The Gift of Heartbreak


It has been a heartbreaking couple months in our home as we have walked through the healing process with one of our little ones. It has left me feeling overwhelmed, feeling like I’ve done something wrong – or not given enough, feeling like we may never see the light at the end of the tunnel, feeling heartbroken.

Maybe that is why the recent blog post I read from a fellow foster Momma about the heartbreak of foster care resonated so well with me. At one point she responds to the age-old question “Won’t your heart-break if they go home?” with “My heart is already broken”. Such a simple statement that says so much.

Our hearts are already broken for children and families who find themselves a part of the child welfare system. That is why we choose to foster in the first place.

Our hearts are broken over the abuse…

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World Wide Wednesday – February 26, 2014

174337705It’s World Wide Wednesday! Here’s what’s happening the world of foster care and adoption around the web:

  • Preparing Children & Youth for Adoption or Other Family Permanency: Children leaving out-of-home care for adoption or other family permanency require preparation and support to help them understand the past events in their lives and to process feelings connected to their experiences of abuse and neglect, separation, loss, rejection, and abandonment. Click here to continue reading this Bulletin for Professionals from the Child Welfare Information Gateway.
  • Youth Who Aged Out of Foster Care Can Access Health Insurance: Youth who left foster care at age 18 or older and who were on Medicaid at that time are eligible to access Medicaid until they turn 26. The American Academy of Pediatrics has a website to help youth learn more and links to sign up for Medicaid. The site also includes a web banner that advocates can put on their own sites to spread the word to former foster youth. Visit the site to learn more.
  • Parenting a Child Who Has Experienced Abuse or Neglect: Children who have been abused or neglected need safe and nurturing relationships that address the effects of child maltreatment. This factsheet is intended to help parents (birth, foster, and adoptive) and other caregivers better understand the challenges of caring for a child who has experienced maltreatment and learn about the resources available for support.
  • Adoption Advocate No. 68|”Will I Love Her?”: Love and Attachment in Adoption: Many families considering adoption wonder about what life will be like if they adopt a child, and their capacity to care and provide for that child–particularly if she or he is older, has experienced neglect or trauma, or has special needs. In the February 2014 issue of NCFA’s Adoption Advocate, “Will I Love Her?”: Love and Attachment in Adoption, Dr. Daniel Nehrbass shares his personal thoughts and reflections about the capacity for and characteristics of parental love. Click here for the PDF from the National Council for Adoption.

Have news you’d like to share? Please post in our comments!

Training Event: Social Media Safety

Social media keyboardSocial media changes almost daily. It seems as though upgrades, updates, new platforms, and other changes take effect as soon as we learn how to navigate each site! It’s no wonder that many foster and adoptive parents find themselves confused and wondering how they can keep up with this evolving technology.

In this training, we will provide you with an overview of today’s most active social media sites, as well as how to keep yourself and the children in your care safe.There is a lot to learn and we can help you get started!

About the Trainer: Rachel Goeden, MSW, APSW
An adoptive parent as well as a social worker and trainer at the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families. After being hesitant to sign up for MySpace in college, Rachel has since developed a passion for utilizing the positive benefits of social media. She not only contributes to the social media marketing efforts at the Coalition, but also runs her own website and blog.

$60/agency group

Coalition for Children, Youth & Families
6682 W Greenfield Ave, Suite 310
Milwaukee WI 53214
Attend via webinar
Register online:
Questions? Contact or call 414-475-1246

Adoption, Foster Care, Family . . . How Do We Use the Internet and Social Media?

Partners Newsletter PictureWe live in a changing world. We don’t do research via books – we use the Internet. We connect with our friends and family through email, Face Time, Skype, and text messages. And the world of social media changes every day. Upgrades, updates, new platforms, and other changes take effect just as soon as we learn how to navigate each platform! Or so it seems. It’s no wonder that many parents find themselves confused and overwhelmed. Whether you are deciding which sites you should sign up for or monitoring your children’s site usage, there is a lot to learn.

