka

    Her story itself is amazing, I don't deny that. The telling of the story, on the other hand... Horrible. Dull, generic voice and a failed attempt at eliciting any sort of pathos; ordinary diction, bland tone, overuse of the phrase "years to come," not to mention there were a handful of typos throughout. The way she took a life lesson out of everything felt unnatural, like I was reading a forced fable, and it just fell completely flat with me. It was painful to read. Which is a shame, because the Her story itself is amazing, I don't deny that. The telling of the story, on the other hand... Horrible. Dull, generic voice and a failed attempt at eliciting any sort of pathos; ordinary diction, bland tone, overuse of the phrase "years to come," not to mention there were a handful of typos throughout. The way she took a life lesson out of everything felt unnatural, like I was reading a forced fable, and it just fell completely flat with me. It was painful to read. Which is a shame, because there was a wonderful story to be told here.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Osa

    I must say that I am very grateful to have come across this memoir. Yes, I generally read the memoirs and biographies of celebrities, but this one offered a very different story in that Victoria Rowell concentrates on giving due to the women who, as she aptly puts it throughout the book, raised her to succeed, despite the odds stacked against children raised within the foster care system. Ms. Rowell writes about her mother, Dorothy's insistence, that she and her sisters be raised together, and p I must say that I am very grateful to have come across this memoir. Yes, I generally read the memoirs and biographies of celebrities, but this one offered a very different story in that Victoria Rowell concentrates on giving due to the women who, as she aptly puts it throughout the book, raised her to succeed, despite the odds stacked against children raised within the foster care system. Ms. Rowell writes about her mother, Dorothy's insistence, that she and her sisters be raised together, and preferably, by Black foster parents, resulting in Victoria being torn from her first, loving family. In those days, the laws had not yet been amended so that White families could adopt Black children. Ms. Rowell writes about learning to work hard from women who broke the rules every day, by beating the odds, raising families with and without spousal support, and having successful careers during times when women had little to no outside help. Ms. Rowell's story is particularly inspiring as she points to the threads of support woven by each mother or sister who took her in, so that she could train as a ballet dancer, and pursue her dream of first becoming a dancer, then, an actress. I was only aware of Victoria Rowell as an actress on the American soap opera, The Young & The Restless, but I am now inspired by and in awe of her intellect, her command and precision of language (she so perfectly paints a picture), her humility in recognizing the angels throughout her life, and her ability to learn from life's lessons at each stage of her life - something that many people are either incapable of doing, or only manage after middle age. I urge you to read this captivating true story, and share in the triumphs of the people within it. By the way, this book is rated four and a half stars on Amazon.com.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sherese

    An inspiring story of famed actress/activist and foster care success, Victoria Rowell. I didn't know much about Ms. Rowell except that she was a daytime actress on one of my mother's favorite Soap Operas from the 1980's " Young and the Restless" and that she also appeared on "Diagnosis Murder". Her story is unlike many stories that I've heard about children growing up in the foster care system. Ms. Rowell was very lucky and blessed to be placed with and srrounded by the many women that raised, l An inspiring story of famed actress/activist and foster care success, Victoria Rowell. I didn't know much about Ms. Rowell except that she was a daytime actress on one of my mother's favorite Soap Operas from the 1980's " Young and the Restless" and that she also appeared on "Diagnosis Murder". Her story is unlike many stories that I've heard about children growing up in the foster care system. Ms. Rowell was very lucky and blessed to be placed with and srrounded by the many women that raised, loved and cared for her throughout her life. The most prevailing theme throughout this book, is the idea of "Sisterhood and Motherhood". Family has nothing to do with being of the same blood. Your friends and anyone who loves, cares and support you unconditionally are part of family. No one chooses to be born, and when you get here you have to make the best of the circumstances you were given, which Ms. Rowell did with the help of some very important women in her life including her long term loving foster mother, Agatha Armstead and various mentors and friends she met along the way. If only all children were given the opportunity to have at least one or two individuals in the lives with the caliber of Mrs. Armstead we'd certainly have less problems in the world. This autobiograhy only reinforces the old African proverb that it "Takes a village to raise a child" as well as my personal belief in the need of further promotion of adoption especially in the Black/Latino community.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Laurel-Rain

