I just finished reading another wonderful book by Cathy Glass. In a Baby’s Cry Cathy is fostering a newborn baby Harrison, or Harry as her kids call him. At first Cathy is nervous though her daughter is only five she feels rusty about baby care. It’s also odd that she’s fostering a baby when she usually works with more challenging children. But all the baby carers were full.
Right away there was a lot of secrecy around Harrison. His mother was not there when she went and got him. Though there was a case of things for Harrison. She was told from the outset that there would be no contact with the mom and that he was on the fast track to adoption. When she got home she opened the case and found a years worth of nice baby clothes and a couple of stuffed animals. A very heart felt and articulate letter written by the mom stated how much she loved her son and wished things were different. Cathy was extremely touched and kept wondering what the story was.
Harrison right from the beginning was a very alert intelligent baby who slept well ate well and fit right in with the family. Adrian and Paula were thrilled to have a little brother. Cathy went through the usual foster care meetings, a child review, and a matching meeting with the adoption panel. At both meetings she and Jill her support worker, were anxious to try to get information about why Harrison was in care and why there could be no contact but everything was strictly confidential.
In the midst of everything Cathy agreed to take a seven year old girl Elli for a week’s respite. Ellie was very shy sweet but also traumatized. She disclosed shocking abuse including being shut in the cupboard under the stairs and other physical abuse. This was especially distressing for Paula only five who was in tears herself hearing about a mother treating their child that way understandably. Cathy had to write up many log notes on Ellie and comfort both Ellie and Paula a lot.
They had a good week but Cathy was relieved in a way when Ellie went back to her carer. Her suffering was really too much for the family to handle at that point though they were happy to have made a positive impression on her and she stayed in their memories long after.
Meanwhile things around Harrison began to intensify and leave more questions as his mother kept making appearances in the street. Cathy told the social services. Though there was so much confidentiality around the case Harrison had been placed voluntarily into care and so his mother technically could see him whenever she wanted. It was highly recommended of course she work with social services. Showing up in front of the house wasn’t really such a good idea.
The book has a big twist which I won’t reveal but it’s to say that Cathy used her intuition and compassion in a way that allowed her to connect with Harrison’s mother and find out the reasons for him being placed into care. Once she did she was able to be a strong advocate for Harrison’s mom to make the best decision possible for her and her son. The ending is heartwarming and will give you happy tears. It also shows the influence of cultural traditions and how that can affect someone’s decisions as they fear for their life in certain situations that go against cultural norms. And also how someone’s whole life can change in a matter of months when they get steady support and are able to think clearly about their lives and what’s important.
For Rehanna, Harrison’s mom to come to this place was huge and amazing to witness. Cathy didn’t just foster Harrison she changed the course of a whole family’s life.