In our Spring 2014 issue of the Partners newsletter, we’ve tackled this broad – and sometimes tricky – topic. You’ll find articles such as:

  • An Introduction to Social Media
  • Safely Searching via Social Media
  • Keeping Yourself and Your Foster and Adoptive Kids Safe
  • Connecting with Birth Family
  • Can Social Media Help When You’re Considering Adoption?
  • and more.

Please visit our website to download and read this info-packed newsletter!

World Wide Wednesday – February 19, 2014

174337705It’s World Wide Wednesday! Here’s what’s happening the world of foster care and adoption around the web:

  • Adoption Institute Issues New Report on Adoption and the Internet: In December, the Donaldson Adoption Institute released Untangling the Web II: A Research-Based Roadmap for Reform, a second report in its study of the Internet’s impact on adoption. The report finds the Internet is being widely used in an array of positive ways, but also warns that it is contributing to the increasing commodification of children and commercialization by for-profit brokers, while enabling greater exploitation of pregnant women considering adoption for their babies and of adults seeking to adopt.
  • Voice for Adoption Reminds Parents and Youth to Fill Out Financial Aid Forms Early: As of January 1, students could begin submitting their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms for the 2014-2015 school year. Voice for Adoption worked closely with Congress to pass the Fostering Adoption to Further Student Achievement Act, which became law as an amendment to the College Cost Reduction and Access Act (Public Law 110-84).Effective in July 2009, a provision reduced the disincentive for older youth to be adopted by allowing them the same status as youth who age out of foster care. Under the law, youth who are adopted from foster care on or after their 13th birthday are considered “independent students” and do not have to include their parent’s income when completing the FAFSA form. (See question 53 on the FAFSA application.) Find a tip sheet from VFA here.
  • Big Lessons That Transcend the Movie: There Are Philomenas All Around Us: As I was leaving the theater over the weekend, after watching the mesmerizing movie “Philomena,” a couple of middle-aged women nearby were talking about how much they had learned from the film. “It’s awful what happened in Ireland back then,” one of them said. “I’d never known about it before.”

    What they learned, in a nutshell, was that girls and young women like the real-life Philomena – who got pregnant out of wedlock in that country during the 1950s – were frequently forced to work under brutal conditions in convent laundries as “penance” for their “sins.” And then their sons and daughters were routinely, mercilessly spirited away from them to be adopted by wealthy Americans, most if not all of whom showed their gratitude to the church with generous “donations.” Click here to continue reading this article from Adam Pertman.

  • Book Review: Lost Daughters – Writing Adoption from a Place of Empowerment and Peace: Lost Daughters: Writing Adoption from a Place of Empowerment and Peace gathers the well-articulated stories of around two dozen adult women who have been adopted. The stories shared are powerful and painful, open and honest, and realistically complex. No one is standing on a soapbox; these are real, lived experiences that the Lost Daughters continue to process, understand, and share. The book does not tell adoptees or adoptive parents how to feel, it simply believes that “the voices of adult adoptees make adoption better.”  Read more on the Adoption at the Movie blog here.

Have news you’d like to share? Please post in our comments!

Izidor Ruckel: Quotes from Romania, Creating a Documentary

 The Incredible Story of a Romanian Orphan – Once Hidden from the World, Now Determined to Change it.


Saturday March 1, 2014   2:00-4:00pm
Dorothy Goff Recital Hall, Shattuck Music Center
Carroll University Waukesha, WI

Sponsored by:

LSS Logo

To Register: Please contact Kim Westfahl, InterCountry Adoption Manager, Lutheran Social Services of WI and Upper Michigan, Inc., (414)304-6920 or

About the Presenter: Izidor Ruckel spent the first eleven years of his life hidden in Romania’s “Hospital of The Irrecoverable Children” where children with even minor disabilities were warehoused.  Izidor survived by his wits, his unbreakable spirit, and the kindness of some workers, until he escaped through adoption to America.  In this amazing presentation, Izidor will talk about his life in an overcrowded, abusive institution; the challenges he faced in moving to a new family; and his struggles through the tangled maze of adolescence and young adulthood. He will also share his dream and plan to make a difference the world, especially those children still living in the orphanages of Romania.

