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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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Now displaying: Category: general
Jul 22, 2024

This week, I have a powerful story to share with you from a former foster child, adoptee, and advocate for human rights.

I am honored to introduce you to my guest, Dr. Mary Ann McMillan. She is a passionate advocate for foster youth and adoptees, whose advocacy is deeply personal because it’s inspired by her own experience as an adoptee who spent many years in foster care. Mary Ann serves as a professor and administrator at Jessup University in California and has previously served as a missionary in Ukraine and the Czech Republic, leading trainings in nearly 30 countries.

In this episode, you’ll hear Mary Ann’s personal experience in the foster care system, the importance of understanding and processing your past, the important role therapy has played in her story, and much more.

Find resources mentioned and more in the show notes for this episode: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/mary-ann-mcmillan-243/

Jul 15, 2024

When foster care feels overwhelming, how do we hold on to hope? How do we define success? How do we find light when so much feels dark?

Nate and Kristen Crew are my guests on the podcast today. They have been married for almost 15 years and have 7 children – four adopted through foster care and three by birth. Rather than a specific “calling” to foster, they pursued foster care out of a desire to live out the basic commands in Scripture to care for those who are vulnerable. Nate is a pastor at CityLight Church in Virginia and together they love to encourage others through what God has taught them.

In this episode, you’ll hear how Nate and Kristen strive to live out their calling as Christians, the difference that reliance on God has made in their story, why it doesn’t require a “special moment” to start getting involved with foster care, how to hold on to hope when the journey is hard, and more.

Find resources mentioned and more in the show notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/nate-kristen-crew-242/

Jul 8, 2024

For teens (and for any child in foster care), how can we create spaces where they are safe, feel belonging, and develop their sense of independence? How can we give them involvement in the development of what that space looks like?

My guest today is a dear friend, Chandler James. Chandler used to be an Advocate Coach here at The Forgotten Initiative and today is the Director of Church Mobilization for The Riverside Project, a nonprofit dedicated to transforming the foster care system in Houston. Chandler and his wife, Caitlin, are foster parents and are currently supporting four teens, three of whom have aged out of foster care and one that they have permanency of.

In our conversation, you’ll hear helpful principles for creating a sense of belonging for children who have experienced trauma, the challenges they’ve experienced of supporting teens as young parents, how to communicate boundaries while providing independence, the importance of caring for teens in foster care, and so much more.

Find links to resources mentioned and more in the show notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/chandler-james-241/

Jul 1, 2024

You may have seen us talking about our brand new podcast Just Neighbors. Well today, we're sharing one of those conversations right here on The Forgotten Podcast! This was such a powerful episode, with challenging and honest takeaways for those who follow Christ in our complex world.

Just Neighbors is a podcast for every believer who desires to live as Jesus lived – to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God and neighbor. My co-host, Ryan MacDonald, and I are joined by Dr. Krish Kandiah for this conversation about how to combine word and deed to provide belonging for our neighbors.

Krish is the founder of The Sanctuary Foundation, a charity supporting refugees to find welcome, work, and worthwhile housing in the UK. His mission is to help solve some of society’s seemingly intractable problems through partnerships across civil society, faith communities, government, and philanthropy.

In this episode, Krish helps us understand the important work they are doing, the largest challenges he sees for people who are removed from their homes, and how Christ followers should respond to the complex conflicts happening across our world. Beyond that, he guides us in seeing that displacement is happening all around us, as children are placed in foster care, people move to a new city for their jobs, and people feel like they don’t belong.

Listen in!

Find resources mentioned and more in the show notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/krish-kandiah-240/

Jun 24, 2024

During the month of June, applications to become a TFI Advocate are open! TFI Advocates bridge the gap between churches and agencies right in their local community. Get the details and apply right here.

Whether a child has experienced foster care or adoption, there is history and trauma to navigate. As you can imagine, this can spill over into eating habits, behavior issues, and affect children’s sleep. Many foster parents and caregivers experience the difficulty of seeking help from someone trained in both foster/adoptive backgrounds and sleep practices.

That was the case for my guest, Allison Ezell. When her first adopted son came home from China in 2016, she spent years unsuccessfully searching for sleep help that took into account his history. Today, she now gets to do for others what no one could do for her all those years ago: build a bridge between sleep science principles and trauma-informed care.

Allison is a Certified Pediatric Sleep Consultant and a mom of four through birth, foster care, and international adoption. She has a special passion for working with foster and adoptive families who are navigating sleep issues with their children.

In this episode, you’ll learn how isolating dealing with sleep issues in children who have experienced trauma can be, the importance of setting realistic expectations based on a child’s history and biology, navigating bedtime with multiple children, and so much more.

Find resources and more in the show notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/allison-ezell-239/

Jun 17, 2024

During the month of June, applications to become a TFI Advocate are open! TFI Advocates bridge the gap between churches and agencies right in their local community. Get the details and apply right here.

We cover many topics here on The Forgotten Podcast from how to know when to start fostering, real stories of people throughout the foster care community, how churches can get involved, and more.

But in this episode, we are talking about an aspect of foster parenting we don’t often address: What happens when you reach the end of the journey of active foster parenting? How do you know when you should be done fostering and begin providing wrap-around support?

My guest, Lisa Robertson, knows all about this journey as her family made the hard choice to stop fostering in October of 2023 after many years of active foster parenting. She has been a foster and adoptive parent and is the Executive Director for Hope Bridge, a non-profit that advocates for change in the Ohio foster care system by mobilizing churches and equipping communities to serve. Lisa has many years of experience in advocacy, biological family relationship preservation, and the preventative work of keeping families together.

It's never easy to let go of something that is so close to your heart. In this conversation, we discuss what questions foster parents should consider before closing their license, how to identify when it is time to stop fostering, the heaviest parts of letting go of such a large part of your life, the opportunities to still serve the foster care community after foster parenting, and much more.

