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Paula came to me in 2005 and asked if I would help her with a project.  Little did I realize at the time, that this would be the key to unlocking so much emotional trauma in her life.  This project  had haunted her for years yet somehow Paula had not been able to finish it.

I do not know what the catalyst was that she finally reached; but she was determined to chase her past demons away and push through the barriers that kept her from completing the writing up until this point.

During our first meeting, Paula expressed her desire to share her own story in hopes of teaching those involved with foster care, how their words and actions affect the children they care for or manage.  She also conveyed that she cared deeply for youth in her former situation, and that she wanted to do her best to help them.  This book is her gift to those kids.  And, it is her way of making sense of her own family’s suffering.

I am proud to call Paula my very  dear friend, and her tenacity for this project has thoroughly impressed me.  She maintains caring relationships with her foster dad, her children, grandchildren, and even her caseworkers from so many years ago.  As this memoir developed, I have been privileged  to gain an inside perspective, on the turmoil that was her life.  This was painful even to me at times, as we dug through deeper explanations and repressed memories.  To all our delight, Paula came through it, and is a stronger person for it; and I became much more aware of the system in general. 

My hope is that every person working with youth, in any capacity, will read this memoir and take action when they notice signs of abuse and neglect. The children are counting on you.
Kelly Bitner, Contributor and Friend

What an interesting and intensely personal account.  I really could not put this book down; as it told of systems and events so close to my home (since I grew up in Knox County, and later knew Judith Goodhand. I worked as a School Psycholgist in the 70’s, in Knox Co.)  Experiencing the foster care system, as seen through Paula’s eyes, consists of very touching memories, as well as agonizing ones.  Her struggles were amazing.  I have read many books on abuse and neglect over the years; but this one struck a cord…knowing some of the people.

Her will to survive through things no child should have to experience, (and her eventual growth and adjustment) with help from Judith and her adoptive family, and others, made this book worth reading.
Carol Detmer, Special Education Consultant
Kentucky Special Education Cooperative, 2009

I met Paula about four years ago through a good friend.  Because I am a retired clinical social worker, and interested in writing myself (I have had several articles and poems published over a period of three years) she shared some of her background of abuse and foster homes with me.  I was then privileged to read her memoir.  It is an incredible story and one that, I believe every person interested in social work intervention and/or the problems faced by children in abusive situations, should read.

Paula has written in a very direct, honest way that seems to take the reader into her life and experience.  It is as if she is reliving it as she writes.  It is obvious that she is writing from her heart, not only for herself, but for her sisters who went through hell with her. 

She does not seem to spare the truth in order to protect the guilty, yet for those who were kind and loving, she is equally strong in her portrayal of their influence in helping her to be the strong and caring person she is today.  I appreciate her honesty and the resulting in affirmation, that is really is possible to change the lives of these children who are caught in the cracks of the childcare/foster care system (even victims of the worst case scenarios.) 

I hope this book will be published and given high priority for marketing, and I recommend it for anyone interested in children’s issues; all social workers and professionals dealing in any way with children, but especially or those who work in the area of intervention for child abuse. 

Furthermore, I would like to see this book used as a state issued mandatory prerequisite for anyone who is about to take on the role of a foster parent.
Pattie Ruble, Retired Clinical Social Worker

This book has been a labor of love and self-determination for the author as she relives the traumatic events of her childhood and her foster care experiences.  Discovering the truth, surrounding her entry into the foster care system, and the events that lead to this life-changing event make for a very interesting, and heartfelt read.  Sharing the author’s journey to recapture those stolen childhood memories is better than any mystery I have ever read.  The foster parents, agencies, and advocates who provided love, stability and a sense of belonging to the author clearly demonstrate that it truly does take a community to raise a child.
Lisa Rutter, longtime friend

Having been an Educator for thirty-five years, reading this story was very difficult at times. Many times I wanted to put the book away but then I was drawn back to it, wanting to know the outcome.  This is a story that anyone who works with children, in any capacity, should read.  I recommend this book as reading literture for any childhood education course.  When I began my teaching career in 1974, I was not prepared to deal with children who were abused or neglected in any way.  Over the years, the schools have made teachers more aware of the signs to look for which should be acted upon immediately.

While reading this memoir I read words from Paula that made me look back over the course of thirty-five years only to wonder how many signs of neglect I overlooked out of not being trained to notice.  This made me very sad.

