(10) Damaged

Title: Damaged: The Heartbreaking True Story of a Forgotten Child by Cathy Glass
Publisher: Harper Element
352 pages
Genre: memoir, foster parenting

Synopsis: Although Jodie is only eight years old, she is violent, aggressive, and has already been through numerous foster families. Her last hope is Cathy Glass…
Cathy, an experienced foster carer, is pressured into taking Jodie as a new placement. Jodie's challenging behavior has seen off five carers in four months but Cathy decides to take her on to protect her from being placed in an institution. Jodie arrives, and her first act is to soil herself, and then wipe it on her face, grinning wickedly. Jodie meets Cathy's teenage children, and greets them with a sharp kick to the shins. That night, Cathy finds Jodie covered in blood, having cut her own wrist, and smeared the blood over her face. As Jodie begins to trust Cathy her behavior improves. Over time, with childish honesty, she reveals details of her abuse at the hands of her parents and others. It becomes clear that Jodie's parents were involved in a sickening pedophile ring, with neighbors and Social Services not seeing what should have been obvious signs. It’s clear that Josie needs psychiatric therapy, but instead Social Services take Jodie away from her, and place her in a residential unit. Although the pedophile ring is investigated and brought to justice, Jodie’s future is still up in the air. Cathy promises that she will stand by her no matter what – her love for the abandoned Jodie is unbreakable.

Review: Cathy Glass is a foster mother with a lot of experience taking care of hurt and neglected children.  When she consents to take Jodie into her care she is shaken by how deeply troubled she is.  Jodie’s tantrums range from cursing and kicking to multiple personalities, the level of abuse she experienced is beyond what most people can imagine. 

This book can be hard to read at times but Cathy’s strength and her dedication to helping this child is impressive, it held a lot of good ideas and lessons about taking care of children in pain. Reading about the patience and determination that Cathy shows in caring for this little girl is inspiring, although her no holds barred story shows the tremendous hoops many foster parents have to jump through in order to get the support and help they need for the children in their care.  Cathy shows foster parenting isn't for everyone but if you are willing to put in the time the rewards can be great.