Fostering & Adoption. It's Not For Us.

It's taken me some time to find the words to express this, people. I mean, I've talked this issue over with John, my brother and sister, and my parents for many, many months, but it's hard to write it down.

Writing it for you all to see makes it even more final.

The fact is, over the last two years we've discovered that being foster parents isn't for us. Neither is adopting through the state of Iowa.

It's just not for us. And it makes my heart hurt.

We haven't been extremely involved in the foster care system in the last two years that we've been licensed, but we've done a short term placement and several respite jobs (babysitting) for other foster families. In November of 2012 we were very lucky with one of our respite jobs to connect with a fantastic family who was caring for a 7-week old baby boy. He stole our hearts, and we were able to become attached to him over 8 months of respite care. Granted, we didn't see him daily, sometimes only once a month, but we started to love him.

And we wanted to adopt him, should he become available.

But 8 months later, he didn't become available, he went back to his birth parents. We're sad, but that's the goal of the Iowa foster care system: Reunite children with their birth families. We have to accept that the Department of Human Services thinks the best place for this little man is with his birth parents, who haven't had him since he was one day old.

But that's neither here nor there, is it?

I probably sound a little bitter, don't I? Sorry.

Today, this brings us to a fork in the road. We renewed our adoption/foster care license only because of the slight chance that we could adopt this baby boy. Now that this chance is gone, we feel like the renewal was a waste of time. We have no intentions of adopting any other child, and do not want to take any foster placements.

Our license will be valid for one more year, and we only intend to provide respite care (babysitting) for other foster families when we are not traveling, which will be sporadic, at most.

Well, I guess that's it, isn't it? It feels pretty good to write it for you, actually.

Any of you have any experience as foster parents, adoptive parents, or respite providers? We'd love to hear from you! 


  1. Kelli, the scenario you described is precisely why we chose NOT to adopt through the foster care system. Kudos to you and John for opening your home to children through respite care. And, should adoption be a choice you make down the road, I'd be glad to chat with you about it. =)

    1. Hi Jaimie! Thanks for your support. I am thrilled for you two, and love reading about Hannah and her adventures :)

  2. I have one biological child and two girls I adopted from China through an adoption agency. Like you I was not impressed with our state agency as an adoption resource and chose to go through a private agency instead. I am thrilled and overjoyed being a parent to these lovely girls of mine and can't imagine my life without them. You may contact me if you wish to discuss my experience further. I would welcome that. My email is on my blog. Enjoy your day and I wish you all the best.

    1. Hi Thrifty Mom! Thank you for your words of encouragement - we have considered international adoption, but aren't sure if it's something we want to pursue yet. There are so many options for becoming a parent; choosing the right one is intimidating. Your positive experience (along with many others we've heard of) is something that gives us hope!

  3. I cannot imagine how difficult this must be. How heartbreaking to fall in love with a child and not be able to adopt them. I'd like to think the state is "doing the right thing", but the government is not so good running a lot of things. I do hope they do better in these situations. Bless you both for being so loving and giving to volunteer for foster and respite care. I can certainly see how it would be heart wrenching. Thanks for sharing!

    Please join us again Thursday at:
    The HomeAcre Hop


    1. Thanks, Ann. I was at a birthday party the other night and spoke with a {new} friend who also wanted to adopt through foster care and shared similar sentiments. Feeling like we weren't alone didn't make us feel better; it just made it less 'raw'. Thanks for hosting 'the Hop' - I'll be around next week!

  4. We have fostered 5 children thru the state of Iowa and adopted one ....her birth mom was fighting to get her back until the very end...she surprised us by ASKING us to adopt her daughter! What a shocker after almost a year of having her in our home. Please don't give up, somewhere out there God has a child that will be chosen just for YOU!

    Be specific in your requests to The Lord and he ill answer you in HIS time. We have three biological sons, and one daughter granted to us as a gift from our Savior! Our lives are forever changed. We lost our 2nd born on at 2 1/2 months old and we were devastated and debated about trying to have more children....glad we made the decision in the end to say YES! keep your chin up and your hands and heart open for what God has planned for you. I'm positive everything happens for a reason.

    1. Thanks for the positivity! We need that from time to time :)

  5. We have foster adopt kids- 2 adopted and three bio kids. We always thought we wanted babies and we actually found out we didn't' like the younger ages. We LOVE elementary kids and still foster them from time to time. Like you, we could tell the good and bad stories for ever. But what strikes me about your journey - is that while it was trying and frustrating, written between your sentences is the depth of your capacity as a great mom/friend/mentor/person. Whatever that shakes out to be, I have no doubt you will excel. You have a heart, you love passionately and protect fiercely. That's a person I'd want on my side, in my life. Friend, mom, whatever :)


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