Review of Another Mother’s Love – Karen Scott

Posted: August 8, 2014 in memoir, nonfiction, Review

another mother

Karen Scott and Mark Finlay wanted to offer their love to another child and decided to adopt through Child, Youth. Family Services (CYF), the New Zealand children’s social service. After two years of waiting they were asked to foster a five year old boy for a few days. Within a few hours, James was delivered to their home with nothing but the clothes he wore. They lavished love and attention on him but were not permitted to know details about his background; due to privacy laws CYF cannot reveal information about foster children or their backgrounds.

Two years of hell followed as he battled with his behaviour and to get him the professional help he desperately needed. James was gentle, charming, and loving, though he also displayed a variety of troubling behaviours.   When the family’s cherished pets started being harmed or going missing, Karen and Mark were confronted with a terrible truth – and had to make the agonizing decision that James could no longer stay with their family.

This was a powerful story and heartbreaking to read; I can’t imagine the strength it took to write it. The way CYF seems to work is frustrating – the fuss about a haircut was unbelievable. I know in some cultures children’s hair isn’t cut till a certain age but when a child isn’t of the culture that has that belief it is ridiculous to refuse a haircut if needed. Common sense is needed! It must be so demoralizing to work in that system, trying to protect children while facing a wall of stupid bureaucracy.

The love the family gave was impressive and the decision they had to make is gut-wrenching. I’m so sad it had to be made but it was the only option without endangering the rest of the family.


Supplied by Penguin Group (NZ)

Reviewed by Jan


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