One Year in Foster Care

Saturday, October 1st,  marked one year since Zoe entered foster care.

She reminded me of this as she left for the high school football game Friday night, asking if we were going to celebrate. That made me pause.

I wasn’t sure if a year in foster care was cause for celebration, but if she feels it is, then it is. After all, this is her story.

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It should be marked, remembered, made note of – and if that means doughnuts on Saturday morning, then I guess that’s a celebration.

Because that’s what happened here. Russ picked up doughnuts for Zoe before he left with the boys for the first of two football games that morning.

When  Zoe rolled out of bed (three hours later, of course) I pointed out the special treat in her honor, and she was pleased. I told her we’re so glad to have this time with her in our family.

Zoe feels like part of our family now, not in a “we claim her as our own” way, but in a “we’re comfortable together” way.

She spent her first eight months with another family, and the last four with us. It is our blessing and joy to be her foster family.

Last Thursday we went to court. It was my first time in court because our last court date was the day of Wogauyu’s emergency appendectomy. I met more of her family, which was great, and we had plenty of time to visit in the waiting room.

When it was our turn in court, it was brief, and our next court date was scheduled for mid-January.

We’ll miss Zoe when she is gone, but we’re pulling for her family and want the very best for them. She is eager to be back with her family and misses them very much.

A friend recently said, “I couldn’t be a foster parent, I would get too attached and want to adopt her,” referring to Zoe. I pointed out, “But here’s the thing, she has a mom and dad, she doesn’t need to be adopted. We get to be like extended family when she goes home. We love her and she’ll visit, but we don’t get to be her parents. She has parents.”

Every situation is unique, but in this one, we need to keep our heads and hearts in the right place, on the side of reunification and the hope of a happy, healthy family for Zoe.


*Zoe is the name our foster daughter chose to use on the blog. It is not her real name.

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Kerri
    October 18, 2016

    What a perfect response: “We don’t get to be her parents. She has parents.” I’d sure love to see the church do more to help families who have kids in foster care move towards reunification. At the same time, I think a healthy foster situation can provide another set of loving adults in a child/young adult’s life and who wouldn’t benefit from that? So thankful that the Lord has provided a safe place for her in this season.

    1. Lisa Qualls
      October 18, 2016

      I agree, Kerri. We’re talking about that as we develop a foster care ministry in our church. How do we support families as they move toward reunification?


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