10 Things Foster Parents Wish Their Case Managers Knew

Author of 5 books, podcaster, parent trainer, husband and father.

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Last night my wife and I had the honor of hosting our monthly adoption support group in our home. We do this once a month and it's always refreshing. While the group is made up of adoptive parents most have been, or currently are, active foster parents. As we sat around our dining room table, enjoying one another's company, I posed this question to the group- "What are some things you wish your case managers knew?"

It’s not hard to hear the desperation in everyone’s voice. At the same time, it’s easy to see the passion burning in everyone’s eyes. We all got into this for one reason- we want to make a difference. Out of the outpouring of our hearts, we ran toward the chaos. Not long after, though, we realized how difficult and unending this battle would be.

It’s left us reeling, defeated and even regretful at times. But as we listened to everyone’s answers, we could still see the passion, still hear the original dream, and still feel the energy. Many of us were down, but not out. Defeated but not ready to quit.

Here are 10 things the support group said last night:

1. We know the children the best.

We spend every waking moment with the children you placed in our homes. Some of us have had, and will have, placements for months, even years. They bond to us and that’s a good thing. Please trust us when we tell you things about them and we make observations. We know them really really well because we’re doing life with them. That’s not to say that you don’t know them because we know you do. But when you have the role of first responder to strong emotional outbreaks, meltdowns and fear, it gives unique insight.

2. We actually live by a schedule.

Although it seems like we’re available at the drop of a hat, we are not. Many of us have jobs outside of our home. Please show up on time for visits & follow-ups in our home. We can’t always adjust our schedule because you got out of court later than you thought and now you’re over an hour late. Many of us have other children and they are involved in other activities. Please be respectful of that.

3. This is NOT a job, it’s a way of life. 

It’s our family. We do not get holidays off, there are no financial gains, and no one is rolling out the red carpet for us. In fact, they’re staring at us and they think we’re weird. They don’t get us. We’re okay with that but we need you to understand this. This is our life, 24/7, and sometimes it is so difficult that we don’t know if we can make it another day.

4. Point us toward good resources.

We need support groups, literature, and a listening ear. If there are any good conferences that you know of, don’t let us stumble upon them, give us a call or send us an email and give us the scoop. This helps us know that you are there for us.

5. Communicate with us.

There are certain things we need to know. Please do not withhold important information about the child from us. Especially if there was extreme trauma or abuse. Having this type of information helps us navigate tough situations or meltdowns. We need to hear from you, and we need you to return our calls. We feel alone in this more than you know. We are looking to you for support.

6. Be honest with us.

If you don’t know the answer, that’s okay. We’re fine if you tell us that you have to find out and that you’ll get back to us. It’s really frustrating when you try to give us an answer that may not be the truth or you make something up just to satisfy us.

7. We’re foster parents by choice.

We do this because we want to better the lives of children from difficult places. This is a thankless endeavor and we know that. But we entered into it willingly.

8. Paint a realistic picture of our current situation.

If there’s a chance the child will be staying longer, please do not tell us that it “Will only be a few days and then he’ll be moved to a family member’s house,” or “She’s only staying for the weekend,” or “This will only be a 48-hour deal,” or “This is an overnight placement.” We’re okay with an “I don’t know,” answer. Remember, we chose to do this, so we can handle vagueness or the unknown.

9. We’re doing you a service.

You are lucky you have us. So please treat us with respect. That goes for our time too. When we ask you for assistance or send you emails, please do not act like we’re an inconvenience. We know your job is hard and we are not downplaying that. It’s just that we are on the front lines of this whole ordeal and we have to handle emotions and fear that children in our placement experience regularly.

10. We have a lot of fears.

We fear someone walking in and taking our kids. We fear the power you have over us. We fear one of our children accusing us of something untrue and you believing it. We know this is just fear and not really true but it sure feels like it’s true at times!

We collectively recognize that many case managers do know these things. In fact, we agreed that we have all had the pleasure of working with some truly amazing people in the foster care system. However, there are many days where we’ve felt alone, and as if no one understands the struggles we have. The heart of this post is NOT to criticize but to enlighten and help.

Are you a foster parent? What are some other things you wish your case manager knew?

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Mike and Kristin Berry are the Co-Founders of The Honestly Adoption Company and have been parents for nearly two decades. They are the authors of six books, and the host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.

Sarah Gray

Sarah Gray is the executive assistant to Mike and Kristin Berry. And she is the best in the land. In addition to providing a warm and friendly response to the many emails our company receives on a weekly basis, she also manages Mike and Kristin’s speaking and meeting schedules, and makes sure that team events go off without a hitch.

Nicole Goerges

Nicole Goerges is a Content Contributor & Special Consultant for The Honestly Adoption Company. She works with Mike and Kristin as a recurring co-host for the Honestly Adoption Podcast, and co-host of Kitchen Table Talks, exclusive video content for Oasis Community, along with Kristin. She is a fellow adoptive mom, and former foster parent.

Matt McCarrick

Matt McCarrick is the Content Production Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. If you’ve loved listening to our podcast, or enjoyed any of the videos trainings we’ve published, you have Matt to thank. He oversees all of our content production, from video edits, to making sure the tags are correct on YouTube, to uploading new videos to Oasis, to hitting publish on a podcast episode, he’s a content wonder!

Karen Anderson

Karen Anderson is the Community Engagement Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends the bulk of her time interacting with, and helping, people through our various social media channels, as well as providing support for Oasis Community members through chat support or Zoom calls. In the same spirit as Beaver, Karen is also passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and supported. Karen is also an FASD trainer and travels often, equipping and encouraging parents.

Beaver Trumble

Beaver Trumble is the Customer Care Specialist for The Honestly Adoption Company. Chances are, if you have been in need of technical support, or forgotten your password to one of our courses, you have interacted with Beaver. He is an absolute pro at customer care. In fact, he single-handedly revolutionized our customer care department last year. Beaver is passionate about connecting with parents and making them feel loved and encouraged.

Kristin Berry

Kristin Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Content Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. She spends most of her time researching and connecting with guests for our podcast, as well as direction, designing and publishing a lot of the content for our social media channels, blog and podcast. She loves to connect with fellow parents around the world, and share the message of hope with them.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is the co-founder of, and Chief Marketing Specialist for, The Honestly Adoption Company. He spends the bulk of his time and energy designing and building many of the resources you see within our company, as well as social media and email campaigns. His goal is to use media as a means to encourage and equip parents around the world. He is also the co-host of The Honestly Adoption Podcast.