Ashley Rhodes-Courter: Foster Child to Advocate
Often times we hear stories of those in foster care that never get adopted, never go onto college, struggle through life, and so much more. But what about those who beat the odds? We took a look at the story of one former foster child who went from 'unplaceable' to adopted, and without a voice to advocate.
Ashley Rhodes-Courter, the daughter of a struggling teenage mother, was taken from her home, along with her younger brother, and was placed into foster care at the age of three. Over the course of ten years, Ashley’s mother fought to prevent her children from being adopted, and, therefore, left Ashley and her brother to be moved again and again to different foster homes. Ashley recalls being moved 14 times during her ten years of being in the foster care system.
Unfortunately, Ashley’s time in foster care did not leave her unscathed. Ashley claimed to be ‘demoralized’ as many of her carers had criminal records, were abusive, or they would neglect her. At the age of nine, Ashley was classified as ‘unplaceable.’ This left her feeling completely hopeless.
A few years later, at age fourteen, Ashley was given a second chance to be adopted. An older couple adopted Ashley, causing a huge transformation of Ashley’s life. The couple that adopted her, Phil and Gay Courter, were advocates of helping foster children and promoting adoption. This helped pave the way to Ashley’s new path in life. Ashley went on to receive a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California, and she became a “New York Times” Best Seller author with her book, Three Little Words, on her childhood in foster care and her adoption.
Ashley has become a well-known advocate of adoption and making it easier to adopt out of the foster care system. She and her husband recently adopted a little boy that they fostered for four months, and they both continue to reach out to the foster communities. Ashley turned her life around and made something incredible out of her unfortunate circumstances in her childhood.
Not everyone can adopt, and not everyone can foster children, but there are many other things that can be done to help support the children within the foster care system. A Case for Character strives to bring hope back to those children, like Ashley, feel hopeless. We want to provide children with brand new suitcases for when they have to move from placement to placement, just like Ashley and her brother had to do. Until foster children are reunited with their biological parents, or until they are adopted, most move several times and are only given a trash bag to pack their belongings in.
We are making a difference. If you would like to help make a difference in the life of a foster child, check out our HOME page and learn more about how you can transform the life of a child in need.
Want to be a part of providing foster children with brand new suitcases? Make a donation today or learn more. [Click here to donate]
Kierstyn is Forever Kids' media director and campaign coordinator. Stepping into ministry with Tony and Kathy Salerno several years ago, she continues to help promote awareness for the organization's passion to help meet the needs of children in a character way.