When a drunk driver orphans ten children, their plea to stay together sparks international news—and prompts a trust fund that attracts corrupt and abusive fostering.
“They’re not dead, are they?” The officer’s body visibly slumped as he delivered his final nod.
From that July day in 1968 on, the Morris family became the Morris orphans: ten children who attracted nationwide attention, and a trust fund that didn’t bring out the best in those who fostered them. Kathi, the oldest, was only seventeen when her parents were killed by a drunk driver. This is her story—behind the headlines—of when the Morris orphans only had their mutual loss and each other.
Kathi Morris is the oldest of the ten Morris orphans and currently lives in Clovis, California. This memoir was a finalist in the 2019 San Francisco Writers Conference. She won grand prize at the iconic Sardine Factory in Monterey, California, where the movie Play Misty for Me was filmed, for her written tribute on their fiftieth anniversary commemoration. After a thirty-five-year career with the IRS, surviving divorce and ovarian cancer, she retired and worked for Pebble Beach Resorts. Her greatest joys are her children and grandchildren, and her dream is to own a home in Monterey Bay.
"Kathi Morris' book is a must-read for anyone who cares about children and, particularly, those in our child welfare bureaucracy. Hers is a timeless tale of children damaged by the acts of adults charged with their wellbeing. Timeless because the convenience of courts and caretakers all too often take precedence over children in need of help. Because I spent decades in court as a Child Welfare Law Specialist, this narrative resonates. Judges, attorneys, caregivers, and relatives need this story. Kathi offers hard-won advice and information to every person with a passion to protect kids."
– W. Richard Bailey, Esq., CWLS
"Kathi Morris and her siblings lived a nightmare no one, regardless of their age, should have to endure. We Were the Morris Orphans is a poignant story of unspeakable loss, resilience, faith, and love."
– Bonnie Hearn Hill, Author of "The River Below"
"In her long-awaited memoir, Kathi Morris tells the rest of the story of the ten Morris orphans—through raw emotions, heartbreaking recollections, and unexpected moments of humor. Her book will touch your heart and give you faith in the resiliency of the human spirit. Ultimately, it is a message of hope that you are stronger than you think."
– Linda Gannaway, Ed.D., Speaker, Coach and Author of "The Power of Life Lessons"
"Orphaned at seventeen, Kathi Morris tells the story of how she tried to cope with the deaths of her parents, the breakup of her family, and the loss of two of her brothers. We Were the Morris Orphans, is the heartbreaking, compelling story of a family torn apart and a courageous teenager's struggle to survive."
– Hazel Dixon-Cooper, Author of "Confessions of a Fat Cosmo Girl: How I Lost 122 Pounds & Kept it Off & How You Can Too"