Guest Blogger Dr. John DeGarmo

I never had any intention of adopting a child, let alone three children, from foster care.  After all, I had been blessed with three healthy biological children, and had come to realize, after the death of my first child, how precious the gift of life truly was.  During the process of adopting my first child from foster care, I had felt that I was being selfish by adopting a child that had been with our family for over a year and a half.  After all, so many people cannot have healthy children of their own. If I adopted this first one, I might be taking her away from someone who could NOT have children; a family that needed a child in to complete their family. Fortunately, my wife, our friends and family, and the good Lord saw it differently, and all convinced me that this child was indeed ours, forever. I cannot imagine life without her, now.

  A few years later, when the opportunity arose to adopt two more girls from foster care, one who had been with us for a year, along with her unborn sister, I again balked at the idea.  This time, I was quite anxious, as it would bring the number of six children with the name DeGarmo into our house on a permanent basis.  This would be Brady Bunch levels, and I did not have an Alice to help care for the house.  Subsequently, since that time, I have had up to eleven children at one time in our home, and I still don’t have an Alice.  My wife and I could surely use and Alice.  Perhaps you might be interested in applying.

Three years late, I now look at adoption completely differently. My family has been blessed, abundantly so, with the adoption of these three children into my family, and I have been given the gift of love over and over again.  Indeed, as my family has grown, so have the joy, love, and happiness in our lives.  To be sure, I now consider the possibility of adopting each child that comes into my family from foster care, and no longer have a cap to the family total.
When a child is placed into foster care, the initial goal is to have the child reunified with his birth parents, or a member of his biological family.  The initial intent of placing a child into care is that the placement be a temporary, with reunification the main objective.  Yet, there are those instances when reunification is not possible, and the child is placed through the court system for adoption.

Of the over 560,000 children placed in foster care in 2010, it is estimated that 107,000 of these foster children became eligible for adoption.  Sadly, only around 53,000 of these children were adopted during that year, with over half of these children being adopted by foster parents, with the rest being adopted by family members, and a small percentage being adopted by non relatives.  Nearly 60% of children in foster care in America wait 2 or more years before being adopted.

 For those children who are not adopted, many remain in the foster care system for extended periods of time.   Some of these children are moved to group homes, while others simply age out of the foster care system, never truly finding a family of their own and a place to call home. (The Foster  Parenting Manual,  Jessica Kinglsey Publishers, DeGarmo 2013). 

Without a doubt, there are challenges involved when adopting from foster care.   Yet, these challenges are far outweighed by the gifts of love each brings to our homes, and to our lives.  Thousands continue to foster children in need, and continue to love each biological, adoptive, and foster child with as much unconditional love as possible. Each child is unique, each child is special, and each child is deserving of love.  Thank you to all who have cared for children in foster care, and thank you to those who have adopted a child in need.  You are changing lives, and making a difference.

Dr. John DeGarmo has been a foster parent for 13 years, now, and he and his wife have had over 45 children come through their home.   He is a speaker and trainer on many topics about the foster care system, and travels around the nation delivering passionate, dynamic, energetic, and informative presentations.  He is also a foster parent coach, working with you and your family on a personal level. Dr. DeGarmo is the author of several books, including the new book  Helping Foster Children in School,  as well as the inspirational best seller  Fostering Love: One Foster Parent’s Journey, and the sequel Love and Mayhem: One Big Family’s Uplifting Story of Fostering and Adoption.  Dr. DeGarmo is the host of the weekly radio program Foster Talk with Dr. John, He can be contacted at drjohndegarmo@gmail, through his Facebook page, Dr. John DeGarmo, or at his website,