Three Little Words is eye-opening, breathtaking and painful. A young woman tells her story of growing up in the foster care system here in West/Central Florida, eventually ending up at Tampa Children’s Home before she is finally adopted after spending nearly 10 years in foster care. The memoir account of Ashley Rhodes-Courter has been widely acclaimed since it was published in 2008. She tells her unique story, but thousands of others must have their own variations, some happier, some more tragic than others. Ashley was blessed with the opportunity to relay the details of her childhood in order to bring nation-wide awareness to the great challenges and obstacles these young people face in a particularly delicate time of life.
Ashley Rhodes-Courter was a strong willed and intelligent girl. Had she not been, she may have met a different fate. Each child in this world is unique and deserves a chance at starting life in a stable and healthy environment, most importantly with a loving family. Ashley’s book is the ultimate example of this.
This book is a treasure trove of information for potential adoptive parents who can learn a great deal about the mindset of a child that has gone through years in the system and experienced abusive situations. In reality, the system is not perfect, the children are not perfect, and foster/ adoptive parents are not perfect, but the more people who are involved that have the child’s well being at heart and are willing to share their love in someway, the better off our world will be. In Ashley’s case, she came across apathetic adults who did very little to help her and some actually did harm, but there also was a handful of individuals who contributed greatly to her cause and gave her the chance at a better life and empowered her to make a difference in the lives of others.
The title of the book, Three Little Words, is a reference to the words Ashley reluctantly uttered at her adoption ceremony which ultimately changed her life. Local Roots Cafe has organized an essay contest based on this and a private book signing by Ms. Courter to make fostering and adoption resources more available. The following essay contest is open to all Hernando County students grades 4 through 12.
Would your world be completely different- even unthinkable if at some point in the past you hadn’t made a seemingly random choice? Tell us about it. Maybe you stayed a few extra minutes at a party and met your best friend. Maybe you decided to have lunch with an old friend or got a job or just took the long way home. If you can’t imagine the rest of your life without what happened next, write it down and share it with us.
Following Ashley’s adoption, she entered a similar essay contest which launched her writing and public speaking career, maybe this could be life changing for you as well.
You can download the complete application form below:
Two winners will be chosen to receive one of (2) grand prizes of $250.00 each. The winning essays will also be published in Hernando Sun in print and online. All entries and application forms must be postmarked by September 19th and received by September 22nd.
Ashley Rhodes-Courter just came out with a new book entitled, Three More Words, in which she delves into her life as a mother of biological children as well as her role as a foster parent, simultaneously bringing to light the many issues that plague the foster care system in Florida. Her viewpoint is truly unique as a former foster child, mother, foster parent and child welfare advocate. I am eager to learn more from her on this important topic.
Join Local Roots Cafe, Beef O’ Brady’s and Hernando Sun for a fun filled day at the Horse Lake Plaza on September 26th to help spread the word about adoption and foster care opportunities. There will be a bounce house, outdoor games, face painting, Fire Department’s Touch a Truck, and the Sheriff’s Antibullying Mustang. Foster Care and adoption groups to attend include Florida Department of Children and Families, Adoption2Action, KidsCentral and the Sustainable Families Foundation. Also in attendance, will be the Hernando County Humane Society to help get homes for the animals too.