For more than a decade, Kathy Harrison has sheltered a shifting cast of troubled youngsters-the offspring of prostitutes and addicts; the sons and daughters of abusers; and teenage parents who can't handle parenthood. What would motivate someone to give herself over to constant, largely uncompensated chaos? How does she manage her extraordinary blended family? Why would anyone voluntarily take on her job?
Harrison is no saint, but an ordinary woman doing heroic work. In Another Place at the Table, she describes her life at our social services' front lines-centered around three children who, when they come together in her home, nearly destroy it. Danny, age eight, is borderline mentally retarded and a budding pedophile (a frequent result of sexual abuse in boys). No other family will take him in. Tough, magnetic Sara, age six, is dangerously promiscuous (a typical manifestation of abuse in girls). Karen, six months, shares Danny's legal advocate, who must represent the interests of both. All three living under the same roof will lead to an inevitable explosion-but for each, Harrison's care offers the greatest hope of a reinvented childhood.
For readers of The Lost Children of Wilder, Expecting Adam, and Somebody Else's Kids, this is the first-person story of a woman whose compassionate best intentions for a child are sometimes all that stand between violence and redemption.