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The Forgotten Podcast

We want to see people everywhere supporting the foster care community and experiencing Jesus together. So, in this podcast, we are sharing the stories of the foster care community to bring awareness that leads to action!
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The Forgotten Podcast
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Now displaying: Category: general
Feb 19, 2024

When Lisa Qualls found out she was pregnant as a teen, it led to an unexpected journey through foster care. After giving birth to her son, she felt conflicting pressure to give him up to be adopted, and it would be 16 years until she would reconnect with him again.

Lisa has a unique perspective as she has experienced the adoption and foster care community as a former foster youth, birth mom, foster mom, and adoptive mom. Lisa is a TBRI® Practitioner, co-founder of Adoption Wise, and co-author of The Connected Parent with Karyn Purvis. She lives in North Idaho with her husband, Russ, with whom she has parented twelve children by birth and adoption.

In this episode, you’ll hear Lisa’s deeply challenging experience in foster care and becoming a mother, her passion for staying connected to a child’s first family whenever possible, how she strives to encourage foster and adoptive families today, and so much more!

Apply to Become a TFI Advocate: www.tfiadvocate.org

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/lisa-qualls-221/

Feb 12, 2024

We’re exploring some deep questions on the podcast this week and I would love to hear how you’re processing them.

How do we navigate painful circumstances in life?
How do we walk with others who are experiencing something deeply challenging?
How do we respond when life doesn’t turn out the way we expected it to?

I was so deeply touched during my conversation with my guest today, Katherine Wolf. She is my beautiful sister in Christ who is also a stroke survivor, disability advocate, and author. She and her husband, Jay, have authored two best-selling books Hope Heals and Suffer Strong.

In our conversation, you’ll hear Katherine reveal treasures found in dark times, share practical insights on how to encourage and support those who are struggling, and more!

Listen in!

Apply to Become a TFI Advocate: www.tfiadvocate.org

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/katherine-wolf-220/

Feb 5, 2024

DREION is a husband, father, electrifying singer-songwriter, musician, producer, and performing artist originally from Omaha, Nebraska. He experienced the foster care system as a child at the age of seven, and his story is one of trauma, tragedy, and triumph that the world needs to hear. Today, DREION uses his music to inspire and shed light on this underserved community through powerful storytelling and intentional experiences.

In this episode, you’ll hear DREION openly share his painful experience of entering foster care, why he holds a passion to advocate for foster care reform, the hope he holds for the future, why music holds such a meaningful place in his soul, and his message for other current or former foster youth.

Listen in!

Apply to Become a TFI Advocate: www.tfiadvocate.org

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/dreion-219/

Jan 29, 2024

I am so excited to bring you something a little bit different today. Grace Church of San Diego is letting us feature an episode of their podcast, Deeper Than Sunday, which featured one of our TFI Advocates, Desiree Jacobs.

In this episode, you’ll hear about secondary trauma, being inconvenienced vs. overextended, and what it looks like to bridge the gap between a foster care agency and a church.

I am grateful to Grace Church of San Diego for sharing this episode with us and allowing us to learn from their conversation!

Get notified when TFI Advocate applications go live: https://www.tfiadvocate.org/

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/desiree-jacobs-218/

Jan 22, 2024

What comes to your mind when you hear the word fatherhood?

My guest on the podcast today, Joey Eells, has a passion for fatherhood. When he became a father, he sought to step into that role in a way that would point his children toward their Heavenly Father. Joey is a foster and adoptive parent, and Children’s Pastor at Eastview Christian Church in Normal, Illinois.

In this episode, Joey discusses the role of fatherhood, the complicated relationship that often exists between foster and biological parents, the challenges of navigating the complex needs of children, how to model the love of God as a father, and more! Listen in as Joey vulnerably shares his perspective and experience.

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/joey-eells-217/

Get 10% off the Who Loves Series with code "forgottenpod": https://www.wholovesseries.org/ 

Jan 15, 2024

It can be so hard to let go of control, can't it? We make plans, we set goals, and we want the outcome to be firmly in our grasp. But it’s not always that simple, and God often invites us to release the outcomes to Him.

My guests today experienced this when they decided to start a family and experienced a seven-year delay before it would eventually occur via adoption.

I have the honor of being joined by Michael & Lauren McAfee. Lauren is the founder of Stand for Life and is the Ministry Director at Hobby Lobby Ministry Investments. Michael is the founder and president of Inspire Experiences and a teaching pastor at Council Road Church. Together, they have two daughters through adoption and recently released their book, Beyond Our Control.

