You Gotta Be Crazy to Adopt From Foster Care

Dawn Davenport


If you’ve adopted from foster care or are thinking about it, you’re sure to hear some version of “Are You Crazy?!?” Oh sure, they may be too polite to actually utter the words, but you know that’s what they are thinking by the funny looks you get and the questions they ask.  Without further adieu we bring you Creating a Family’s answer to “Are you crazy?” You might just be surprised that we agree.

You gotta be crazy to adopt from foster care

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Share your story in the comments below. Did you hear some version of “Are you crazy?” when you mentioned the possibility of adopting from foster care?

Creating A Family

02/11/2016 | by Dawn Davenport | Categories: Adoption, Adoption Blog, Blog, Fostering, Fostering Blog, Other Adoption Resources, Other Fostering Resources | 42 Comments

42 Responses to You Gotta Be Crazy to Adopt From Foster Care

  1. Pingback: You Gotta Be Crazy – Wolfpack Adoption Journey

  2. Avatar Steve R says:

    Our family consists of 3 biological children, 2 adopted, and 2 parents.

    Stress, illness, loss and hardship are inevitable in families, regardless of whether you adopt. Thankfully, this in no way dimishes the joy that results, at least in the long term.

    In our case, we face a variety of challenges that are not solely confined to our adopted children: three of us suffer with chronic back trouble, three with hypertension, one is receiving treatment an anxiety disorder, one has Cystic Fibrosis with diabetic complications, and another deals daily with the consequences of FAE.

    My response to the “are you crazy” question is simple: If you feel that you couldn’t adopt a child because you want the safety of a perfect family, then you aren’t ready to be a parent yet.


    The words “for better or for worse” (or more accurately, for better AND for worse) apply just as well to being a parent, a sibling or a child, as they do to our marriage vows.

  3. Avatar debra ranew says:

    I was adopted by The Gardner Family of Kentucky,1956,It turned out come to find out that my stepmother knew my mother and my father,which I did not find out until I was 21 yrs old!

  4. Avatar Nichol says:

    This is absolutely beautiful. Is this something we could print to share?

  5. Avatar Jenny says:

    I’m waiting for phone calls now, for a child to be available for Foster/adopt. I’m so impatient. We want to start our family. 3 years ago after we did infertility. We found out my eggs stop producing. 2 weeks after that I found out I was going through. P.o.f (pre ovarian failure ). I was and still am having hot flashes night sweats. But I’m not giving up I want a family. If anyone can help or know of any other agency that is quicker. Please email me. Thank you

  6. Avatar Shawna says:


    I’m looking for non religious blogs to read regarding foster care. If anyone knows of any can you please email me at

    They don’t have to be against religion lol but I’d like to read blog entries that don’t says things like “god’s timing” and I don’t want to have to wade through bible verses Etc…


  7. Avatar Katy says:

    Great post! I love it!!! Especially the prayer at the end. I often got asked ‘how was it?’ or some variation of that (in ref to our adoption from foster care or the placement of the kids, etc). I have never come up with a satisfactory-to-me answer bc there is simply not a short answer. But what I have settled for is this: It has been one of the hardest things we have ever done, but it is also one of the most wonderful. I echo another post: Since when do things of wonder and value come EASY?!

    Having said that, I also echo the frustration of those who posted about the long waits and delays. When we are told that there are SO many in need of adoption AND that older kids and sibling groups are especially in need of homes, then WHY does it take so long to match eager parents willing to accept both? After 5 years since we started this ride, with adoption finally happening 6 months ago, I can only say that the system is flawed, that I don’t know exactly how to fix it, but that we should!

    Thanks for the wonderful show, Dawn!! It was and continues to be a wonderful resource to me!
    PS. I am still waiting for the VERY PRACTICAL tips for raising kids with FASD. 🙂

    • Avatar Linda says:

      Katie, my heart goes out to you. We adopted three siblings from our provincial foster care system. We asked for no FASD and were told there was no FASD but….within weeks we were sure there was FASD and requested that all three be tested and we were correct but at that time we could not bring our selves to let the kids go back into the system as we had told them we were their forever family. That will be eight years ago in February. I would love to have follow up communication with you if you are willing. Our three are now 12, 14 and 18. When we adopted they were 4 1/2, 6 and 10.

