“A Forever Family” by Rob Scheer—Fostering Change

Scheer, Rob. “A Forever Family: Fostering Change One Child at a Time” , Gallery/Jeter, 2018. Fostering Change Amos Lassen Rob Scheer’s inspirational memoir is about his turbulent childhood in the foster care system and the countless obstacles and discrimination he endured in adopting his four children. He surely never thought that he would be living the life he is now— happily married to his partner and love of his life, the father of four beautiful children, and founder of an organization that makes life better for thousands of children in the foster care system.

But life wasn’t always like this. Scheer grew up in an abusive household before his placement in foster care and had all the odds stacked against him. Kicked out of his foster family’s home within weeks after turning eighteen—with a year left of high school to go—he had to resort to sleeping in his car and in public bathrooms. He suffered from drug addiction and battled with depression, never knowing when his next meal would be or where he would sleep at night. Through true perseverance, he was able to find his own path and fulfill his wildest dreams.

Scheer story gives us a glimpse into what it’s like to grow up in the foster care system as well as showing us the children who are often treated without dignity. This is both a call to action and a candid account of life in the foster care system. We also see that one person can make a difference.
You become aware very quickly that this book is written from the heart. It is both joyful and sorrowful in its humanitarianism and compassion. We sense Scheer’s determination to be the father that he never had on every page. I applaud him bringing his and his partner Reece’s personal journeys to us and for also giving us a first-hand perspective on foster care and adoption. Since they are a  same-sex couple, we gain a great deal.  “A Forever Family” is a story of an abused and discarded young man who spends the early years of his adult life looking for stability, love, and redemption and one of the ways that he does this is by building the family he never had. There were very many odds against him interplay between where he came from with where he’s going is brilliant. He shares all of the little things we often forget and the never ending struggles and setbacks in between. Scheer had suffered frequent abuse at the hands of his birth family and was abandoned and on the street, moving from house to house, never feeling wanted and continuing his mother’s abusive relationships. He simply wanted for structure and normalcy.
He shares the heartbreaking circumstances of his upbringing and gives you gives us glimpses of the abuse, the neglect, and the shame  he suffered. He has applied his experiences in state care to improve the system for the next generation of foster children. Both he and his husband Reece set out to improve the lives of the four foster children who would eventually complete their family. There are legal, bureaucratic, developmental and prejudicial challenges along the way, but their story proves that once you’ve been touched by the lives of children, it is impossible to look away.
We see what’s wrong foster care — it has to be all about the children, but it rarely is. “A Forever Family” brings us the meaning of family as a place of love, nurturing, and care and the meaning of a successful human being means giving back more than you have with the result of gaining more than you have dreamt of. Scheer’s book is raw, brutally honest and inspirational.

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