“There’s No Such Thing as Fostering to Adopt” by She Rocks The Cradle  shared from: 

I’ve written this post (with a slightly controversial title) after spending a lot of time in foster parent groups and talking with people who hope to adopt from foster care, and seeing loads of people disappointed. I can absolutely empathize with their disappointment, as we experienced it with Warrior last year. 
This is the post I wish I had read when we first wanted to become foster parents. This is the post I want you to read, so that you do not go into this with a false hope or expectations. 


(Disclaimer: please realize this is one facet, this is based on mine and friends’ experiences, and is not indicative of every case, and of course, there are exceptions to every situation. 😉)
Before you bristle too hard at the title, stick with me.
Back when Milkman and I started our journey to welcome non-biological children into our home, it was with one goal in mind: adoption.
We knew that we wanted to adopt, and we knew that private and international adoption was costly, and were familiar with fostering enough to know that it was a good thing, and thought of it as a means to an end. The end? To adopt a child.
When going through our training and our initial home study interviews, we made our goal clear to our agency from the onset. We were a “Foster to Adopt” home. Foster to adopt… that’s totally a thing, right?

Our first placement was last July. We were asked to take 2 children for a 3 day stint. We agreed to it firstly because it meant our paperwork would be expedited, and secondly because it was so short term. Those 3 days turned into 3 months, and by the end of it, we informed our agency we were no longer looking strictly for “adoptable kids”, but that we were happy to foster with the intent of reunification. 

The next baby we fostered came into our home at 5 days old. He was an “open and shut adoption case”. Guess what? He left us to live with a distant relative 3 months later. Not so open and shut. It was really hard, but he was never ours to begin with. 
Our current fosterling is headed toward eventual reunification, and though we desire to one day have our forever child via the system, I’ve learned something really important: There is no such thing as Foster to Adopt.

The very point of foster care is to be a temporary caregiver. Your social worker could tell you all day that this is a for sure adoption case and even still, foster care should be looked at as a temporary thing. You are to welcome a child into your home, care for them, feed them, love them, protect them, all with the goal of them reunifying.

You then tell me, “Well, I have a friend who adopted through foster care! And I’ve seen all those cute pictures with families holding signs that say how long the child has been in foster care, posed next to their forever family on adoption day!” Yes, we all know people who have adopted from foster care. I hope to be one of those people one day. Some of those people didn’t intend on adoption, but it happened that way. For some, adoption was the initial hope. But let’s think about what has to happen for a child to become “adoptable”. 

If a child in foster care is supposed to be a temporary fix while their biological caregiver gets their ducks in a row, how is it that children are adopted through foster care every day? Because something has gone TERRIBLY wrong. 

“WRONG?? Adoption isn’t wrong!” I didn’t say that. For a child to become “adoptable” a parent’s rights have to be terminated. Let that sink in for just a second. This means that (in general, there are always exceptions) a parent has been given the tools they need to get their child back, and they couldn’t or wouldn’t use those tools in order to reunify. That’s tragic. Even if the foster family that is set to adopt them is the best family in the world, we cannot brush past the real and awful reality that parent and child have a tie that has been severed. Their flesh and blood has lost the legal right to raise and nurture that child. That’s a terrible thing to have to happen. 

Would you not agree, that assuming a parent has followed the steps they need to, and is safe, the best place for a child to be is with their biological family? When I say this I really mean “safe” not “my standards”. It’s easy to think you need to fight reunification because your house is bigger, you provide higher quality food, and you dress them nicer. Those aren’t qualifications for being a parent, though. Your job as a foster parent is to love and care for this child, all the while supporting reunification.
But what about the parents who are really far gone? Well, of course if a parent is abusive, neglectful, crippled with addiction, or can’t see their way out of a relationship with someone who is, those are the cases where adoption becomes necessary.
Am I saying adopting is bad? Absolutely not. It is still mine and Milkman’s deepest desire to adopt a child. But adopting via foster care is a bitter sweet act. One in which a child has to lose one family in order to gain another. 

And this is why I say, there is no foster to adopt. You foster to foster. You foster to reunify. To help this child and their parent get to a place that is safe enough to become a family again. Adoption, is merely a bittersweet tributary off the main course of foster care. A beautiful, yet tragic thing. 

So you still want to be a foster parent if it means giving every single child back to their family? If it means your heart is broken into a million pieces, so that a biological mother’s can be made whole again? So that a father can raise his child with his own culture and blood as their bond? If the answer is no, foster care may not be the right road for you. But if the answer is yes? Then you are in the right frame of mind. And maybe, just maybe, your family will grow through adoption one day. But let that not be your main goal in this journey, lest you be entirely disappointed and crushed. But if you’re willing to take the risk, I can promise you, it is worth every step if the journey.
Want to read more unpopular opinions, follow our foster care and bio parenting journey, take a look at our life living on a working farm, and laugh at the stupid memes I post? Come check out She Rocks the Cradle on Facebook




03.10.2017 by SARAH HARMEYER //

So, you’ve heard it before, on the news, Facebook, or conversations with friends.

