Tuesday, November 24, 2009


As we approach this Thanksgiving holiday, I'm really thankful for Iowa's great foster and adoptive parents.

This past weekend was all about joy and thankfulness as we celebrated Adoption Saturday events in Ames, Cedar Rapids, Des Moines, Council Bluffs and Ottumwa. Click on the cities to read a few of the great stories that celebrated these kids and families last weekend.

We heard stories of a 16-year-old adopted who will now alw
ays have a place to call home. We heard stories of a sibling group of five children adopted who will now always get to stay together. We saw young children adopted who will now have a safe place to grow up and learn and laugh.

Amidst twinkle lights and violin music, cookies and courtrooms, heartbreaking poems and heartfelt speeches, we saw what beautiful things can happen when everyday people open their hearts and homes to a child. These kids and youth have some tough stories in their past, but with support from loving and caring adults they can write any story they want for their future.

Even if you can't commit to becoming a foster or adoptive parent, there are many things you can do all year long to help support children in foster care. Host a weekend at your faith community dedicated to raising awareness about the needs of children in your neighborhood. Volunteer at a local agency that supports youth in foster care. Host the Heart Gallery of Iowa, a photo exhibit of waiting children, at your local library or city hall. We can all do something to help make a difference!

So, to all the individuals across the state who worked so hard to make Adoption Saturday events a special day, and to all the children and parents who became part of new forever families - thank you!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A coffee break with Kris

For today's coffee break, I'm excited to chat with Kris, a foster and adoptive mother from the Sioux City Service Area. Our coffee break is a regular feature when we talk with different folks from around the state involved in foster care and adoption. Kris's family took part in Sioux City's first ever Adoption Saturday last weekend and adopted a sibling group of two young boys!

First, congrats on being part of Adoption Saturday! How would you sum up the atmosphere at the courthouse?
It was great! Festive, and there were lots of really good speakers during the program. I really enjoyed how one adoptee talked about how when she went to her adoptive home, her mother made sure she stayed connected with her Native American heritage and culture.

The best part of the day?
That would be our actual adoption. And I have to add, our adoption worker is amazing!

You've been doing foster care for years. Any favorite stories?
I think our best moment in foster care was when a baby came to us from a hospital. We had him for seven months, and during that time his mother was incarcerated. When she came to pick him up at their reunification, he had never seen her but he just laid his head on her shoulder like he had known her forever. It was so great to see, and great to see someone who had turned her life around.

I love that story! Any words of advice for future foster and adoptive parents?
Take advantage of classes and training.

Thanks Kris for sharing a bit about this special day! And a big thanks to all the individuals in Sioux City who worked so hard to bring Adoption Saturday to northwest Iowa. This weekend Iowa has four other Adoption Saturday events coming up in Ames, Cedar Rapids (held on Friday, Nov. 20), Council Bluffs, and Des Moines.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, November 6, 2009

You don't have to be perfect

Let's end this Friday with a laugh! If you haven't already seen some of these videos from the national campaign "You don't have to be perfect to be the perfect parent," they're definitely worth taking a minute to watch. Here's a few with more available at their web site.

I love this campaign, which points out that kids in foster care don't need perfection - they just need you! You can also visit their web site to send an e-card to a friend or parent for National Adoption Month.