In this episode, they walk us through their journey of starting a family, how entitled expectations can rob us of joy, how we can let go of control when we need to, the importance of our emotions, and so much more.

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/michael-lauren-mcafee-216/

Jan 8, 2024

Do you ever find fear rising up within your heart? Does the weight of uncertainty ever feel too heavy to handle? In the foster care community, uncertainty about how our “yes” may impact our family, our marriage, a child in foster care, another family, or even ourselves can throw us into fear and hesitation rather than trust and faith.

I am so excited to welcome Jenn Hand for this conversation. Jenn founded Coming Alive Ministries in 2012 and has the honor of traveling around the world as a missionary and extending the invitation to come alive in Christ. She is an incredible example of someone who listens to God’s direction! She has her Master’s Degree in Trauma Counseling and is the author of five books. Jenn’s most recent book is My Yes is on the Table: Moving From Fear to Faith.

In this episode, Jenn shares about how saying “yes” is linked to surrender, what we can do with our fear, why stepping forward in faith doesn’t always mean forever, and so much more. I really enjoyed this conversation, and am eager to kick off 2024 with this topic!

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/jenn-hand-215/

Dec 18, 2023

“It was like she was returning a book to a library. She dropped me off and she left. It was one of the most traumatic experiences.” – Melinda Melo

Melinda spent her childhood living in some of the most vulnerable communities in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Due to extreme challenges her mother and family faced, she was neglected and exposed to violence, abuse, crime, and substance abuse. As a result, Melinda was in and out of foster and kinship care from the ages of three to fifteen. Uniquely, Melinda’s mother chose multiple times to place Melinda in foster care, which added an extra layer of trauma and extremely difficult emotions.

In this episode, Melinda shares the circumstances that led to her entering foster care, the effects of your identity being reduced to the labels in your file, how she has made sense of her past, the journey of forgiving her mom and welcoming her into her family’s home, and so much more. Today, Melinda has become a biological, foster, and adoptive parent along with her husband of 13 years, Mike.

Melinda’s story is full of challenge, and her healing journey through it all is incredible. Listen in!

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/melinda-melo-214/

Dec 11, 2023

Two years ago, on Episode 130 of The Forgotten Podcast, we had the opportunity to hear Brenna Hunter’s journey to reunification with her children who were placed in foster care due to substance abuse. Today, we get to hear how her story continued, as she eventually started working with the very same agency that managed her case. Brenna is working to be a voice for those who are navigating foster care and spreading hope through her own incredible transformation.

In today’s episode, you’ll hear why biological parents can sometimes feel like the system is out to “get” them, how her perspective of foster care agencies has changed since her case closed, what the biggest challenges of working with other parents walking a similar road to recovery has been, and so much more.

This was a special episode, and I don’t want you to miss it. Listen in!

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/brenna-hunter-213/

Dec 4, 2023

"When we didn't have adult care, he was the one that would make sure we needed to eat..."

Aimee Cervantes was placed in foster care with her brother at the young age of four. But she would soon experience another loss as the last familiar person in her world was taken from her. Aimee was separated from her brother and they were adopted by different families—All she knew was his birth name, the name of their mother, and the town they had lived in prior to foster care.

In this episode, Aimee shares her experience of being in different forms of care from group homes, foster care, orphanages, and her eventual adoption. She also talks about the deep impact that being separated from her brother had on her life. While much was lost when Aimee entered foster care, she would find it again in her new family and even locate her biological brother when they were both adults.

This is an episode you simply don't want to miss. Aimee openly shares her experience of the foster care system, adoption, and the beauty of connecting with her brother as an adult. Listen in!

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/aimee-cervantes-212/

Nov 27, 2023

Today, I have a beautiful story to share with you here on the podcast.

Amanda Stonesifer and Cheyenne Dillon entered each other’s lives when Amanda’s daughters entered foster care and were placed with Cheyenne in 2020. Cheyenne has always had a passion for building relationships with biological parents connected to the foster care community. What started as home visits transformed into a full-blown partnership and friendship. Today, Cheyenne is the adoptive parent of two of Amanda’s daughters and the pair still have a strong friendship that involves support, sleepovers, attending church together, and long weekend visits.

