‘I love being a dad’: Independence man adopts two siblings out of foster care


INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Saturday is National Adoption Day. In Jackson County, a number of children became part of their new families on Friday. One of them was Steven Fishell and his now adopted children.

Fishell went from foster dad to single dad. He adopted 11-year-old Ian and his baby sister, Piper. He hopes his story of becoming a parent will inspire others to take the leap and foster.

When 9-month-old Piper got picked up from daycare she had no clue her life was about to change and her foster dad was about to adopt her and her brother.

“I saw a real need for children to have safe and secure homes. I felt like I had the ability and capacity to provide the love, support, and structure for kids,” Fishell said.

In March of 2020, he became Ian’s foster dad. It was his first of six placements to come.

“It was terrifying. That first day was so like – oh my gosh. They put a child in my home. What do I do with this kid?” Fishell said.

He learned to be a father and Ian learned what it was like to have a family, including a grandma, grandpa, and an entire tribe of family and friends.

“It’s one of his dreams that he’s wanted to be a dad. Have a family of his own. It was something I encouraged him to do,” Fishell’s mom, Pam Tull said.

One day the little family they’d become accustomed to changed forever. After one of Ian’s court dates they came home and Steven got a call from his case worker.

“The case worker called me and said – you’re going to want to sit down,” Fishell said.

Ian’s biological mom gave birth to Piper, his half sister, and she was about to become part of their family too.

Fishell said he had to run to the hospital to pick her up. His mother ran to the store to get everything you’d need for a newborn. She moved in with him for the first three weeks to help.

“It was incredible,” Fishell said.

“She’s his baby, and to me it’s not all about the blood. It’s about being a family, and that’s what they are. To see her from day one and to blossom and have this as a reality – it’s awesome,” Tull said.

On November 19, they were no more of a family than the day before, but the paperwork was signed and it was “O’Fishell.” The children had separate adoption proceedings and had one big party with grandma, grandpa, friends, and even Ian’s first foster mom.

“Congratulations. What a fabulous Thanksgiving you have ahead of you!” the judge told the Fishell family.

“This adoption is an amazing happy ending and it is a finalization of their journey through foster care and the start of our family, but it is in no way the end of what we are trying to do here,” Fishell said.

Fishell said he will continue to foster children and may adopt more in the future as he is able.

“There’s 1,700 kids in the state of Missouri that need a place to be,” Fishell said. “I love being a dad. I live and breathe for my children.”

Interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent in Missouri?

  • Cornerstones of Care specializes in Standard and Career Foster Licenses at  1-855-SRV-KIDS (855-778-5437) or visit their website.
  • Crittenton Children’s Center (Saint Luke’s) focuses on medical homes, homes that can accommodate sibling groups, and homes for older youth (age 12 and up).
  • If you are interested in learning more about this organization please reach out to Virginia Fatseas at (816) 986-5209
  • Missouri Alliance offers elevated needs training (Level A & B) to our Resource Families.  They also train our foster parents in TBRI (Trust Based Relational Intervention) as well as SOS (Signs of Safety).
  • If you are interested in learning more about this organization please reach out to Karie Scott-Roark email: KRoark@MA-CF.org.
  • Great Circle Behavioral Health for Children & Families does foster care licensing for prospective foster parents.
  • If you are interested in learning more about this organization please reach out to Jaqueline Brown at (816) 255-1503 or Jacqueline.Brown@greatcircle.org

Interested in becoming a foster or adoptive parent in Kansas?

Want to see children who are looking for a family?

Want to become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for foster children in the metro?

According to CASA’s website, a court appointed special advocate make a life-changing different for children who have experienced abuse or neglect. Each volunteer is appointed by a judge to advocate for a child’s best interest in court.

Their volunteers help judges develop a fuller picture of each child’s life. Their advocacy enables judges to make the most well-informed decision for each child.



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