    In a splendid and glorious memorializing of a company of women who contributed to her growth, opportunities and eventual success, Victoria Rowell has created a grand gesture of epic proportions. Her story, told with grace and honesty, reveals the multi-layered character she became as a result of the fostering and mentoring she received…as she describes it, like the piecing together of a quilt. In successive foster homes in the state of Maine, from infancy, Victoria Rowell sets an example of triump In a splendid and glorious memorializing of a company of women who contributed to her growth, opportunities and eventual success, Victoria Rowell has created a grand gesture of epic proportions. Her story, told with grace and honesty, reveals the multi-layered character she became as a result of the fostering and mentoring she received…as she describes it, like the piecing together of a quilt. In successive foster homes in the state of Maine, from infancy, Victoria Rowell sets an example of triumph over adversity. Despite the early deprivation of a “biological mother”, she grew in a positive direction through experiences that many would find challenging, at the very least. And yet, with the help of her foster mothers and mentors, social workers and others along the way, she faced every challenge, excelling as a ballet dancer and later as an actress, a mother and then as a creator of her own network of support for foster youth by founding the Rowell Foster Children’s Positive Plan and serving as a spokesperson for the Annie E. Casey Foundation/Casey Family Services. While in LA recently, attending Book Expo America, I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. Rowell while signing copies of her book. I felt very honored to be in her presence for a brief time and want to congratulate her on her many accomplishments, including this wonderful book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Aberjhani

    A DANCER'S STRENGTH AND GRACE In the brilliant pages of "The Women Who Raised Me" a daughter born to destiny is what one clearly sees. Challenged from the start by the blood of history flooding her path-- crashing waves of denial and shame, racism screaming its scornful wrath. Consider her skin the color of America's dream of democracy; a ward of the state of Maine, yes, but a child as well of aristocracy. Through the schizophrenic shadows of her mother's pleading tears, caring hearts sang stron A DANCER'S STRENGTH AND GRACE In the brilliant pages of "The Women Who Raised Me" a daughter born to destiny is what one clearly sees. Challenged from the start by the blood of history flooding her path-- crashing waves of denial and shame, racism screaming its scornful wrath. Consider her skin the color of America's dream of democracy; a ward of the state of Maine, yes, but a child as well of aristocracy. Through the schizophrenic shadows of her mother's pleading tears, caring hearts sang strong angelic prayers to guide her through the years. With a philosopher's taste for wisdom, and a dancer's strength and grace, over pits of hell and sorrow she leaps to run a blessed and noble race. If Love is a kind of country where royalty is determined by beauty of soul, then somewhere waiting for Victoria Rowell is a glittering crown of diamonds and gold. by Poet-I-Am Aberjhani author of "I Made My Boy Out of Poetry" and "Encyclopedia of the Harlem Renaissance" (Facts on File Library of American History)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Suzy

    My favorite chapter by far was the early, long chapter on Victoria's foster mother, Agatha Armstead. She writes such a touching, inspiring, nostalgic biographical piece on this great lady, I don't think I'll ever forget it. That being said, if I had known who Victoria Rowell was before reading the book (soap opera, TV series and movie actress, mother of Wynton Marsalis's son) I might have been more interested. The book is weak in some places and after about the third chapter begins to suffer fro My favorite chapter by far was the early, long chapter on Victoria's foster mother, Agatha Armstead. She writes such a touching, inspiring, nostalgic biographical piece on this great lady, I don't think I'll ever forget it. That being said, if I had known who Victoria Rowell was before reading the book (soap opera, TV series and movie actress, mother of Wynton Marsalis's son) I might have been more interested. The book is weak in some places and after about the third chapter begins to suffer from poor editing--just plain old typos, dangling participles, misspellings, etc. Too bad; I found it distracting and detracting. Vicki is not a great writer, but she does a good enough job. I was interested enough, and, as I said, propelled by the Agatha chapter to read through to the end. I can think of many women who would absolutely love this book. Though it is specifically about Vicki's life as a foster child, it has some good "lessons" for all women, on women, sisterhood, inclusion, forgiveness. I'm glad I read it.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    This woman's life is remarkable. Maybe I'm a grinch, but after a while it all started to feel TOO positive. It somehow lacked something, some depth. I guess since she's a movie star (though I had not heard of her until reading the Sunday NY Times wedding section, which I always do,) she was trying to give kind of an overview, glossing over difficult relationships and times. I would have liked to learn more about her biological siblings, especially her sisters, with whom she was raised in the sam This woman's life is remarkable. Maybe I'm a grinch, but after a while it all started to feel TOO positive. It somehow lacked something, some depth. I guess since she's a movie star (though I had not heard of her until reading the Sunday NY Times wedding section, which I always do,) she was trying to give kind of an overview, glossing over difficult relationships and times. I would have liked to learn more about her biological siblings, especially her sisters, with whom she was raised in the same loving home. Born to a white mother in Maine, and a father of African heritage whom she never met, this book is about all she was given and how she took strength and wisdom and love from all who gave to her. After going the rigors of classical ballet, she went into acting. She then went on to start an organization that offers the arts to children who are in foster care.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Wynne