In our conversation, you'll hear how Amanda and Cheyenne have built connection and trust, the power of partnership in foster care, the assumptions many of us carry, and so much more. I really appreciated this episode and the respect Amanda and Cheyenne truly have towards one another, and I know you will too!

Listen in!

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/cheyenne-amanda-211/

Nov 20, 2023

One of the questions we often hear from those considering supporting the foster care community is, "When is the right time to become a foster parent?" This question can feel even heavier when we talk to individuals who feel the call to become a foster parent but are not married.

My guest today is a dear friend and someone who has been a single foster parent for more than five years. Jillian Kellenberger served with us here at TFI for 8 years, and she is what you would call an “energy giver." She is so passionate about people, relationships, Jesus, and is uniquely gifted at caring well for people.

Throughout her foster care journey, Jillian has walked through a lot of joy, a lot of sorrow, and has had many tear-filled moments. In this episode, she shares how she decided to become a foster parent as a single woman, the principles she has learned about supporting biological families, her journey through reunification, and some of the beautiful truths she has discovered about God.

I know you will be encouraged and filled with hope from her story!

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/jillian-kellenberger-210/

Nov 13, 2023

November is often a time when we bring additional awareness to the foster care and adoption community as many churches recognize Orphan Sunday. In honor of that, we wanted to take a moment to talk more broadly about caring for vulnerable children. We want to use this time to renew our passion for caring for the vulnerable in every stage of life including children in foster care, pregnant mothers, and families.

Joining me is Herbie Newell, an author, speaker, and the President and Executive Director of Lifeline Children’s Services. Under his leadership, Lifeline has increased their international outreach to 25 countries and expanded into 14 states. He lives in Birmingham, AL with his wife, Ashley, and their three children. Herbie has been working in the child welfare world for the last two decades. He and his wife share a passion for the unborn, life, and adoption and have a desire to spend their lives advocating for “the least of these.”

In this episode, we discuss the importance of increasing awareness, how we can develop compassion for people throughout the foster care and adoption community, the importance of the Church championing care for the vulnerable, and so much more.

As you listen in, I hope you walk away with a renewed passion for where you are called to serve vulnerable families!

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/herbie-newell-209/

Get 10% off BetterHelp: https://betterhelp.com/tfi

Nov 6, 2023

You’ve likely heard about trauma, but have you heard of secondary trauma? It’s sometimes referred to as compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma, and secondary traumatic stress, and it is especially common among helping professionals such as mental health professionals, first responders, and social workers.

My guest today is Blake Boyer, a social worker in the field of child welfare. Blake is a wife, mother, and has a masters in social work in addition to being a Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) Practitioner.

In this episode, Blake shares her experience as a social worker, the challenging effects of secondary trauma in her field, how she approaches her faith in a government position, how we can support those we know who are social workers, and much more.

Listen in!

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/blake-boyer-208/

Get 10% Off BetterHelp: https://betterhelp.com/tfi

Oct 30, 2023

Don't forget! For the month of October, applications are open for YOU to become a TFI Advocate, bridging the gap between foster care agencies and churches right in your local community. This only happens twice a year! Learn more and apply here.

I am honored and encouraged by the bravery and honesty of so many of the guests on our podcast. Today's episode is a special one to be able to share.

Jody Golston is the biological mother of three girls. As a result of her challenging struggle with drug addiction, they entered the foster care system. Through a long journey of healing and “choosing her hard,” Jody overcame her addiction and eventually even had the opportunity to became a kinship caregiver for her nephews and spend more time with her daughters.

She has quite the story, moving from a recovering addict to a kinship caregiver and now an advocate for others connected to the foster care community. Today, Jody uses her experiences to encourage and mentor other moms who are involved with foster care through her support group, Tangled Hearts.

Jody's story is one of recovery and restoration after the hardest days of her life, and I encourage you to listen this week.

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/jody-golston-207/

Oct 23, 2023

For the month of October, applications are open for YOU to become a TFI Advocate, bridging the gap between foster care agencies and churches right in your local community. This only happens twice a year! Learn more and apply here.

“I didn’t know what was happening and for the first few years, I feel like I just disassociated from what was happening.” – Darien Karenbauer

It is always an honor to share the stories of those who have experienced placement in foster care in their life. For many children, entering foster care is extremely confusing and can come as a shock as they when they don’t understand how it works, who they can rely on, or where they’ll call home.

