Courtney Strahm and her family didn’t know much about foster care until just a few years ago. But they became aware, and awareness led to action. Listen to Courtney’s story of how God called and provided for them, in good times and hard times, to make a difference in the lives of kids in foster care.
Meet Wendy Carlton, a foster and adoptive mom who found joy in fostering, and in developing a meaningful relationship with her child’s biological mother. Learning more about the mother’s history helped Wendy understand the need for good mentors and role models. “She couldn’t be a good mom or role model because she never had that herself,” says Wendy. The story of how God orchestrated the details of their foster placement will help you grow your trust in God’s timing.
Parents of foster and adoptive children often face additional considerations in school situations regarding the well-being of their child. Mike and Kristin Berry, adoptive parents of eight and advocates for foster care and adoption, talk about some of the things parents need to remember when talking with teachers or the principal, as well as delighting in and being an observer of your child.
Many foster and adoptive parents are unsure of the best strategy regarding when and how much information to tell a child about their background, or their “story.” Jayne Schooler shares great information and advice in this Encore Episode from Season 3 of The Forgotten Podcast!
Keith McAfee had a less than idyllic childhood—denied by his biological father, raised by several abusive step-fathers, made poor decisions, suffered various kinds of abuse. But one family saw through his pain and never gave up on being there for him, even when he was in and out of their lives. Listening to Keith’s story will give you hope that God is a God of details and He can make good out of any situation.
Greg Cox shares the story of losing his eight children into the child welfare system due to his neglect brought about by substance abuse. The situation became a catalyst in his own life to get clean and sober, and more importantly, to do what was necessary to be a full-time father to his children. Greg now serves others by being a parent mentor and coach.
Josh Shipp admits to being a hard to handle teen in foster care. He had “mastered the art” of getting kicked out of foster homes, but his life changed due to a caring adult who wouldn’t give up on him. Josh has become an advocate for teens and those who love them. He is the author of the book The Grown-Up's Guide to Teenage Humans.
Josh Shipp is an author, global youth empowerment expert and acclaimed speaker. A former at-risk foster kid who “mastered the art of getting kicked out” of foster homes, he is renowned for his documentary TV series on A&E that followed his ground-breaking work with teens. He is the author of the book The Grown-Up’s Guide to Teenage Humans.
Aurie Good is a pastor’s wife and homeschooling mother of five children, two biological, one adopted from foster care and two in the process of adopting from foster care. She has developed great strategies to help you keep your sanity while parenting and maintaining the mountain of paperwork required while fostering. She and her husband, Ken, have fostered 11 children during their nine years of foster parenting in New Jersey. All of the children who have come into their home have been medically fragile, requiring even more paperwork and organization. Aurie shares not only great tips, but she’s included a link to a PDF of “The Binder”—an organizational tool she’s developed. Don’t miss it!
Jamie Grace is a Grammy nominated, Dove award-winning contemporary Christian/Christian rap musician who has big dreams and plans beyond music. Raised in a household in which her parents took in more than 25 children, she has a huge heart for foster care and is determined to make a difference in others’ lives in tangible ways.
Lynne Ellis-Gray knows what it feels like to wonder about biological parents. Adopted as a baby, her parents did the “right” things by sharing her story in a positive way and made her feel chosen and wanted. As she grew, she wondered and explored for information about her birth mother. Her interest in adoption led her to write her master’s thesis on adoption issues that adoptees face. What she found is eye-opening and can be very helpful for adoptive and foster parents, as well as adult adoptees who still find certain things trigger feelings that are based deep inside.
Jim Daly, President of Focus on the Family, shares his personal journey of being a child in foster care and explains how going through that painful time created a passion in him to work on behalf of children in foster care and how, even as an adult, he still feels the effects of foster care in his life.
Kirsten Smith believes her past experience prepared her for her present reality, although “nothing could fully prepare me to be the mother of nine!” She grew up with an idea of what foster care was, and after college she worked as a social worker with families in crisis, aiding in reunification, but also seeing the effects of child abuse and neglect. “It was a hard job,” she says. “I remember thinking, ‘I don’t know why God put me here.’” A few years later she realized that some of her own children came from those scenarios.
Scott Brown, Coordinator of the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO) Aging Out Initiative, gathers success stories of organizations that are helping aging out youth and are creating solutions. Approximately 24,000 youth age out of the foster care system every year, and about 70% of those young adults are falling through the cracks of making a successful transition into adulthood.
Foster and adoptive fathers have very few resources to help them deal with the feelings and struggles that often arise when caring for children from hard places. Andrew Schneidler is trying to change that.
Many foster and adoptive parents are unsure of the best strategy regarding when and how much information to tell a child about their background, or their “story.”
Join us for this Encore Episode of Jami’s conversation with Emma Williams. Emma lived in several foster homes, shelters, and adoptive family situations as a child. Her story will give you amazing insight into the sometimes hard realities facing children in foster care.
Because caring for the orphan is a deep concern on God’s heart, Jenn Ranter wanted to provide support for these families, so that they felt loved and cared for. She founded Replanted Ministry because she wanted to create a community where both the parents/foster parents could feel safe and vulnerable and be able to share their honest feelings and emotions without judgment. Families who are in the trenches of dealing with trauma can offer this support to other families—parents and children alike.
Molly Evans knew working with kids was what made her heart beat with excitement and purpose. In college, she interned in a DCFS (Department of Children and Family Services) office and took a class in child welfare that solidified her goal of working with families and one-on-one with kids. After college, she worked at a private agency as a Family Enhancement worker, helping intact families get help with parenting skills, job searches, even housing, as well as supervised parent-child visits.
Fawn Kieser admits she was one of those parents who said with firm conviction, “I could never do foster care—I could never give them back.” But as she and her husband, Brent, took baby steps of faith, starting with just being willing to be moved by God to a new place that they never thought they’d be, she realizes that they have become survivors and overcomers.
Brittany Lind and her husband, Joel, didn’t overthink the idea of becoming foster parents. Adoption was part of the church culture she experienced in college—it was preached and lived out on a regular basis. When they married and planned for their family, they didn’t see a difference between having biological children and adoption—they were both equally good and beautiful.
Dr. Andrea Kane is a pediatrician whose practice includes many foster families. She shares wisdom regarding some of the common physical, mental and emotional concerns that foster families may face.
Several TFI Advocates join Jami in a conversation about why they became Advocates and the benefits of being an Advocate with TFI.
Jedd Medefind serves as the President of CAFO (Christian Alliance for Orphans). His biggest joy is spending time with people who are making their faith tangible by living it out and loving vulnerable kids. “Nothing is more beautiful and encouraging than Christians who look like Jesus—who care about kids the world has pushed to the side.”
Jason Weber’s experience with working with the inner-city kids and families provided not only an invitation to foster, but also an invitation to help other followers of Christ engage in caring for kids who needed families.