    This is a memoir of a woman who was the 5th child (all different fathers)of a mentally ill woman. Right after Vikie's birth the children are taken by family services for their safety. The older two boys go to live with the mother's ex-husband and the girls are put into foster care. Somehow the girls luck out, with loving, generous foster mothers.This is the journey of her life in foster care and how she came out as a whole and thriving adult. It would be interesting to compare her sisters' exper This is a memoir of a woman who was the 5th child (all different fathers)of a mentally ill woman. Right after Vikie's birth the children are taken by family services for their safety. The older two boys go to live with the mother's ex-husband and the girls are put into foster care. Somehow the girls luck out, with loving, generous foster mothers.This is the journey of her life in foster care and how she came out as a whole and thriving adult. It would be interesting to compare her sisters' experiences because although they were in the same homes, they did not appear to enjoy the same level of care and love.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    I expected The Women Who Raised Me to delve deeper into issues of parental rights, the foster care system, and child protection services in general. Instead, this is a memoir that includes hagiographic vignettes of the women who took in Victoria Rowell throughout her turbulent, disjointed childhood. I didn't finish the book so maybe I missed the analysis I was hoping for. Perhaps it would have helped me through this story if I had been more familiar with Rowell's adult success in dance, TV, and I expected The Women Who Raised Me to delve deeper into issues of parental rights, the foster care system, and child protection services in general. Instead, this is a memoir that includes hagiographic vignettes of the women who took in Victoria Rowell throughout her turbulent, disjointed childhood. I didn't finish the book so maybe I missed the analysis I was hoping for. Perhaps it would have helped me through this story if I had been more familiar with Rowell's adult success in dance, TV, and as an advocate for foster children.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sylvia

    Excellent book! This is an autobiographical book written by the co-star of Diagnosis Murder. Prior to that show, she also had a supporting actress role in the Young and The Restless. During her run on her soap, Victoria's early storyline was loosely based on her real life. She was a foster child from birth who with the help of many people, including the State of Maine, became a ballerina. Her story is riveting! I am so impressed with her autobiography!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I give this book five stars for Rowell's ability to combine the personal and the political. Her well written history of her foster family, combined with her soul baring details about how she has successfully found her way in the world, make for a book you just can't put down. Her thoughts on foster parenting and adoption should inform policy and policy makers.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Darlene

    Victoria Rowell (acclaimed actress and ballet dancer) was raised as a foster child in Maine. Many, many women helped influence her developing years. She remains an advocate for foster children. I would recommend this book to everyone.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    This book is awesome. Victoria Rowell overcame adversity and learned how to deal with life's curveballs. This book could be an inspiration to anyone who chooses to read it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    JaNae

    I tried for a whole month to get through this book, just couldn't do it. The author was just too positive for me. Crap happens to her but she only sees the good in a way that just work for me.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Krystle Garrison

    this book had some good parts and then some really boring parts. i kept getting confused with all the differnt characters.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jill Stevenson

    This could've used a good editor.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Susan Alston

    The description above is very accurate. I’ll just add that I Found this book in the dollar section at a used book sale, I like memoirs and biographies, and the title, so it came home with me. Though not always in chronological order, which kept confusing me, I enjoyed the book. I looked forward to reading it each night, it is a compelling story on many levels. Victoria's writing varied from very good, to ordinary. She omitted or downplayed certain aspects of her life, especially her romance with The description above is very accurate. I’ll just add that I Found this book in the dollar section at a used book sale, I like memoirs and biographies, and the title, so it came home with me. Though not always in chronological order, which kept confusing me, I enjoyed the book. I looked forward to reading it each night, it is a compelling story on many levels. Victoria's writing varied from very good, to ordinary. She omitted or downplayed certain aspects of her life, especially her romance with Wynton Marsalis, probably at his insistence. Anyway, I thought it was worth my time, the best accolade I can give any book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    This is barely a three. Victoria Rowell writes well and she has an interesting story to tell, but this overly long tale needs a good edit. There is way too much that is just plain boring. Yet, for a person to accomplish what she has, given the backdrop of being a product of the foster care system, her life story is worth noting and reading about.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Merilee

    Interesting, but after Vicki becomes an adult we know very little of her life. And I was curious that she never became a foster mother. We know very little of her relationship with her children. So much info at the beginning, and so little later. I confess I had trouble keeping all of the women apart. I probably liked it more because I’m a New Englander.

  24. 4 out of 5

    In

    Victoria Rowell survived and flourished. She was a foster child with talent and the ability to gather people. Although some of this memoir was repetitive and sometimes contradictory, I was intrigued enough by her ability to endear herself to virtually everyone she ever met to keep reading until I finished. I admire her strength and her acceptance that life is what you make it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Carol Rengers

    A deep journey A transparent revelation of the inner workings of a life well lived. Society saw no value in a foster child born under deplorable circumstances. From the beginning “Mothers” arose to impart value. Inspiration from all the characters.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Marianne

    Can a book say too much and yet not enough? That's how I felt reading this book besides the fact that it was written poorly. I found it boring and a bit pretentious.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mary Peble

