Janesville Family Thrives By Opening Home To Foster Children

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are an estimated 110,000 children in foster care waiting to be adopted.

In response to the need, a Janesville family is offering help to one child at a time.

Dan and Linda Schuhmacher say that an ad in the newspaper looking for foster parents inspired them to get involved.

That experience, they said, has completely and forever changed their lives for the better. Married for 17 years, the Schuhmachers have opened their home to foster children ranging in age from infants to teenagers.

“In our 11 years, we ended up with 27 kids in our home and five of them became Schuhmachers,” said Linda.

“Each of them very unique; each of them with their own situations,” added Dan. “And not only did we help them grow, they helped us grow and be better parents.”

Community Care Resources in Middleton provides support services to families like the Schuhmachers.

“Eighty-five percent of our foster youth do return home,” said Renee Wilberg of Community Care Resources. “The remaining 15 percent may end up in an adoptive placement with their foster family.”

Wilberg’s agency works with families across the state. They said they could always use more loving homes like the Schuhmachers.

“There are so many different kids with so many different needs, the more families we have available, the higher likelihood we have of making a successful match,” said Wilberg.

Linda Schuhmacher doesn?t hesitate to call their adoptive and foster children a blessing in their lives.

“Regardless of the children that did stay with us, just being a part of their lives and just helping them was a huge thing,” said Linda.

And the feeling is mutual. Their daughter Alexis said she feels like the luckiest girl in the world to have a caring family.

“My parents are the best parents in the whole wide world,” said Alexis. “I have a good relationship with my mom, and she’s happy I have that with her, and they are the best.”

The Schuhmachers chose to have all of their adoptions open so the children could have a relationship with their birth parents.

November is National Adoption Month.

For more information on becoming a foster family, go to Community Care Resources’ website.