Another Success Story - From Foster Care to Forever Family: One Iowa Family's Adoption Journey

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November 12, 2020

Iowa Department of Human Services

Another Success Story

Highlighting the successes of the Iowa Department of Human Services

From Foster Care to Forever Family: One Iowa Family's Adoption Journey



Amy and Erik Skogerson were in their thirties when they met in early 2007. Erik was divorced and had two daughters from his first marriage, Jess and Emi. Amy was also recently divorced, but had no biological children. The couple spent time together with Jess and Emi, who were then both in middle school, including getting to know their friends from school. In particular, Jess had become close friends with a girl named Megan who had been placed by DHS with a foster family in the area. Eventually Amy and Erik decided to get married and move in together. Megan, who by this time already felt like part of their family, spent the night with the family frequently and was even present at Amy and Erik's wedding as Jess’ guest.

In November 2008, Jess shared with her parents that DHS was looking for a new foster family for Megan and it was quite possible that such a move would mean Megan changing schools as well. Each member of the family was upset by the idea of Megan not being in their lives anymore.

With Amy’s background as an attorney working in the areas of family and juvenile law, they had at least some understanding of how the legal process worked for foster children. At the time they were not licensed foster parents but had grown to care deeply for Megan and understood that feeling to be mutual. Amy and Erik discussed the idea of fostering Megan with their daughters, who were completely supportive of doing what they could to help Megan. After proposing the idea to Megan, Amy and Erik reached out to DHS.


DHS welcomed the call and shared that they were aware of their family and Megan’s connection to them. The timing of certain events in Megan’s life had caused her to miss out on some important basics in her early education, which caused struggles for her with grades in middle school. While Megan’s foster family at the time cared for her greatly, DHS felt she needed stronger educational support as she progressed into high school. Having no available relatives or licensed foster families with whom Megan could be placed, DHS was supportive of placing her in Amy and Erik's care. In December 2008, with the support of DHS, Megan (then age 15) started spending weekends with Amy, Erik and their girls, then in January 2009, she was placed in their care full-time.

In the spring of 2009, Amy and Erik took classes to become licensed foster parents. Amy stressed how helpful this learning was for them. “We cannot say enough about how much we loved those classes. In fact, we feel that all parents (foster, adoptive and even biological) would benefit from that program. We learned so much about quality parenting, our own strengths and limitations, and the experience of being a child living through traumatic situations.” By the time they completed their free foster parent licensure, they still didn’t know what lay ahead, but felt they had tools for dealing with whatever might come their way.

adoption day

On December 23, 2009, the Skogerson family officially adopted Megan (by then age 16). “That day will remain in our hearts forever. While none of us would say the journey has always been easy, none of us regret the decision we all made together to become a “Forever Family” through the foster and adoption process. Blended families (in which both Amy and Erik grew up) with step-parents and/or siblings have special challenges as well. Families that are part biological, part blended, and part foster/adoptive are especially unique in terms of the amount of love, patience, acceptance, forgiveness, learning and allowance for new starts needed to ensure every member of the family survives and thrives,” shares Amy.

Given Megan’s age at the time she and her two younger half-brothers were removed from their biological family and placed in different households, Megan was well-acquainted with her biological family, and they remained in touch even after the adoption. Though their hearts ached when it happened, the Skogerson family was not completely surprised when Megan decided to give life with her biological family another try after she turned 18 in her senior year of high school. Shortly after graduation though, Megan moved back in to the Skogersons' home. Amy points out that as Megan had lived the majority of her life as part of a completely different family, she and Erik felt it was their duty to honor her history even if they didn’t fully know or understand it. They have remained supportive of Megan’s ties to her biological family, and Megan continues to stay connected to them to date.


Amy fondly recalls the transformation they witnessed in Megan. “Our hearts did swell significantly, as we watched Megan go from a young girl dressed all in black, hiding out from the world, and contemplating taking her own life, to a bright, confident, active, hilariously funny and caring young lady with nearly honor roll grades and a desire to make something of herself in life. For the short time she was in our care, she chose on her own to go out for cheerleading and she turned out to be awesome at it. She also excelled at tumbling, playing the trumpet, technology and photography. She was even a YMCA Camp counselor for two summers where she became a certified lifeguard and learned many other important life skills that she can now pass down to her own children.”

Today, Megan is 27 years old, and married with three small children. Megan’s family lives close to Erik and Amy, who are thrilled that they get to see their grandbabies so often. While Megan currently stays home with her children, she is a talented photographer and has a steadily growing photography business of her own. Amy shared that Megan continues to learn and grow in countless ways and is endlessly proud of the woman she has now become.

meg, fam

Reflecting on their collective journey, Amy writes, “we are quite simply five messy souls doing our best to keep the ship afloat together. Sometimes Erik and I don’t know how we did it or if we even really did. We’d like to think that as a parent, a step-parent, and combined adoptive parents, we did okay and the positive, loving relationships we have with all three of our adult daughters today is the result of all the learning and grace we experienced together. We are far from perfect parents, but we seem to have made it through, and the love we give to and receive from each of our daughters now have made it more than worthwhile. We are so glad we adopted Megan, and we are grateful for all the ways in which she has helped us, which we suspect is far more than we ever helped her.”

If you would like to learn more about the foster and adoption process, please visit the DHS website here.