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Hardcover Hope Meadows: Real Life Stories of Healing and Caring from an Inspiring Community Book

ISBN: 0425178404

ISBN13: 9780425178409

Hope Meadows: Real Life Stories of Healing and Caring from an Inspiring Community

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Format: Hardcover

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Book Overview

Pairing senior citizens with unwanted foster children, Hope Meadows is the brainchild of a determined sociologist. Built on an abandoned Air Force base in Illinois, the community is a remarkable town that's changing lives by making dreams come true. It's a place where unadoptable children are given the chance to thrive in permanent homes. A book to share with friends, Hope Meadows is a tribute to the resilience of the human spirit and a very special...

Customer Reviews

4 ratings

Inspiring and touching- an amazing community!

I just finished reading Hope Meadows, and I am excited about this book, and the community it represents. The book tells the stories of children, adoptive parents, and older adults who live in a community that focuses on family. Seniors in the community volunteer to work with the kids, who, in turn, help out the seniors. Most of the children at Hope Meadows come from abusive backgrounds and have a multitude of behavioral and physical problems. Wes Smith has done an excellent job bringing these stories to life for the reader- you feel as though these are your neighbors. I HIGHLY recommend this book!....I actually cried reading some of these stories- if this book doesn't move you, nothing will!

Profiles of Caring Adults Providing Hope for the Unadopted

I have always thought that good foster parents deserved to be viewed as heroines and heroes by our society. Those who do even more and help the children with the greatest needs perhaps qualify as saints. And if they do more than that, I'm afraid that my language skills fall short of being able to capture my full respect and admiration. Naturally, there are never enough of such wonderful people. Unfortunately, many children cannot get foster care and live in orphanages. Others are abused in foster care in various ways. Others live in homes where parents do not take good care of them. Recently, I read Build Your Own Life Brand! and was drawn to the profile in there of Ms. Brenda Eheart's work in establishing Hope Meadows, a community for children who would never ordinarily be adopted. Nationally, over 20,000 children "age out" of state care each year without such adoptions. Having worked with such children had broken her heart, and she determined to do something about it. This book details her efforts and what has evolved from them.Hope Meadows emerged from Ms. Eheart's dream of a new kind of community that would match willing foster parents with foster children who had special needs, but also supported by some part-time foster grandparents and some professionals. A closed air force base and her lobbying efforts led to a grant from the state legislature in Illinois to buy housing for the community. Operations began in 1994.The idea is to put together a whole community of caring adults with the time and resources to give troubled children the extra time, care, love, and attention that they need to have more normal lives. Hope Meadows is supported by the legislature and private gifts. The foster family gets $19,000 in salary, plus free housing. The seniors get low-cost housing. Professionals are in the community to provide training and support. The annual cost for a child here is around $20,000. This is more than the $13,000 usually spent in Illinois on foster care, but less than the $28,000 that juvenile correctional facilities cost per inmate. Most would agree that the extra expense for these children with the most difficult problems is well worth it. The book mostly details the volunteers who live here, the children they have adopted or assist, and the challenges they have all faced together. Despite very difficult problems, so far around 90 percent of the children placed here have remained. The volunteers were sometimes foster children or lived in orphanages themselves. Some of the children tell how they want to become foster parents when they grow up. Most of the seniors and adoptive parents have something missing in their lives that the community offers. In some cases it is the chance to have children, and in other cases it is the need to be needed. Many are idealistic people who want to help children, and are working at the limits of their capacity to do so. Single moms with education in this area are raising five and

Beautifully written, heartfelt truelife stories

A beautifully written book by a talented author about an inspirational community started by a remarkable woman! Wes Smith's writing brings to life the story of Brenda Eheart's noble efforts to build a successful innovative alternative to foster care and adoption. As Smith so eloquently describes "It is a deceptively simple approach crafted by an improbable advocate in a most unlikely place." I couldn't put the book down! The brown-toned portraits collaged on the inside covers initially caught my eye because of their beauty, but by the end I could look at those same pictures and feel like I knew those faces, those smiles. I find myself wishing that I did know them or that I might meet them someday. Smith writes each chapter focusing on a single family/resident of Hope Meadows. Each chapter is an intriguing story in its own right, yet the stories interweave the lives of other residents as well, just as all the lives interweave at Hope Meadows to create the success of this inter-generational, inter-racial community. Smith writes in his introduction "In a world that often seems self-absorbed and hard-hearted beyond belief, it restores your faith in humanity to find that there are still people who believe they can make things better by reaching out and giving of their talents and their time." You will come away inspired by the human spirit and grateful that you had the opportunity to read this book.

Small Town "Hope"

Hope Meadows- a beautifully written account of a unique foster care community in rural Illinois envisioned and founded by Brenda Eheart; a woman who refused to take no for an answer. The accounts of the lives of these children and their "foster grandparents" who reside in this unusual setting will touch you, as it did me, in a profound way. It is deeply moving but without pretense. The families lives remain seriously complicated, and nobody pretends to have all of the answers. Yet the community thrives on simple "small town" values and an abundance of physical affection that serves to pierce through the horrendous experiences of these innocent children to their most basic of needs...to be loved and acknowledged by another human being. I too found "hope" in the perseverance of Brenda and her staff.
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