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Jan. 1, 1970

Book Review: A Forever Family: Fostering Change One Child at a Time

A Forever Family: Fostering Change One Child at a Time (Book by Rob Scheer)

Written by Lauren Lynch, Adoptive Mom and C.A.S.E. Training Coordinator

Throughout his book, “A Forever Family: Fostering Change One Child at a Time,” author Rob Scheer managed to create a tangled web of emotions for the reader. As someone who works closely with adoption and foster care, I have read my fair share of articles and books covering both topics. Most tug at the heartstrings with stories of grief, loss, and trauma but few have left a hope-filled mark the way this book did.

The book spans decades as each chapter alternates between Rob’s present-day life and his childhood. From the beginning of the book, we learn he and his husband, Reese, want to start a family. When the topic of adopting from foster care comes up, Rob is triggered by his personal experience in the system as a youth in care. While Reese sees it as the perfect opportunity to provide a stable and loving home for children in need, Rob fears it will dredge up the emotions and trauma from his past that he isn’t ready to dive into yet. Rob also understands the increased scrutiny he and Reese would face as a gay couple.

Rob’s childhood was filled with years of abuse and neglect prior to his placement in foster care. Once he was kicked out of his foster family’s home at the age of 18, he fell further into destructive patterns that included intimate partner violence and drug abuse. Upon meeting Reese, he tried to leave the past behind, but it kept sneaking up on him, threatening to ruin his dreams of fatherhood and family.

Rob’s journey with DC Child and Family Services had some high highs, as well as many lows. Rob and Reese were able to become fathers, even creating a larger family than they had initially intended. It did not happen easily, but they never stopped fighting for the children in their care. Rob was vocal about the issues in the child and family services department and what needs to change for the sake of the children.

Something beautiful that has stayed with me in the days since finishing the book is the idea that Rob and Reese were willing to give the children who had been placed with them the best possible life, even if it was only for a short time. Each time they said “yes” to a placement, they opened their hearts and homes completely and chose to love and care for the children without worrying what the outcome might be. That is the true definition of foster care—caring for children during a time their biological family is unable to. It is an idea rooted in Rob’s and Reese’s beliefs and the book highlights their unwavering support of their children’s birth families.

Another theme woven throughout the story is the vital connection between the children and their biological extended family. Rob and Reese focused on forming a bond with their children’s families from the start, and it only strengthened over time. I am sure this will be crucial to the children’s identity formation as they grow up and seek answers to their questions.

I found this book to be incredibly moving and reiterated the importance of caring for others and giving back to our communities. Comfort Cases is a nonprofit passion project for Rob, born from his desire to show each child or youth in care that they are somebody. Rob took one of the saddest, toughest times of his life and found a way to fill a need to help others.

This book may make you shed a few tears or laugh at the chaos of their lives as a family of six. My hope for you is that reading this book will change you—your thoughts on caring for others, on love, on foster care, and encourage you to make a difference in someone’s life.

Learn more here. 

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