ST. CLOUD -- It's National Foster Care Month and one St. Cloud family has shared their experience participating in the foster care program for more than six years in Stearns County.

Deana Hoeschen and her husband Chris Hoeschen ran a daycare program for Stearns County for more than six years before deciding to become foster parents. It's a decision the couple says was a natural progression for them.

"I have taken care of kids my whole life. I had my first babysitting job when I was 12, so it's been a natural fit for me my whole life...daycare was definitely something on the plate for when we got our house," say Deana.

The couple's first placement was a newborn baby named Serenity. Deana says she remembers six years ago being escorted by law enforcement when she went to the hospital to pick the baby up. Serenity's biological mother wasn't aware that her child was being taken out of her custody.

After three months Serenity was placed up for adoption. Chris and Deana talked to their two daughters Alyssa who was 10 years old at the time and Katlyn who was 8 years old about the possibility of officially welcoming Serenity to the family.

"When it came up for her to be adopted it was a no brainer...we got all attached to her. It was a unanimous yes. It was not a hard decision," says Chris.

"I remember that conversation, we can't adopt everyone that comes through the door, but I'm the type of person that would," says Deana.

Alyssa and Katlyn say they were both happy to welcome Serenity as a younger sister because their family had cared for her from the time she was born.The girls have helped their parents take care of the younger children.

"We babysit, change diapers, feed them, change their clothes and give them baths--basically everything mom would do," says Katlyn.

Over the years the Hoeschen family has opened their home to about 12 kids through the program.  It's Deana's full time job taking care of the children while and bringing them to their appointments. She says about 99-percent of the children that come through the foster care program are special needs kids. She takes them to therapy and doctor appointments as well as parental visits. Chris works full time at Resource Training and Solutions.

Deana says she tries her best to get to know the child's parents and keep them informed on how their child is doing.

All of the children placed with the Hoeschen family have eventually gone home to a relative except for Serenity. Their longest placement was about a year and six months. Deana says she has started a foster parent support group that meets on the first Monday of every month.


Ashli gerdes, WJON News
Ashli gerdes, WJON News

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