In our Staff Spotlight Series, we catch up with the talented, dedicated, and compassionate individuals who help make everything our organization does possible. This month we’re featuring Katie Sir, Education and Event Facilitator. Katie joined our team just a few months ago and says, “This past fall I made a huge career shift by stepping into this role. It’s been the most amazing full-circle journey that brought me to the exact place I felt called to, over 7 years ago, during my first semester of college. Life has taken a lot of funny twists and turns, and here I am, returning to my original passion—supporting foster care!” Learn more about Katie’s work and life below.
What is your current role and what are some of your primary responsibilities?
I am an Education and Event Facilitator. I coordinate and host the events for our Connect2Connect program, which is for families outside of the metro to meet other foster and adoptive families while doing a fun activity! On the Education Team, we provide pre-adoption classes that help families become licensed. We have a monthly Adoption Day Camp for adopted youth, as well as Community Closet events in the works. Soon I will also be coordinating and co-teaching the Child Passenger Safety C.A.R.S. car seat training classes that we will offer at our office in St. Paul. It’s a true delight to be supporting Foster Care Adoption in each of the different stages!
What is something everyone should know about foster care and/or adoption that they might not?
Here is a historical fun fact that was fascinating the first time I learned it: the common phrase “put up for adoption” originates in the Orphan Train era (1850s-1920s). A well-intended program, orphans were brought by trains from the crowded East Coast cities to be adopted into Midwest families and raised in a more peaceful environment. Unfortunately, it turned into children ages 6-14 (working age at the time) to be “put up” on auction boxes at train stations. They were poked and prodded, examined for their physical capabilities, and often treated as property who would become farmhands and servants. In the 1920s, new child labor laws were enacted, and the state assumed control of the care for orphaned children.
Knowing this background, we really emphasize the value of Positive Adoption Language. “Placed” in foster care or a youth is in “out of home care” are small shifts that can make a big impact. (Come to our free pre-adoption class to learn more! 😉)
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
For me, the most rewarding part is getting to love on the parents who pour out so much to care for youth that have experienced horrible traumas. It’s not an easy task and each heart drawn to foster care deserves a fun day snow-tubing or at the zoo just as much as the kids do!
Switching gears to life outside of work—what does an ideal weekend look like for you?
My partner, Dusty, and I live in Shakopee and are often found taking on a new house project or hobby! I play a lot of volleyball, am a proud dog mom (and soon-to-have backyard chickens!), and am beyond grateful for our family and friends.
If you could travel anywhere in the world in the next year, where would you go and what would you do?
I would see to it that my dream of taking an advanced yoga teacher training class in Thailand is fulfilled! I backpacked in southeast Asia pre-pandemic and would love to continue that towards New Zealand and beyond.
What is something that always brings a smile to your face?
“I love smiling, smiling’s my favorite” – Buddy the Elf (and Katie Sir)
Please join me in being excited that it is finally March because I LOVE SPRING! Fresh air, budding flowers, sunshine… hope is restored in the world. Lots to smile about. Thank you for reading and learning about me, if it seems like we just became best friends, please reach out so I can learn about you too!