So, Who IS On Your Side In Foster Care? (Hint: It’s Not The System!)

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

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If you've been a foster parent for any stretch of time, you've probably recognized something: you're pretty much on your own, throughout the process, most of the time. Sure, you'll get information via email, voice mails, and texts but, most of the people you encounter (judges, lawyers, case managers, etc.) really aren't in your least, not normally!

That’s not to say there are not amazing people working in family services, because there are. Over the decade that we served as foster parents, we encountered some true beacons of light. Most recently was a case manager named Wendy. While she had a job to do, we genuinely felt like she cared for us.

A few years into the long process to adopt our youngest son, Sam, we had worked with a string of terrible case managers until Alexis showed up. She was efficient, caring, in-touch, and dialed in to not only birth parents, but us. I told her how amazing she was over and over because Lord knows, she needed to hear that. I don’t know where she is now but I pray she’s still plugging away and making a difference in family services.

And I cannot forget about Jeri, Francis and Megan who all helped bring our family together with professionalism and care.

These are the exceptions, not the rule. Not to scare any prospects away, but worldwide, the foster care system is an enormously dysfunctional system. The judges are often unconcerned and uncaring, case managers are over-worked and underpaid, policies and procedures are stated but not upheld, and decisions are prolonged for years..literally, years!

It can really feel like you have no one (and I mean NO one) in your corner at times. No one advocating for you as the one sticking your neck out for children. No one sticking up for you. No one…well…paying any attention!

So, who then IS on your side when all hell is breaking lose (which happens nearly every week)?

It’s you and that other person! That’s right…you…and that other person. Confused? Let me say this in a better way- It’s you and that other foster parent who’s in the trenches of this system with you. It’s you and that loving woman who has been a care-giver for 25 years sitting across from you in a stuffy, crowded courthouse waiting room. It’s you and that young couple with big hearts who decided to make a difference by signing up for foster care. It’s all of you standing side-by-side, heart-to-heart, back-to-back!

The only way we made it for as long as we did, was our support system. The only way we could cope with the ups and downs of foster care was to find a group of people, a community if you will, who understood. Folks just like us who had the same hurts, the same wounds, and the same fears as we did.


By all means, if your case manager is a rockstar (and there are a few out there) hang on to them. Build a friendship with them. Appreciate and love them. But find your community. Community is one of the strongest forces we have in the foster care journey. If you are feeling like you cannot do this alone, you’re right. You can’t! You need a family. You need to connect to people who will roll up their sleeves and show you the same wounds on their arms as you have on yours.

The community I’m talking about is one that listens, cares, empathizes and understands you when you sit down exhausted and just want to cry…or scream…or cuss…or binge drink, because of the nightmare that foster care can be sometimes.

Fellow foster parents. Fellow adoptive parents.

We found ours after years of searching. We found it in the most unlikely place. We found it through an understanding nod of the head. And, it’s helping us every single day, even though we are no longer foster parents. The biggest thing our community of supporters has brought to our lives is focus. Focus on the most important thing- our children!


You just can’t, so stop wishing and hoping that you can! By all means, speak up to the case manager that promised paperwork or test results in a few days but hasn’t been heard from in a month. It’s your right to do so. But, don’t try to change something you can’t physically change. Instead, find your outlet. Find your community. Find your voice.

Find people who share the same wounds as you. Find the family that has the same loving heart as you. If you want to make it on this journey, this is a must! While you can’t change the foster care system, you can determine what you will do (or not do). You can decide to seek others who are in this same battle. You can decide to stand back-to-back with someone else.

Do you have a support system? How have they impacted your life?

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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.