  8. Avatar 2ADOPT2 says:

    Katie, Reactive Attachment Disorder is a great example of where the system fails. Foster and adoptive parents are led to believe that with the the “right” therapy, the “right parenting” and time the kids will heal. However, having lived with a child with RAD for over 5 years, we have yet to see any core neurological changes. Lying, stealing, and misdirected anger continue to be a way of life for him. He shows no remorse or empathy. With RAD, the definition of an “older” child is skewed. Our son was placed in foster care at 2.5 years old. We have four adopted children and RAD is by far the biggest challenge we have faced in our lives.

  9. Avatar Katie says:

    As Jennifer said above, just because it isn’t the child’s fault that they are in Foster care does NOT mean that everything will be fine and normal. Prospective parents (especially those who are taking in children who have been in foster care for a long time, children who have been in foster care since a very young age, and children who have lived thru serious trauma and/or neglect) need to be warned about and trained on RAD – Reactive Attachment Disorder. It’s not fair to the families to take in the children, thinking that all will be perfectly fine if they love each other, only to find out that it is SO much harder than that, sometimes even impossible to have the expected family. And it is unspeakably unfair to the children to be placed in a(nother) family, being told that this may be their adoptive family, only to get moved again because the new family (followed by family after family) simply wasn’t prepared for the truth of a foster child because no one told them about the truth of it. I realize not all foster kids are severely damaged, but it isn’t a small number by any means!

  10. Avatar Heather says:

    We fostered 10 children and adopted four of them our house is full and noisy and we are all a little crazy but I wouldn’t change my life for anything!

    • Avatar Amy Cunningham says:

      We were foster parents for approximately 6 years. We cared for some amazing and beautiful as well as smart kiddos. Our main goal has Always been to adopt. But the kiddos we have fostered all had to go back. We have interviewed three times and each time are told we are not a match and also mentioned parenting skills (which I don’t agree with that because we have both have older adult children.
      I have wondered before if it could be our age 🙁 I sure hope not bc we both love kiddos. I’m 53 and my husband is 65. We love going places and doing things. My husband is retired military and I have my Associates Degree of Science in Medical Assisting. Any thoughts? W are looking to adopt kiddos from the age of 6/7 to 10/12 years of age possibly a little older.

  11. Avatar 2ADOPT2 says:

    Truth be told, the fost adopt system should be placed on hold until some child-focused changes are implemented. The continued focus on “services” for birth parents and long list of evaluations for unfit relative placements, leaves foster and adoptive parents to deal with the emotional, social, developmental, and neurological damage inflicted on the child. The child’s right to be in a stable environment are thrown out the door in favor of antiquated processes that force the child to endure the emotional roller coaster of mandatory visitation. The child’s rights are lost and that loss creates a lifetime of healing. The true experience of raising a child subjected to neglect, abuse, and a broken system is untold in any book. Foster and adoptive parents give up their lives as they knew them to try to to help put the pieces back together for a child. It is a tough tough puzzle that may never fit together perfectly.

  12. Avatar Erica says:

    I have adopted two girls, one teen and one special needs, both out of foster care. When I first started fostering, I didn’t want to adopt…now that I’ve done it, I’ve opened my heart to the possibility of many more!

  13. Avatar Cynthia Leigh says:

    Hi, I know I read somewhere that you have to have a support system in place. I really don’t have family to speak of and my husband only has his sister. At first she was not very supported, but she has now. So my question is, what is required in the area of a support system?

    • Cynthia, support systems do not have to be family. Some of the best support systems I know of are churches, adoption support groups, and friends. Often we speak of professional support when we speak of support systems. Who are the therapists that specialize in abuse, trauma and adoption in your community. Who are the occupational therapist, who works with kids with learning differences, is respite care available, etc. It’s not that you will be guaranteed to need these systems, but good to know that they are there in advance of needing them.

  14. Avatar Annie B says:

    Very blessed mom of two from fost-adopt. Not always an easy road – but honestly, how many things of great value are easy? And we did “lose” a daughter to her paternal grandmother when the adoption was almost final. But things work out…I wouldn’t have the amazing daughter I was blessed six months later. I say just strap on a seatbelt and enjoy the ride. It’s worth it! By the way, I was a foster child who aged out the system. I was orphaned with no adult relatives at 13, and remained in foster care until the day I turned 18.

