The Hardest Adoption Decision We Ever Made

This guest post is by Kathy Rau, an adoptive parent. 

Sometimes there are no easy answers when it comes to foster care and adoption.

My husband and I adopted a baby girl from our local Department of Social Services. Several years after she came to us we found out that her baby sister was born. Both girls had the same birth parents.

However, her sister was already adopted by another family. We were heartbroken because we were never given the opportunity to adopt this child.

Once we got over the initial heartbreak we contacted the Department of Social Services, which was located in another state, and requested that our information be shared with the other family.

Our hope was the two girls could remain in contact with one another over the years. The other family was so gracious and agreed to our request.


My daughter is now 17 and has a long distance relationship with her sister. We are beyond grateful. The girls have even had a face-to-face meeting.

Their similarities are amazing! I’m so glad they have each other.  

Two years after her sister was born we found out about a half sibling. He was younger than both girls and had been living with a family for about a year and a half.

The family was attached to this little guy and had hopes of adopting him. We had the same hope. 

We drove to the state where he was born and requested a meeting. We were granted a ‘meet and greet’ with this little guy.

We were so excited! The social worker gave us the information we needed to pursue adoption of this child. 

The town that he lived in was approximately four hours away. As we drove home we talked about the potential of adopting him. The opportunity was mind-blowing.

As we talked we kept going back to his foster family. The one that loved him for 18 months. The people he knew as mom and dad. The only family he had ever known.

The closer we got to our home the more it became more clear what we needed to do. Our decision was based on a previous situation we had experienced as foster parents.

Two little girls were placed in foster care and then placed with us. We had them for approximately a month. After a visit from the girls’ case worker we were informed that she had decided to move the girls to another foster home.

We were told that we were not the ‘right family’ for these girls. What? We were shocked.

We spent the last 30 days loving and caring for these girls. They were finally sleeping through the night and stopped crying all the time.

They were bonding and playing with our other children.  We were crushed. They were removed from our home within a few days.

I cannot tell you the sadness and anger we felt. The social worker felt we were overwhelmed with four small children. I never understood the decision but I have learned to live with it.

So when we returned from visiting our daughters’ half brother we called his case worker and withdrew our name for consideration. 

This was one of the hardest things we ever had to do.

Why did we decide not to pursue his adoption? As foster parents we knew how strong his bond was after 18 months with his foster parents. Shoot, we had bonded to the girls after only 30 days!

The family later finalized his adoption and we resigned as foster parents from the county that had caused us so much grief.

We were still registered with two other counties and would later go on to adopt two more children and foster many.

We often wonder what ever happened to these young girls. We hope the case workers’ decision benefited them in the long run.

We hope our decision not to adopt this little boy was also the best decision. A decision we will always reflect upon.

But we know in our hearts that what is best for a child is not always the easiest decision to make. 

Kathy Rau lives in historic Fredericksburg, Virginia and is raising four children with her husband, Mark. For over 20 years, Kathy has been a licensed veterinary technician and currently works one day a week in emergency medicine. While the kids are in school, Kathy caters to the community by providing help through her business Your Girl Friday FXBG. Learn more here and here.

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