The voice that is so often missing in our discussions of adoption are the voices of the birth parents, especially birth parents whose children were removed from their care and placed in foster care and later adopted.

It is easy to view these people as uncaring, unqualified “screwups” who deserve to have their children removed. More often, the story is more complex and involves a series of small decisions, bad breaks, and few resources or support.

Rise is an online magazine written by parents who have personal experience navigating the child welfare system. This particular story was written by a dad whose daughter was removed and placed in foster care.

I wanted to get custody of [my daughter]. But I didn’t know how to find a suitable place. I didn’t ask the agency for help with rent, and they didn’t offer any. I thought of asking my family, but I was too ashamed. Instead, I simply prayed, read the Bible and slept long hours. my feeling of hopelessness was the absolute worst feeling I’ve ever felt.

Then after a couple of months of only seeing my daughter at weekly visits, she began to call the foster father Dad and me Eric. That hurt so much. …

Still, in the first few months, I went from supervised to unsupervised visits. I thought my daughter would return to me. But then the first caseworker left, and I had no one in the system pulling for me. my daughter’s foster parents, who had so much more money and stability than I did, wanted to adopt my daughter, and they regularly made negative reports about me and the mother. The new caseworker backed up everything they said.

Ultimately his daughter was adopted by her foster parents. I challenge you to read this story and not come away with a new appreciation for parents who lose their kids to foster care.