It seems bad, or, at least, it should seem bad. The numbers are enormous; it’s talked about with such urgency and you can’t deny it’s a problem. And yet… it’s just not convincing.

You glance at the image again and the phrases run through your mind.
“There’s such a need for foster parents.”
“Our county is in a crisis.”
“Children are being placed 4 hours away because there aren’t enough foster homes to take them.”
So why doesn’t it feel real? Urgent? As desperate as they make it out to be?
You’re sure they’re not lying about this…and yet, if it’s really that bad, where are all the kids?
Why don’t you see them? Know about them?
What’s up with that?
Your question is valid and needed. This might help.
Do you pay attention to the news? Not the big national stuff, but the local news? You know, the store that opened downtown, the food drive happening at the elementary school, the local arrests for drugs or domestic violence?
That news? Well, that is where the need for foster parents is hiding. It’s not broadcast or announced, it can’t be, but if you ask yourself one simple question you’ll start to see it.
What if there were kids involved?
The arrest for domestic violence.
What if there were kids involved?
The shooting at the 7-11.
What if there were kids involved?
The home raided for drugs.
What if there were kids involved?
The media won’t tell you about it, but many times, there are.
There are kids involved.
But the kids are innocent.
And that’s why the media isn’t covering it.
It’s a privacy issue. It isn’t their fault their parents were selling drugs. It isn’t their fault the grownups in their lives tried to solve problems by beating each other up. It isn’t their fault that someone got shot.
It isn’t their fault.
And so the kids are protected. The media doesn’t tell you there were children removed from the home. It doesn’t show the social workers hastily carrying the kids’ clothes out in garbage bags. It doesn’t follow the screaming child to the social worker’s car as he is taken from the only family he’s ever known or loved. It doesn’t announce the surprise visit to the school where the innocent student learns she can’t go home but is instead being escorted to some family she’s never met.
And so the need for foster care hides in plain sight. You don’t hear about it until you become a foster parent. And then you get calls about thirteen children in the course of two weeks. You start to see the situations on the news and realize it’s connected to the child in your home.
The arrest for domestic violence on last night’s news?
There were kids involved.
The shooting at the 7-11 someone posted on Facebook?
There were kids involved.
The home raided for drugs?
There were kids involved.
Those massive, humongo foster care numbers that people always talk about start to pare down to the young people placed with you. They become lives, individuals, in your own community, in your own home.
And you start to realize that this is not some distant problem, it is here. It is now. And you can’t stand the idea of kids spending the night in a social worker’s office because there is nowhere for them to go.
This is the need.
Your own local news means a child near you is in need of a foster home. So what can you do about it?
Maybe it’s not much. Maybe right now, all you can do is share this post and pray.
That’s okay.
DO NOT FEEL BAD ABOUT THAT. You know what is good for you and your situation.
But if you’ve been asking where all the children are, it tells me you care. And now you get it. You realize the reality of your very own community. So, if you are able to do something, here are some suggestions.
Share this post so others are aware too.
Find out who in your life is already fostering. You might be surprised, since this is something foster parents don’t often post about. Put the question out there on your social media networks, then, let your friends know you want to support them the next time a child enters their home.

Bring your friend a meal or two the next time a kiddo arrives (and paper plates!). Don’t ask if she needs this, SHE NEEDS IT! Just bring it. Ask her when they eat dinner, what they eat, and then tell her you’ll bring the requested item 30 minutes before dinner on a specific date. THIS IS HUGE.

If you can’t do the above, call a local restaurant that provides delivery service and order a meal to arrive at your friends’ place 30 minutes before their normal dinner time. They WILL THANK YOU.

Pick up your friend’s laundry, wash, fold and return it to her.

Run to the grocery store for her.

Babysit her other children so she can take the foster child to all the first week medical appointments required.

Get a list of all the things the child didn’t come with and run to the store for those items.

Attend classes at your local DCS to find out what this foster care thing is all about.

Get licensed for “respite” (which really just means caring for a foster child for a week or less).

ASK! Continue to ask foster parents what you can do to support them. The needs of their children change frequently. Many times, those needs are not something you can help with, but continuing to ask is encouragement in itself. Plus, the more you ask, the more they trust that you really do want to help. And the more willing they will be to call you when they DO have a need you can help with.


Today marks the final day of May’s National Foster Care Month 2017. It’s also the month our family was first licensed eight years ago. It’s the month we got our first placement seven years ago, and after having the privilege of fostering 35 children and adopting our two little girls, we are honored to renew our license for two more years . . . and so goes the journey.


Because of the combined efforts of several supportive groups, The Heart of Foster Care has been able to reach out to other counties in Minnesota.  We are pleased to be able to help children of Sherburne and Todd Counties with Bags of Hope, as well as supplying them with new clothing items.  Thanks Suzanne and Kali for accepting and distributing these items to foster children in your counties.

Sherburne County Government Center
Sherburne County, Minnesota

Todd County, MN
Todd County Government Center