  15. Avatar Jennifer McClure says:

    We adopted our 3 from foster care. Two at ages 8 & 11, one at 5 weeks. While everything you say is true, it’s a bit sugar-coated. Although what happens to these kids is not their fault, the damage is often considerable. The realities of adoption from foster care cannot be under-estimated. All forms of abuse can have terrible impacts on kids’ abilities to heal and form new attachments to healthy families. It serves no one to enter this process with rose-colored glasses thinking (and I’ve heard this a lot), “if you just love them enough, everything will be fine.” Search your heart, and learn about impacts of abuse and neglect before entering this journey.

  16. Avatar Amy says:

    I really liked this graphic, except the part about choosing level of special needs. We were very clear about what we thought we could handle, but we ended up with the one thing we were most afraid of. DSHS tends to gloss over certain realities, and with younger kids you just can’t tell right away. I love my three foster/adopt kids, but this is a pretty hard road we’re on.

    • Amy, you raise a good point. Parents need to ask a lot of questions and push for answers. Unfortunately, sometimes these answers simply aren’t known. Thanks for sharing.

  17. Avatar Elisabeth says:

    You know, this great infographic would be EVEN BETTER if the people in it were of different ethnicities. When I look at this I see that I can be older, single, gay, or middle class and foster-adopt , but I HAVE TO BE WHITE. That’s disappointing.

    • Elizabeth, I completely agree with you and am embarrassed that we didn’t realize it before. Keep in mind, however, that there is only one adoptive parent in this infographic so she would have to be one ethnicity. In other word, no matter what we did, most races would be left out. We could however have made one of the kids or the friend a different race.

  18. Avatar Beth says:

    We have been home study approved for over 2 years. It is frustrating to inquire and wait and wait and wait….they say sibling groups are hard to place but we were approved for sibling groups and never matched to any. We finally opened up to teens and we are FINALLY matched to a young man that we’ve been working to get placed with us since January this year. The system is awful and unfortunately NOW we do thing we were crazy to adopt from foster care. LOL

  19. Avatar Meg says:

    I loved it! Don’t forget, however, that a parent also need not be religious. In fact, with our placement, we were told that not having a preferred religion was a good thing. Perhaps if there wasn’t the religious stigma attached more people would be open to fostering to adopt. As a non-religious foster parent, we didn’t even know if we could adopt. Thankfully, we can and did.

  20. Avatar Von says:

    This would be so much more appealing to so many more without the prayer – presumably those without religion are eligible too?

    • Yes Von, as Meg pointed out in the comments, you need not be religious to adopt from foster care. That is also a great myth that needs debunking.

      • Avatar Holly says:

        The prayer gave me pause too – although at second reading, I appreciated that it was more a prayer to the Universe and not espousing any one particular belief. I hear folks that are not comfortable with any prayer – I get it – for me, this one feels pretty good. Thanks!

  21. Avatar Kim says:

    Thank you so much for this Dawn! I know I’m guilty of feeling some of this way about foster to adopt but mostly it’s just fear. Right now we are pursuing private open adoption which I used to be too afraid of too, but no more! I’m so excited to meet our birth mom who will become part of our extended family, as excited as I am for the baby! As I’ve embraced the vulnerability of open adoption, my heart has burst wide open for foster and we will welcome children into our home this way someday. Cuz we a crazy about kids!! 🙂

  22. Avatar Michelle K. says:

    Proud adoptive mom of two wonderful boys who came to us from foster care. We need more fost-adoptive parents out there!

  23. Avatar Jeff says:

    The crazy thing is there are 102,000 foster kids available for adoption and families like ours willing and able to adopt with our homestudy approved months ago, but get nowhere because our Washington DSHS adoption worker won’t let us adopt if we won’t foster. I’ll take a friend’s ignorance over a state worker’s coercion any day.

  24. Avatar Karla says:

    Don’t bait me Dawn….lol

  25. Avatar Sam says:

    Had to share, Dawn. Thank you.

  26. Avatar Sam says:

    Love it! 🙂

  27. Thanks Hazel. Please consider doing a blog on this and using the graphic. The more eyes on it the better.

  28. Avatar Hazel says:

    Thank you for this!

  29. Avatar Krista says:

    We have been waiting to adopt for 2 yrs. Now that our son is getting older, we are in the process of adding Foster-Adopt to our homestudy and start working with the county.

    We haven’t announced this decision to our wider family/friend network so thank you for this wonderful graphic.

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