Izidor Ruckel is the author of Abandoned for Life and the Author and Producer of Given our Chance. He has been featured several times on ABC News 20/20 special television series:  Shame of a Nation. He traveled back to Romania with ABC News 20/20’s correspondent Tom Jerriel and crew in 2001 to investigate further. He is now determined to help those orphans left behind by investigating even further through traveling to Romania again and creating a documentary of his findings.

Location: The Dorothy Goff Recital Hall is located in the Shattuck Music Center at Carroll University.  Carroll University is located at 100 N. East Ave., Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Map to Carroll UniversityFrom Chicago
Take I-94 north to Milwaukee. Exit on I-894 west and proceed to I-43 south (Beloit exit). Take I-43 to Hwy 164 (Waukesha-Big Bend exit). Exit Hwy 164 north. Proceed due north approximately seven miles to Carroll University. DO NOT follow Hwy 164 when it turns right at Hwy 59. Continue north and you will be on East Avenue. Shattuck Music Hall will be on your left, north of W. College Avenue and South of Wisconsin Ave/Broadway.

From Rockford
Take I-43 north to Hwy 164. Then follow directions from Chicago above.

From Milwaukee
Take I-94 west. Proceed past the Hwy 18 Waukesha exit. Exit on Hwy F south (Exit 295). Cross Moreland Boulevard and continue south on Hwy 18 West (North Street) to Barstow Street which is 2.5 miles south of I-94. Turn left on Barstow Street. Barstow Street will dead end at College Avenue. Turn left on W. College Avenue, then turn left on East Avenue.  Shattuck Music Hall will be on your left, north of W. College Avenue and South of Wisconsin Avenue/Broadway.

From Madison
Take I-94 east and exit on Hwy F south (Exit 295). Then follow directions from Milwaukee.

Cost: A free will donation will be collected at the door.  All proceeds will benefit Izidor Ruckel’s new journey and documentary to Romania. If you are unable to attend, or would like to make a donation in advance of the event, visit

World Wide Wednesday – February 12, 2014

174337705It’s World Wide Wednesday! Here’s what’s happening the world of foster care and adoption around the web:

  •  C.A.S.E. webinars are a valuable resource for both parents and professionals. In response to popular demand, they have made SIX of their best selling webinars available to our viewers ANYTIME with our new Pay-Per-View option! For $25, viewers can access any of the following IN DEMAND webinar recordings 24/7. Viewers will also be granted access to the accompanying PowerPoint presentations and can obtain a certificate of completion upon request. More information here.
  • The National Foster Parent Association offers scholarships for foster youth, adopted youth, or biological youth of currently licensed foster parents, who wish to further their education beyond high school, including college or university studies, vocational/technical school or junior college.  Five scholarships in the amount of $500 will be awarded during 2014.  The foster parents must be members of NFPA. For more information, click here.
  • CedarWorks’ new Play It Forward program was created to give back to those who go above and beyond each day to bring hope to the lives of young people. We believe kids just need to be kids and should have the opportunity to experience old-fashioned play on a playset that is strong, safe, and fun. As a result, CedarWorks had teamed up with the National Foster Parent Association to provide lucky foster families across the United States with beautiful CedarWorks playsets. Play It Forward is our thank you to foster families for caring, believing and investing in kids. For more information on the Play It Forward program download an application form and see official rules.
  • We’re pleased to share with you the new Public Service Advertisements (PSAs) of the national adoption recruitment campaign, a partnership of the Children’s Bureau, AdoptUSKids and the Ad Council. The latest series of PSAs in this award-winning campaign ask prospective parents to consider adopting older youth ages 11-17. The new PSAs portray humorous scenarios that reaffirm the campaign’s notion that being an imperfect parent is “perfectly normal.” The PSAs reveal this through special bonding moments such as, a committed mother who hopes to share her son’s love for the outdoors but isn’t quite in tune with nature, a caring father who attempts to teach his daughter important life lessons, and a father who takes his son on vacation but can’t seem to stomach all their different adventures. These new PSAs illustrate to potential parents that older youth in foster care don’t need perfection; they need the commitment and love a permanent family can provide. The campaign directs audiences to visit or call 1-888-200-4005 for current, accurate information about the foster care system and the adoption process.

Have news you’d like to share? Please post in our comments!