Child Welfare Loses Publishing Pioneer Dick Fischer

placeholder_tributes-1-23-200x300On Thanksgiving Day, Dick Fischer, the publisher of Adoption Today and Fostering Families Today magazines, died.

A little more than 20 years ago, Fischer and his wife Annie adopted two girls from China. That experience led Fischer, who had a background in graphic design and printing, to come up with the idea of a magazine that would serve adoptive families like his own.

In 1998 he founded Adoption Today. Soon after, he recognized the similar needs of foster families and launched Fostering Families Today.

Fischer was a humble man. I had the honor of spending some time with him in the last months of his life.

In the Windsor, Colorado, offices where he oversaw the production of the magazines, he told me two stories that I will never forget.

One day some years ago, he said that he was laying out the proofs of an issue of Adoption Today, which carried photos of children waiting for permanent families.

The neighborhood UPS driver came by and noticed the photo of a little boy with a disfiguration on his face. Right then and there, Fischer told me, the driver dialed up his wife, who agreed that they had been called by God to adopt the child.

They did, and even brought the little boy to visit Fischer in his offices in the rolling country just east of the Rocky Mountains.

Telling this story brought Fischer to tears.

But this was not the only adoption that his magazines facilitated. Fischer said that he had received over 200 postcards from agencies whose children featured in the magazine had been successfully adopted because families saw them in the pages of Fostering Families Today or Adoption Today.  

“With every issue we just prayed that children would find a family,” Annie Fischer said. “To get a letter saying this child got adopted was amazing. Dick and I would just celebrate. All the tears and struggle and everything were gone because one child found their forever family.”

As she spoke, Mrs. Fischer said that she was looking at a photo of her husband with their two adopted children.

“That is where it started,” she said. “We wanted to have families blessed like we are.”

Another key person in Adoption Today and Fostering Families Today was Kim Phagan-Hansel, the editor of both magazines.

“It has been such an honor to work alongside Dick to help him build two award-winning publications that share the realities foster and adoptive families face every day,” Phagan-Hansel said. “His work has touched countless children and families across the country and his heartfelt dedication will be felt for years to come.”

Over the years, the impact of both magazines was significant. Fostering Families Today won the U.S. Department of Health and Humans Services Adoption Excellence Award in 2014 and was the National Association of Social Work’s Media Award Winner in 2012.

Fischer himself won the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute’s prestigious Angels in Adoption Award.

Fischer is survived by his wife, son Chris, and three daughters: Jenna, Nicole and Jackie. He has six grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

Outside of his work in the field of child welfare, Fischer was an avid hunter. In honor of this side of his life his ashes will be spread atop a mountain overlooking his most treasured hunting grounds.

A memorial service will be held or him on Sunday, December 10, at Timberline Church in Fort Collins, Colorado.

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Daniel Heimpel
About Daniel Heimpel 193 Articles
Daniel is the founder of Fostering Media Connections and the publisher of The Chronicle of Social Change.