    If you find yourself interested in this book, read part one ("Grandmothers, Mothers, Aunts") and skip the rest. The author writes about her childhood with enough detail to make it interesting, insightful, and inspiring. She certainly pays lovely homage to the women who raised her in these years; the reader understands the bond she felt for them and appreciates each of these women as unique, lovable characters. In the subsequent parts of the book, however, the author devolves into a long ramblin If you find yourself interested in this book, read part one ("Grandmothers, Mothers, Aunts") and skip the rest. The author writes about her childhood with enough detail to make it interesting, insightful, and inspiring. She certainly pays lovely homage to the women who raised her in these years; the reader understands the bond she felt for them and appreciates each of these women as unique, lovable characters. In the subsequent parts of the book, however, the author devolves into a long rambling tale of her teenage and adult years which can most kindly be described as tiring to read. The constant, excessive name-dropping of who she studied under / acted with / networked with professionally amounts to nothing more than a huge pile of foreign names with no significance to the reader. (Even as someone who lived with a serious ballet dancer for years, I had never heard of these people...and also don't care.) Much of the book has the tone of a self-congratulatory, far too detailed resume. Meanwhile, relationships that are actually intriguing (like those with her children's fathers) are mentioned only fleetingly. Contrary to the Washington Post quote on the cover of my book, I do not agree that, "A kaleidoscope of women comes to life in Victoria Rowell's thoughtful memoir." On the contrary, all the women (except for those in part one) are described so generically that they blend together in the reader's eye. After a while, it was simply too tiring to try to remember who was who and how they came into her life. They all sound the same, anyway. Again, for your sake, just read part one, then pass the book along.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    I'm always intrigued by how people choose to reveal their lives--how they organize their stories and protect and pay tribute to the people they care about most. Victoria has woven a careful account of her life and the family she found along the way. It culminates in a beautiful moment that will leave you inspired. I felt that at times the writing was a bit choppy--it was difficult to keep all of the people straight. Yet, in a situation where family can be fleeting--to sit down and remember them, I'm always intrigued by how people choose to reveal their lives--how they organize their stories and protect and pay tribute to the people they care about most. Victoria has woven a careful account of her life and the family she found along the way. It culminates in a beautiful moment that will leave you inspired. I felt that at times the writing was a bit choppy--it was difficult to keep all of the people straight. Yet, in a situation where family can be fleeting--to sit down and remember them, really remember each significant one is a magnificent feat! Truly, as someone who is adopted, it is seductively easy to keep moving forward, surviving. Let the past peel away. The act of remembering--especially everything that came before you had words or the right words to protect yourself is commendable. Kudos to Victoria Rowell. I would recommend this book to anyone who appreciates the triumph of spirit--who dares to let the truth set them free.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Denise Leora Leora

    "The Women Who Raised Me" is a beautiful narrative about a determined, lonely, talented girl who becomes one of the most respected actresses of our time. Victoria Rowell chronicles her life as a ward of the state of Maine with dignity and deft, defying the odds with grace and grit. Looping in and around itself like an elegant Mobius strip, her memories of these mother figures envelop you like a warm hug from someone you never knew you missed. Though her hardships are many and severe, some requir "The Women Who Raised Me" is a beautiful narrative about a determined, lonely, talented girl who becomes one of the most respected actresses of our time. Victoria Rowell chronicles her life as a ward of the state of Maine with dignity and deft, defying the odds with grace and grit. Looping in and around itself like an elegant Mobius strip, her memories of these mother figures envelop you like a warm hug from someone you never knew you missed. Though her hardships are many and severe, some requiring medical attention, you feel no pity for Rowell as she spares little for herself. Instead you stand on the feminine shoulders of your elders from another era, adding another exquisite collection of women to the Pantheon of your soul. And you are the richer and wiser for it. Rowell challenges the notion that it matters not how you start as she heads toward her finish with a decided flourish. A heartwarming triumph of the first order.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Claire

    This book provided a very interesting account of foster care experiences. It was in good contrast to the horror stories one often hears (though there were some non-ideal). The women of the book were official foster parents, relatives of them, friends, and mentors. It amazed me how one person could run into so many people so willing to go out of their way to help. But it was not a book only about luck. Effort was also involved. I was most taken by the foster mother, upon learning of Vicki's intere This book provided a very interesting account of foster care experiences. It was in good contrast to the horror stories one often hears (though there were some non-ideal). The women of the book were official foster parents, relatives of them, friends, and mentors. It amazed me how one person could run into so many people so willing to go out of their way to help. But it was not a book only about luck. Effort was also involved. I was most taken by the foster mother, upon learning of Vicki's interest in dance, got a book and taught her the positions from a book. I really enjoyed the first 2/3 of the book when the narratives were well developed and I got to know the women. The last third dragged and became more of a catalogue of short vignettes. They should have had their own book with more development.

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