We were Once a Family: a Story of Love, Death, and Child Removal in America

On March 26, 2018, Jennifer and Sarah Hart drove off a cliff in Mendocino County, California with their six adopted children after CPS was called to their Oregon home. This book tells the story of the families that were left behind by the children and the foster care system that failed them all.

The author, Roxanna Asgarian, details how the family court system in Texas focused on speedy adoptions and exploited the difficulty most families have understanding their legal rights. The federal government doled out money to states that complete adoptions for children whose parental rights have been terminated. Motivated by money and a bias against kinship placements, the courts took the children away from their loving albeit not perfect families and gave them to the adoptive parents who abused and murdered them.

Asgarian sets forth her ideas on how the child welfare system should be reformed to keep children with their families and in their communities. She believes we need to overcome “the urge to judge and blame parents” that has perpetuated a system designed mainly “to punish them for their failures” and not help them to succeed.

Available at the library in print and as an ebook/audiobook on Libby.

Reviewed by Mary

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