Book Review: Raising Other People’s Children

What Foster Parenting Taught Me about Bringing Together a Blended Family

Single foster parent Debbie Ausburn has a 40-year career working with at-risk youth and the organizations that serve them. Now, Ausburn has put together a book detailing what she’s learned working with young people and how it relates to her new relationship with her stepchildren.

“Raising Other People’s Children” is a quick read. Its 10 chapters offer important takeaways for any parent, such as “Take Care of Yourself,” “Loss and Trauma Change Our Children” and “Engineer Logical Consequences of a Child’s Decisions.” Ausburn includes specific examples of challenges many blended families face navigating relationships and behaviors and shares how through trial and error, she learned how to parent the children who’ve become part of her family and her life.

This short read is jam-packed with an abundance of good advice for foster, adoptive, kinship and stepparent families. With all of the examples she shares, it’s easy to grasp the topics Ausburn addresses, and take away some very useful tips for navigating those issues. Most foster parents will see some of the writer’s experiences reflected in their own foster parenting experience. Some of the tips she provides could even be “ah-ha” moments for parents who’ve been deep in power struggles and are having a tough time figuring out how to best help the children in their care. Unlike other parenting books out there, this one offers first-hand experiences that most foster, adoptive and kinship families will relate to.

At 144 pages, “Raising Other People’s Children” makes a handy resource guide and is definitely a book worth reading.

— Reviewed by Kim Phagan-Hansel

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Raising Other People’s Children, author Debbie Ausburn

What Foster Parenting Taught Me about Bringing Together a Blended Family

Forward by Natalie Ford, Ph.D.

Hatherleigh Press, 2021, ISBN: 978-1-57826-899-3, 144 pages, $20