Cathy Glass is the pseudonym of a foster carer, and has cared for more than a hundred chidren in the last 25 years. She has written many books about bringing up children, including three novels based on true stories and at least 17 memoirs about her experiences with some of the children who came in to her care.
A Baby’s Cry is the heartbreaking true story of a mother torn between fear and love for her newborn child.
When Cathy is first asked to foster one-day-old Harrison (“son of”) Smith, her main concern is if she will remember how to look after such a young baby. But in collecting him from the hospital, she quickly realises she has a lot more to worry about than her first thought. With a background shrouded in secrecy, hushed responses to Cathy’s queries and very few people even aware of Harrison’s existence, it becomes clear that this very sad situation has more than it initially meets the eye. Cathy and her two children, Adrian and Paula, bond with Harrison, but when a woman they don’t know starts appearing in the street outside their house, acting suspiciously, Cathy begins to fear for the safety of all of her family.
There is a lot of mystery surrounding Harrison’s mother, Rihanna, who left a suitcase of a baby’s things and clothes for the first year and a letter addressed to ‘Dear Foster Carer’. Harrison is an incredible miracle of new life, so beautiful and alert, so small but perfect in every way; yet his existence is a complete secret and has to remain so. His parents are not married and cannot marry; their relationship should never have happened. It involves traditional and cultural norms and differences.
During this period, Cathy is also a respite carer for six-year-old Ellie, suffering from Post Traumatic Stress. Ellie has witnessed cruelty like watching her pet cat’s claws pulled out by pliers, and she has been burnt by her mother’s boyfriend’s cigarette butts on her back and bottom, hit by him with a belt and her mother shut her in a cupboard – another child abused by the very people who should have been loving and protecting her. Cathy writes up a log book of notes on Ellie, just like she does for Harrison and all the children she has fostered in a fostering folder for the Social Services.
Meanwhile, things around Harrison continue to intensify. There is a lot of mystery and confidentiality surrounding the case, and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough to find out what happens next. There is an unexpected twist to the situation, but the ending is a happy one.