Maroon Edition book author challenges new MSU students to seize opportunities

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STARKVILLE, Miss.—International best-selling author Ashley Rhodes-Courter encouraged Mississippi State students attending Fall Convocation to step out of their comfort zones and translate what they learn in the classroom into powerful and productive actions. Students can show themselves and others what they are truly made of in the process, she said.

Rhodes-Courter was the keynote speaker Tuesday [Aug. 16] as an estimated 3,700 first-year freshmen and 1,800 transfer students gathered for MSU’s third Fall Convocation in Humphrey Coliseum. Continue reading

WUNC: Life After Foster Care

APR 27, 2016

More than 400,000 children in the United States are living in foster care. The statistics about what happens to these children later in life are startling: only about 50 percent finish high school, less than 10 percent go on to higher education. Ashley Rhodes-Courter is an exception to this statistic, but she has devoted her life’s work to speaking out on behalf of her many former foster care siblings who continue to struggle.

Host Frank Stasio talks with Rhodes-Courter, author of “Three Little Words” (Simon Pulse/2008) and “Three More Words,”(Atheneum/2015) about her 10 years in foster care and her work as social worker and advocate. She will be speaking at fundraising events for the Children’s Home Society on Thursday, April 28 in Greensboro, Thursday, May 5 in Raleigh, and Thursday, May 12 in Charlotte.

MSU’s 2016 Maroon Edition book focuses on finding, embracing the power of one’s voice

STARKVILLE, Miss.— The inspirational story of a woman overcoming her troublesome early years in foster care is Mississippi State’s 2016 Maroon Edition book selection.

Published in 2008 by Simon and Schuster, international bestselling author Ashley Rhodes-Courter’s “Three Little Words: A Memoir” grew out of her award-winning essay that was published in 2003 by New York Times Magazine. Continue reading

Foster Focus Magazine: Babies Don’t Belong Under the Christmas Tree: An Open Letter from an Adult Adoptee

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In what they described as “one of the most magical experiences,” a Texas family posted a video on social media of their three daughters seeing their new baby brother for the first time. Captions accompanying the viral announcement included: “Sisters find newly-adopted baby brother under the tree,” “Parents hide new son under the Christmas tree for daughters,” and “Sisters’ adoption surprise!”

The children and family seem thrilled, but as an adult adoptee, adoptive mother, and social worker, I cringed and wished this family had been given better counsel. Not wanting to be hasty or “overly sensitive,” I asked professional peers and child advocates for their opinion. Most agreed that this video sends a variety of disturbing message to those not familiar with the intricacies of adoption. It was also the general consensus that surprising family members with a human being is not advised under any circumstance. Continue reading