The Sage Collector

Changing the future for youth in foster care.


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Never too young to volunteer

Posted on October 25, 2016 at 1:55 PM

Adoption......Take the Plunge

Posted on November 9, 2015 at 7:50 AM

I am the mother of two girls of two girls that would never be mine if it wasn’t for adoption.

We did not begin out journey with the intention to adopt but we always considered it when we became foster parents. We are considered foster to adopt, which basically gives us the ability to adopt a potential foster child if all else fails. A lot of people tell me they would love to foster or adopt through foster care but they would get too attached and would not be able to give them back. My response to that is……. You will get attached and it will be sad when they go back, but you will also find joy in the fact that you helped a child and their family in the journey of reunification.

My challenge to anyone that wants to foster or adopt……………….Take the plunge, adoption through foster care has no guarantee but neither does the birth of your own child, private adoption, or international adoption.


What Foster Parents want Biological Parents to Know

Posted on October 21, 2015 at 10:15 AM

There are a few things I want biological parents to know about us.

We became foster parents almost 6 years ago. We started this adventure to love and care for children while supporting those children’s parents as they prepare to be reunified with their children. We never once took in a child with a predetermined thought of keeping them for our own. We are firm believers of doing what is in the best interest of the child and we do believe reunification with their biological parents is best as long as those parents are showing progression and in turn do what is best for their child, not themselves.

As foster parents we are not your enemy. We do not judge you. We do not want to take your child from you. We want to partner with you and support you along this passage. We will never be mean to you. We will treat you with respect. We will love and care for your child as if they were our own. We will shed tears for you and your child as we see you both travel this through this difficult journey. We will be hurt when you treat us poorly, but we will forgive you.

It must be hard to see someone else caring for your child but you need to use this time to grow and become the best parent possible. We know you love your child and we want to see you succeed. So please remember next time you feel angry towards us……….we are on your team.


A Special Thanks

Posted on September 21, 2015 at 10:55 AM

Sometimes I look back on my life and laugh because it is so perfectly far from what I had ever expected it to be. Every single person and event I have experienced thus far, in good and bad times has made me who I am today. It is so easy to become frustrated in life when things do not go as we plan them. Those are the time I must put my faith in God for he is in control.

This letter is to simply express my gratitude to a group of good people that were there for us during the past year and ½. These are people I never envisioned being in my life but I am forever grateful that they are. They are group of angels disguised as the employees of Butler County CYS, Totin Family services and Family Pathways. These people go to work every day like most of us do. However the direct impact their job has on our community is like no other. They are the voices for those too young to speak and the needle and thread that helps stitch families back together. When all else fails they hold the hands of foster parents and connect mothers and fathers with a child seeking a forever family.

I often feel there is not enough emphasis put on these community helpers. Their job does not stop when their shift is over. They come to the rescue in the middle of the night when a child is in need. They sacrifice time with their own families to help others. Their dreams are often clouded with visions of hurting families. These are selfless people that remind us there is good in this world.

I wish to extend my gratitude and sincere appreciation to all the staff at Family Pathways, Totin Family Services and Butler CYS for the invaluable work they do helping children and families in our community.

Please feel free to share this letter as I would love for more people to better understand the importance of these individuals.


Stephanie Kish

Basking in the glow/shadow of adoption

Posted on May 15, 2015 at 1:30 PM

I often kick back and watch my two youngest daughters prancing through the yard with a smile that covers a heavy heart. The smile is a genuine one but so is the ache in my heart. The smile is for their happiness now and the two daughters I call mine. The ache is for the mother they lost and an ache for the mother that lost her children. Adoption through foster care is not for the faint of heart nor is it for the strongest of hearts. It’s for those that understand that their gain is a very terrible loss for someone else. Not just the bio parent but the child. I so often ache for my daughter’s bio mother. I feel that if her own abusive situation did not exist she (possible) would not have lost all of her children. I struggle with the fact I can’t help someone that does not want help (maybe she does not realize she needs help). Regardless….. her situation got to the point that she had a choice to fix it or lose her kids. That was over two years ago……….our adoption date is near. Very, very limited (next to none) stipulations were taken to regain custody of the girls that were taken by CYS. A bitter sweet party will soon mark our daughters Adoption Day! A day we all celebrate as a gain and gift from God. Gifts, food, family and friends will all be a happy memory in their minds. The parents they lost may someday be a nightmare they make seek to find.

Please don’t ask details about why our daughters were in foster care and adopted. Their story is theirs to tell someday (if they choose). What I will tell you is……….children are only taken into care (CYS) if they are not safe for numerous reasons. Please consider being a foster or adoptive parent. You are in need greatly! The process is pretty easy and there is support. If you have questions or need contacts, feel free to ask. Email or PM me. I would be more than happy to answer your questions.


Comments that drive me crazy about foster care!

Posted on May 5, 2015 at 1:15 AM

My husband and I have been foster parents for over five years. Fostering is an experience in life that lets you feel more emotions than any other event. I often hear people explain a situation by saying “It was bitter/sweet. Fostering is so much more. I feel fear, excitement, anger, love, happiness, sadness, accomplishment, failure, disrespect, betrayed, gain, loss, resentment, jealousy, mourning, comfort, anxious, nervous……… get the point. Just so you know I could keep going.