I have called on Children’s Services many times to look into situations where I felt something was drastically wrong.  In fact, the last day of my teaching career I had to call them concerning a child in my class.

I applaud Paula for wanting to get the word out about foster children and foster care.  Thank goodness there are many kind families who will open their homes to children in need.  I know writing this has been very difficult for her but it is truly an amazing story.
Jan Hawkins, Retired School Teacher

Paula first shared her story with me seven years ago.  I urged her to too finish the memoir.  She survived some of the worst physical and emotional abuse imaginable and, through it, became the wonderful and caring person that she is.  Writing about it would not not be easy.  To tell the story would mean that she would have to go through it all over a gain, thinking and reliving the episodes that threatened to tear her life apart.  However, I felt that however hard it would be for Paula to write it, there are many people that need to hear it.

Many people are going through the same kind of abuse and wonder how they can ever survive, and there are others who have or are going through it, yet feel very alone and isolated because allowing anyone to know about the pain and abuse that was their childhood is just too embarrassing for them.   Knowing that they are not alone could change their life and help them to understand that the horrible experiences they went through can even enrich their life.

Seeing how Paula survived and became a productive member of society, as well as a loving mother and frandmother gives the kind of hope that can really make a difference to people who may be tempted to give up.

Paula did a really good job in putting together he important relationships, events and feelings that made up some of the most horrific periods of her life.  I am so happy that, finally, her story will be available for others who need to read it.
Maria Rosales, Co-Worker and Friend

“On the Edge of Unthinkable” is a book that truly opened my eyes to the life and experiences of a Foster Child.  I did not put this book down once while reading it and it caught my attention at the very start.  It is amazing how these children experience so much tragedy, abuse and change at such a young age.  It is absolutely the horrific childhood of confusion and abuse.

One of the many parts of this book that really caught my attention was how the children stayed together through it all.  I think the case workers really tried to keep these children close and calm.  They were always excited to see each other and continued to want to be close to each other.  People in Paula’s childhood seemed to have played a big part in her growing up.  Foster parents and counselors might not realize this at first,  but the children do not forget who cared and loved them when they need it at most.  This book shows that and a child remembers that.  The words of case workers really seemed to make a difference in her life. 

Buffy Fisher (Case Worker) was mentioned in the book about telling Paula to never let the system and her experiences make her hard.  She told her to always be herself and never change.  Those are the words that really seem to have stuck with her through thick and thin.  This book shows that case workers and directors really do have an impact on these lives and even though it might not be noticed now, it really had played a huge part.

Judith Goodhand in her wisdom, and concern, directed and guided many case workers through these kids.  I believe these kids are who they are today because of the care and love they received from these child warriors.  They seem to have taken the extra step and effort for Paula and kids like her all the time.  This book has brought a whole new positive meaning of Children Services.

I think this a very strong, complex, eye opening and educating book that will reach the hearts of those who read this.  I think this book with definitely reach adults and children who have experienced this kind of life and even those who have not.  This book will touch the case workers who never really know if they made a difference.  You experience the life of a child who is involved in this system and how children need love and care and how they can be provided by these very humble and unnoticed, wonderful people.
Kellie Cosgrave, Co-Worker and Friend

I cannot remember a time when Bonnie Ulrey’s influence in matters of faith, and a practival application of that faith in life, did not have a positive effect on my choices and decisions as a young wife and mother.  Bonnie’s outreach into her community was varied and widespread.  She volunteered many hours to enterprises of faith and to non-profit organizations.  She was a good sounding board for serious issues and had a great sense of humor with a twinkle in her beautiful eyes.  Though she was looking forward to Larry’s retirement years, having raised four children of their own, it was no surprise to me when she ultimately chose to fit in with her husband’s desire that they become foster parents.

I do not think Bonnie ever saw a need that she did not try to meet, or ever shrank from a task that others would find daunting.  She and Larry believed in the value of each life and looked well to the welfare of others.  Paula’s account of all that she and her sisters suffered was shocking and heartbreaking.  They were SURVIVORS and OVERCOMERS!  The sincere efforts made by their Social Workers, and the readiness of Larry and Bonnie Ulrey to take responsibility for Paula’s future, offering the same aide to Sharon and Terry, was the necessary link leading the “life and that more abundant” that we would all desire.  The delight is ours, the legacy is theirs!
Jolene M. Stulka, Retired Executive Director , Knox County Interchurch Social Services