Foster Care Hall of Fame

Aging Out

This year, more than 20,000 youngsters will turn 18 in foster care.  Imagine coming of age with nothing but a trash bag full of your belongings — no home to which you can return at the holidays (or any days).

Here is what one group is doing to help America’s most vulnerable young adults.  I say:  Thank you and praise you!

For the children,


The Love and Respect They Deserve

Hallelujah!  That’s what I say when I see a news article that touts what is good about foster care.

A local paper announced today that more foster parents are needed for young children and teens.  What made this article stand out for me was the emphasis on helping all children who need temporary or permanent homes.  How refreshing, to read about what we can do for the children… and to see a call for action.

My salutations to author Matthew Keough.

For the children,


His Kind Heart, and Good Nature

So often, in the world of child welfare, we hear the statistics of what has gone wrong for children who grew up in foster care.  Today, I salute someone who did all the right things, for the right reasons.

David E. Dietrich, just 21 years old, died in Iraq on December 29th.  Mr. Dietrich had been in Iraq for just two months. 

His foster parents had recently heard from him:

“We took some fire and sent some fire. I’m OK,” he e-mailed.

That was the last the Raisners heard from him.

The Raisners took David in and cared for him as family.  Before that, he was cared for by the Gamble family. 

His foster mother, Jean Raisner, remembers:  “I was so worried about him going to Iraq,” Jean Raisner says. But she remembers him saying, “Jean, my destiny is not to die in Iraq, my destiny is to die an old man in Marysville.”

While his planned destiny was not fulfilled, David served his country, and met his maker all too soon.

For the children,


A Long Way Home

Fifteen-year old Felicia Robinson is planning a run — not a marathon as we know it, but something more profound:  a run from Kamloops to Vancouver, more than 200 miles.

Felicia has grown up in foster care and designed the route “to correspond with all the places she has lived growing up in foster homes.”  She’s not running for herself, though; she’s running to raise money for other foster youth.  She hopes to raise $12,000 so that parentless children in Canada and as far away as Africa and Peru can enjoy after-school sports.

Felicia’s work is a heartwarming example of the difference that one person can make.

For the children,


Holding on for a Better Tomorrow

Happy New Year.

It’s a time of reflection and resolutions. 

I’ve been reading about a woman named Karen Agard, and she demonstrates — by how she lives her life — how to make a difference in the new year and beyond.  Ms. Agard, who lives not too far from me in Boston, has a heart for taking in teenage foster youth. 

I learned about her story in the Newton Tab:  “I love kids,” Agard said. “It just feels like a natural thing. I don’t give it much thought. It just seems to be where I’m supposed to be.”

Amazing as her open-heartedness is, her history will open your heart:  “Agard understands the dynamics of foster care and adoption on both a theoretical and emotional level. She was adopted from the Home for Little Wanderers when she was 3 months old, and is in the process of working on a master’s degree in social work.”

Ms. Agard is an inspiration.  To her, and the foster parents like her, I say thank you, and warmest wishes for the new year.

For the children,



It’s the first day of winter, and across the country thousands of travelers are stranded because of the snowy conditions in the middle of the country.   I’ve been watching the news and seeing the anguish on people’s faces as they are told, “No, you can’t go home.”

This touches a nerve as I think about the 500,000 children in foster care, who hear those same words all the time: “You can’t go home.”

Thank goodness for wonderful foster parents, and for all the volunteers across the nation who have brought cheer to kids in care.  The “Adopt and Angel” group in Walnut Creek, California has done something amazing

“This year 400 PMI ‘angels’ wrapped and donated a truck full of 700 gifts for children in foster and group homes, and the PMI Foundation contributed an additional $1,700 for the purchase of food, clothing, toys, and other items. This combined contribution was the largest by a corporate partner participating in the Adopt an Angel program in the county.” 

This kind of news does my heart good.

When my youngest sister joined our family as a foster child, she arrived at our home 10 days before Christmas.  She was just four years old at the time and had no idea why we had a tree inside our house!  This year I’ll be spending Christmas with her… she’s grown up now and she’s in college!

It’s a season of miracles.  May your holidays be filled with peace.

For the children,


Getting started…

Here’s my first blog entry, from September 2006.   

It’s September 30th, 2006 (EDT)… I guess I’m a few years behind the times in starting a blog. My goal with this blog is to highlight good things about foster care — a system in which more than a half million American children will spend all or part of this year.

I’m also planning to start a “Foster Care Hall of Shame” blog… and I guess we all know why. Too many bad things happen to innocent children in foster care.

Check back often, please, so that you can stay up to date with current events affecting America’s most vulnerable children.

For the children,