When people discover we have foster children, they are never shy to comment or ask questions. I understand their intentions are well, I really do. I just wish they would think before they talk. Here are a few of the top comments that drive me CRAZY! (I’ll post the questions a different time)

#1 Comment………. I could never be a foster parent. I would get too attached.

(What I’m thinking)……“Well I guess that make me heartless, and unable to attach to another human being!”

(What I say, thanks to a quote I found) ………“ I’m not afraid to grieve, I’m afraid of what would happen to these children if no one took the risk to love them.”

#2 Comment………… They are so lucky to have you.

(What I’m thinking)……..“Not as lucky as they would be if they were home with their bio parents that could take care of them!)

(What I say)………..No we are lucky to have them.

#3 Comment…………Wow you got your hands full. (It’s not uncommon for me to have 5+ kids with me)

(What I'm thinking)………..If you think my hands are full, you should see my heart!

(What I say) I just smile and say “yup”.

Why are Kids in foster care

Posted on May 3, 2015 at 2:05 AM

There are several hundred thousand children within the foster care system in the United States alone. So what happens within a family that a court decides that a child must enter the foster care system?

Please keep in mind just because a child is placed in foster care does not mean that their parents are bad people. Most of the time the goal is reunification and the children and parents are reunited. Anyone can make mistakes or fall on hard times. When parents choose to take help and work with their counties resources and agencies they can be a success story and that is the ultimate goal in the foster care system.

Physical Abuse- Physical abuse usually means to the extreme, where bruising is left on a child and numerous attempts to help a family learn alternative means of disciple have failed. Each State or Country determines how physical abuse is defined. Physical abuse may also mean the restraining of a child or being locked within a closet or other space.

Sexual Abuse - This can mean several different things as sexual abuse is often thought about on a continuum of acts with the viewing of pornographic material or viewing of sex acts on one end of the continuum to fondling and penetration on the other.

Neglect - Neglect encompasses several areas, including - the child's need for food, a clean living environment, or emotional needs. It is extremely difficult to prove emotional abuse, but is often a part of physical or sexual abuse.

Medical Neglect - Sometimes a birth parent's choice to not seek medical attention stems from religious beliefs, but there are other times when a child's medical needs are neglected due to pure thoughtlessness.

Incarceration - A child may be placed into foster care when there are no family or friends available to care for the child during a parent's incarceration in prison or jail.

Abandonment - Children may also enter foster care when their parents have dropped them off at a sitters and never returned, or left the children home alone for extended periods of time.

Truancy - Truancy does impact younger children at times, when parents have not ensured that the children make it to school regularly.

Death - Though rare, as there is usually family available to care for a child after the death of a parent, there have been cases when children do enter foster care after the death of a parent.

Voluntarily Placed - Another rare occurrence, due to the child's behavior or a parent's health, some parents have privately placed their children into foster care.

We often think of the parent's shortcomings when a child enters foster care, but there are times when a child's choices mean a child must be placed into the foster care system.

Juvenile Offender - A child that has been adjudicated a juvenile offender by the court system after a series of scrapes with law enforcement. Sometimes the child's choice to break the law means the child may find himself within the foster care system, especially if there are issues within the home and the parents are unable to properly manage the child's behavior.

Runaways - Some children engage in dangerous running away behavior that parents find difficult to manage alone.

Truancy - Another child behavior that may lead to the child's need to be placed into the foster care system is that of chronically skipping school.


National Foster Care Month

Posted on May 1, 2015 at 1:30 AM

May is National Foster Care Month—a time to acknowledge the foster parents, family members, volunteers, mentors, policymakers, child welfare professionals, and other members of the community who help children and youth in foster care find permanent homes and connections. It is also a time to focus on ways to create a bright future for the more than 400,000 children and youth in foster care.



Communities play an important role in supporting all children and youth, but especially children and youth in foster care. By becoming a foster parent, respite provider, engaging in volunteer work, or mentoring children who need an adult role model, individuals and families can make a lasting impact in a child's life.

Foster Care contacts

Posted on April 27, 2015 at 1:10 PM

Lots of times I meet people that want to be foster parents but don’t move forward simply because they don’t know who to contact to get started. Here is a list of agencies in and around Butler County.



1119 Village Way

Latrobe, PA 15650

Phone: 724-804-7000


Adoption Connection PA

700 Turnpike Street

Beaver, PA 15009

Phone: (724) 371-0671


Bethany Christian Services

10521 Perry Highway, Ste 200

Wexford, PA 15090



Family Pathways

Monarch Place

100 Brugh Ave

Butler, PA 16001

Phone: 724-284-9440


Three Rivers Adoption Council

307 Fourth Avenue

Suite 310

Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Ph: 412-471-8722


For information on agencies in other counties and states visit


Meet the Sage Collector

Posted on April 27, 2015 at 11:35 AM

Hello, I am Stephanie, the woman behind “The Sage Collector”. I live in beautiful western Pennsylvania. I have a passion for cooking, crafting, gardening, traveling, home decor, being a parent and an advocate for foster care and adoption. I am a God fearing wife and mother of five, (3 bio & 2 adopted. Just don’t ask which ones are which because I can’t remember). My husband and I are also foster parents which often changes the number of children we have. I decided to create this site and blog to share not only my knowledge and experiences but also share what have learned from others. I am so happy that you are here to visit. I hope you come back often to see what’s new....