My guest today is Darien Karenbauer. Darien is a former foster youth and transracial adoptee who spent six years in the foster care system from ages 10 to 17. He experienced two failed adoptions and even lived in a detention facility (because a home couldn’t be found for him) before he was ultimately adopted at 17 years old.

In this episode, Darien shares his experience of entering foster care with little-to-no knowledge of how the system worked. Though that experience threw him into survival mode, he would eventually be able to build relationships because someone was willing to invest in his well-being before even meeting him.

I am so grateful to be sharing Darien’s story with you!

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/darien-karenbauer-206/

Oct 16, 2023

For the month of October, applications are open for YOU to become a TFI Advocate, bridging the gap between foster care agencies and churches right in your local community. This only happens twice a year! Learn more and apply here.

If you’ve ever had a dream in your heart, you know there can be a lot of steps to make it a reality. Along the way, you will likely encounter hardships, delays, and doubts.

I have a special treat for you today as we have not one, but two guests!

Kate Wilson is the Founder and CEO of Foster + Heart, a Non-Profit in Idaho that is dedicated to igniting the community to meet the needs of children in foster care. Even though the journey was long towards realizing her dream, God set things in motion to not only place that calling on her life early on but also see it come to fruition.

Secilia “Cece” Bedolla is a former foster youth and team member at Foster + Heart. Experiencing an incredibly challenging and traumatic upbringing, Cece’s story is a story of discovering hope in the midst of hardship.

I was so honored to have this conversation and I hope it’s an encouragement to you this week! Listen in as they share how God guided their circumstances and gave them the experience to meet the needs of children in foster care today.

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/wilson-bedolla-205/

Oct 9, 2023

For the month of October, applications are open for YOU to become a TFI Advocate, bridging the gap between foster care agencies and churches right in your local community. This only happens twice a year! Learn more and apply here.

Friends, please don’t miss this one!

Today, I have the special opportunity to share an episode about an aspect of foster care that I originally knew very little about: refugee foster care. If you are unfamiliar with this form of foster care, it occurs when a child has migrated to the United States (often all on their own) and it is unsafe to return to their home country. This can also occur when a child is placed in a refugee camp- listen to hear more about how this works.

My guest today is Jamie Bartlett. Jamie is a mom to four biological boys and one adopted daughter. She has fostered 18 children through refugee foster care. Jamie and her husband, Mike, reside in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where they started a church plant. And as of this episode, Jamie is one of our TFI Advocates!

Her story is touching and inspiring. You won’t want to miss this one!

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/jamie-bartlett-204/

Become a TFI Advocate: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/become-a-tfi-advocate/

Oct 2, 2023

For the month of October, applications are open for YOU to become a TFI Advocate, bridging the gap between foster care agencies and churches right in your local community. This only happens twice a year! Learn more and apply here.

I love meeting others who are deeply passionate about both the foster care community and the Church. Those are two of our passions here at The Forgotten Initiative as well!

Becoming a TFI Advocate starts with filling out an application. However, for each person who takes this step, the journey starts long before that, often beginning with an awareness that leads to action and a deep passion.

This is a journey I get to explore with Abby Callison in today's episode. Abby is a TFI Advocate in Mason City, IA and a foster parent as well. Long before she could support the foster care community directly, she was exposed to the importance of supporting vulnerable children through a mission trip to an African orphanage and seeing foster care lived out through multiple families at her local church.

In this episode, Abby reminds us of the significant role the Church can have in the foster care community, the unique circumstances that led them to become foster parents, her experience navigating the application process to become a TFI Advocate, why it is important that we identify our unique motivation, advice she would have for people interested in becoming involved, and so much more.

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/abby-callison-203/

Apply to Become a TFI Advocate: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/become-a-tfi-advocate/

Sep 25, 2023

Have I ever mentioned how much I love the people I get to meet through this podcast? What a powerful story of resilience and HOPE I get to share with you today!

Antonio Grate is a former foster youth who grew up in Chicago. His story includes his mother’s addiction, not having his father in his life, and eventually aging out of the foster care system. Even through all these challenges, the pain has not defined his life.

Today, he is a Social and Emotional Strategist, professional speaker, author, minister, husband, and father of four. It’s clear that he is passionate about sharing a message of hope with the foster care community.

It is an honor and a true inspiration to have Antonio join me today!

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/antonio-grate-202/

Who Loves Series: https://www.wholovesseries.org/

Sep 18, 2023

Are you looking for practical support? Today’s episode is for you.

