Two Men Who Adopt 5 Children Reveal Why the Foster System – And Modern Families – Must Change
Rob Scheer explains what he wants everyone to know about the foster system.
Family means many things to many different people. And although some family units may appear similar on the surface, no two families are truly the same.
That’s one of the messages Rob Scheer is trying to get across by speaking about his adoptive kids and his experience in the foster care system.
Rob Scheer’s Hard Past – And How It Forged His Idea of Family
Growing up, Scheer faced many challenges. At 12 years old, he was put into the foster system after he was abused by his parents and stepfather, but it didn’t end there. He endured more abuse within the system and, weeks after his 18th birthday, his foster family kicked him out.
He overcame his obstacles and eventually found a secure job and a husband, Reece. Scheer details all of this and more in his book, A Forever Family: Fostering Change One Child at a Time. He’s also now a foster care advocate and makes appearances to help spread awareness, kindness, and compassion.
“We should all be proud of our past, no matter how hard it is.”– Rob Scheer
One of the really big things he touches on during both his talks and in his book is his personal experience fostering children and eventually adopting them. By spreading the message, he hopes more good families will step up and help children who need a stable and loving environment.
In a 2018 interview with the Huffington Post, Scheer revealed he’s faced some criticism for being so open with his past, but he feels it’s an important thing to talk about — especially with his own adoptive kids.
“No. 1, [those critics] don’t walk in my shoes,” Scheer said. “And No. 2, we should all be proud of our past, no matter how hard it is. Our past really is what helps define us, even for our future.”
How Rob Scheer Redefined a Healthier Idea of the “Forever Family”
Speaking of Scheer’s own family, he and Reece fostered and eventually adopted four of their own kids: two sets of siblings named Amaya, Makai, Greyson and Tristan. They call their unit a forever family and Scheer speaks about them quite often.
In that same interview, Scheer opened up about some of the prejudice and comments he’s received about his family, especially regarding two gay white men raising four Black children. He says he and his husband are constantly having conversations about race and prejudice with their kids, and trying to foster a more open dialogue with others looking in as well.
“My kids deserve to be recognized.”– Rob Scheer
“People say to me all the time, ‘Oh, I don’t see color,’” Scheer explained. “Well, then you don’t see my kids. My kids are color. My kids deserve to be recognized… [by saying] you don’t see color, then you just see a river of white.”
How Rob Scheer Is Giving Back to Foster and Adoptive Families
Scheer also tries to give back to the fostering community in various ways. Aside from his public speaking appearances and overall attempts to raise awareness, he is also the creator of Comfort Cases — backpacks filled with comfort items for kids going into the foster system and for children refugees.
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Each pack is filled with things like stuffed animals, pajamas, books and a blanket to help a child feel cared for and loved. Scheer reveals he was inspired to create the packs after his own children arrived on his doorstep with their things in garbage bags — an experience he himself had so many years ago.
“It’s so important to not just raise awareness, but to also provide hope and dignity to them by giving back to these children.”– Rob Scheer
Recently, toy company Mattel teamed with Comfort Cases and donated age-appropriate products including 1,000 plush toys and 1,000 UNO decks. “With more than 1,000 children entering foster care daily, and more than 400,000 children in foster care in the U.S, it’s so important to not just raise awareness, but to also provide hope and dignity to them by giving back to these children, which is exactly what our friends at Mattel are doing,” Scheer said in a statement.
Why Opening up Your Heart to a Broader Idea of Family Is So Important
In his interview with the Huffington Post, Scheer revealed his goal isn’t to criticize the foster care system, it’s to improve it for the kids who are in the situation in which he once found himself.
“I don’t want to scare anyone away from the system, I don’t want to scare anyone away from adoption,” Scheer added. “But what I want people to do is to do this with open eyes, to do it with understanding and unconditional love.”
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It’s a reminder to all of us that there are plenty of kids out there who need love and support. If you’ve ever thought about fostering children or adopting, perhaps Scheer’s story is the motivation you need to actually put in that application. Or, if you’re unable to add to your family right now, there are plenty of organizations — like Comfort Cases — that could use a donation.
Every little bit helps, and can go a long way towards ensuring children get the love and care they need — and deserve.
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