Kayla Moffitt went from zero to five children through foster care the same week that her dad passed away from COVID-19. She describes it as a “brokenness” that she started her parenting journey from, something that has been a core part of her own healing journey.

The children they took in were siblings living separated in foster care for the majority of their time in care. Kayla and her husband, Jerad, eventually adopted all of them, many of whom have received psychiatric diagnoses like Bipolar Disorder, RAD, Childhood Schizophrenia, and more.

After struggling to navigate the hard moments of parenting and how to support challenging behaviors and actions, Kayla became a Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) Practitioner, which she says truly “saved our family.” In this episode, we dive into various trauma-informed parenting tactics and hope for those who are parenting children from hard places.

You are not alone!

Get 10% off BetterHelp: https://betterhelp.com/tfi

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/kayla-moffitt-201/

Sep 11, 2023

Join us as we celebrate our 200th episode of The Forgotten Podcast. In this special episode, roles are reversed as Jami Kaeb, the usual host, takes a turn as the guest, while Holly Gnuse steps in as the interviewer.

Since its inception in 2016, "The Forgotten Podcast" has been committed to sharing the stories of the forgotten in the foster care community. In this episode, Jami and Holly reminisce about TFI's podcasting journey, sharing stories from the early days and reflecting on the challenges they've faced.

Beyond the memories, they also discuss the profound impact the podcast has had on its listeners, providing strength and a sense of community during life's challenges. Whether you're a long-time listener or new to the show, this 200th episode is a heartfelt celebration of the podcast's journey, its influence, God's faithfulness, and the resilience of the human spirit.

Sep 4, 2023

Have you ever felt guilty that you couldn't do more? Wished you could simply help more children in foster care? Or perhaps you've felt like you've failed when you reach your limits?

You are not alone.

Anna Koon started her journey alongside the foster care community as a case worker and an adoption specialist. But she quickly wanted to do more, and was dipping into her personal finances to buy items to meet the needs of children in foster care. Anna and her husband couldn’t stand the thought of children sleeping at the DCS office when a foster family couldn’t be found, so they shifted roles to become foster parents specifically for respite and emergency placements.

Anna shares her unique journey with us from being a case worker to becoming a foster parent and insights along the way about supporting the foster care community. I was encouraged by our conversation and I hope you are as well!

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/anna-koon-199/

Aug 28, 2023

Trigger Warning: As Kamille bravely and openly shares her experience, we want to make sure you know this episode mentions sexual assault between 11:30-13:00 and briefly again around 22:00.

“They are so resilient. I can see myself in them.” - Kamille Justus

Children in foster care are some of the most resilient people you’ll meet. They navigate continual change, traumatic experiences, and so much more, and their experiences often form a determination within them.

Kamille Justus is one of these resilient people. In her case, that determination was to be a cycle-breaker in her family despite the hardship she had experienced throughout her life.

Today, Kamille is a Lead Family Support Worker at The Center for Youth and Family Solutions, which has locations across Illinois. Kamille has endured her own experiences in what, now, could bring children into care and she is using her experiences to help connect with children and parents. She hopes that her experience can build those connections so that the families within the Knox, Henderson and Warren counties can be supported and reunited.

In this episode, Kamille shares her story, the triggers that have formed as a result of what she experienced growing up, why her trauma created a passion to support others who have gone through something similar, the importance of empathy and compassion, and so much more.

I am so grateful to Kamille for joining me for this conversation!

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/kamille-justus-198/

Aug 21, 2023

The story I have for you today spans many roles in the foster care community. My guest, Raquel McCloud, entered kinship care when she was just a young child. Kinship care is when a relative or close family friend takes the role of foster parent instead of a caregiver previously unknown to the child. There are many instances of informal kinship care occurring as well as formal kinship care.

In many cases of kinship care, the relatives are left without many resources to help them establish boundaries with the biological parent who is also their own family member. In today’s episode, Raquel shares her personal story of growing up in kinship care, becoming pregnant as a teen, and how she was given no other option but to put her child up for adoption.

In spite of all she has been through, today Raquel is a birth mom in reunion with the very child she put up for adoption, a kinship adoptive mom to her half-sister, and an advocate for adoption, foster care, and other important topics. While Raquel wishes her life had been kinder, she is thankful that others can be inspired and learn from her experience going from a child in kinship care and biological teen mom to a birth mom in reunion and a kinship adoptive mom.

I am so grateful to Raquel for sharing her story!

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/raquel-mccloud-197/

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