Find links to resources mentioned and more in the show notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/lisa-robertson-238/

Jun 10, 2024

Applications to become a TFI Advocate are open in June! TFI Advocates bridge the gap between churches and agencies right in their local community. Get the details and apply right here.

Foster care and baseball. On the surface, these two things don’t sound related at all, but my guest this week would beg to differ.

Emily Cole is the co-owner with her husband, Jesse, of the Savannah Bananas, a baseball team based in Savannah, Georgia. Their vision is to make baseball fun, put fans first, and always entertain.

In addition to owning and operating a baseball team, Emily and Jesse are also biological, foster, and adoptive parents. They even use their baseball platform to further impact the foster care community through their nonprofit, Bananas Foster. Emily is passionate about helping the foster care community by celebrating and advocating for those involved.

In this episode, you’ll hear how baseball and foster care collide in Emily’s life, a vision for the future of foster care, how vital it is to have your village established as a foster parent, and so much more!

Get links to resources and key takeaways in the show notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/emily-cole-237/

Jun 3, 2024

Applications to become a TFI Advocate are open in June! TFI Advocates bridge the gap between churches and agencies right in their local community. Get the details and apply right here.

Court can be hard to understand and difficult to navigate for everyone involved. How does a case progress? Can a foster parent attend court dates for biological parents? Should they? Thankfully, I have an expert with me to help explain what happens at court from the lens of someone who is there every day–a judge.

I have the honor of speaking with Judge Brian Goldrick. He has been a part of the Child Protection Division of the court in McLean County for over 32 years. Judge Goldrick started in 1992 as an Assistant Public Defender, then served as the Contract Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) before becoming an Associate Circuit Judge.

In this episode, you’ll hear the process of a case through court, what rights foster parents have, how such weighty decisions are made, and much more. Listen in!

Get resources and takeaways in the show notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/brian-goldrick-236/

May 27, 2024

Applications to become a TFI Advocate are opening in June! Get the details and sign-up to be notified when applications are live right here.

Today’s conversation made me a little emotional because I never could have imagined what God would do with this ministry when I launched it over a decade ago. I could have never imagined that we would have leaders across the nation who are stepping in and supporting their local foster care community! These Advocates act as a bridge, bringing encouragement and support to agencies by helping churches understand the best way to engage and meet needs contextually.

Today, I get the honor of introducing you to a couple of incredible people who are also team members here at The Forgotten Initiative: Jody Vanderburg and Liz Archambault. They serve in the role of Advocate Coaches, helping Advocates navigate the challenges specific to their area and bring their unique experience and personality to the role.

We are so grateful to have both of them on our team!

In this episode, you’ll hear how foster care intersected with each of their lives, what traits make an effective Advocate, the most meaningful parts about supporting local leaders as an Advocate Coach, and so much more!

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/jody-liz-235/

May 20, 2024

Can you remember the child, family, or experience that inspired you to become a part of the foster care community? It’s likely you were inspired because you heard their story or got to see their action firsthand.

With an understanding of the power of story and a passion for children who are waiting for their forever families, Kaycee Stanley and her husband, Pete, launched The Reel Hope Project.

The Reel Hope Project tells the stories of children awaiting an adoptive family using videos as a recruitment resource for prospective adoptive families. Their goal is to see an end to youth waiting for families by mobilizing the church to take action.

In this episode, you’ll hear how God has used these videos to inspire action, how the Church can make a difference for children waiting for families, how they are supporting agency workers in giving children a voice, and so much more!

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/kaycee-stanley-234/

Check out our brand new podcast, Just Neighbors: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/just-neighbors-podcast/

May 13, 2024

You will often hear us say, “You don’t have to foster to care.” One of the most important aspects of foster parenting (without burning out) is having a supportive community of people around you.

I have the honor today of talking with someone in this critical support role. Maddie Box  is 26 years old and works as a pediatric speech-language pathologist, and she has organically found herself in the role of a support person to multiple foster parents.

In this episode, you’ll hear how this role is far more critical than many people realize, some of the simple ways foster parents need support, the most practical way to offer help, and so much more.

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/maddie-box-233/

May 6, 2024

Decisions made in court hold a lot of weight for the futures of children and families. Due to the impact that decision could potentially have, the role Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) was introduced to ensure all information was being considered.

The role of a CASA before began in 1977. Today, 939 state CASA/GAL organizations operate in 49 states, which serve 242,000 children annually. Travis and Stephanie Johnson are two of the dedicated volunteers who serve the foster care community in their role as CASAs.

In this episode, you’ll hear more about what it means to be a CASA, what the weekly responsibility often looks like, why Travis and Stephanie stepped into this role, and more valuable insights from their experience.

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/travis-stephanie-johnson-232/

Give to The Forgotten Initiative: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/give/

Apr 29, 2024

Nobody starts working in the foster care system because they think it’s going to be easy.

The truth is, despite how deeply fulfilling a career in this field can be—it can also feel stressful and discouraging at times. For both new and experienced workers, it’s easy to feel defeated and wonder if the work you’re doing is enough.

If there’s anyone who can help us understand this better, it’s Carmen Nance—a woman with 30 years of experience serving the foster care community as part of the State of Georgia/Cobb County Department of Family and Children Services.

In this episode, Carmen shares the valuable insights she learned from interacting with people from every side of the foster care system, why a community of supportive peers is crucial for workers in the foster care community, what social workers wish people knew about the challenges and rewards of this role, and so much more.

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/carmen-nance-231/

Get Foster Care & the Church, a free video series for your church!

Apr 22, 2024

If a child in the foster care system spent 18 years in the same home, you might assume that they developed a strong sense of belonging within the family. But unfortunately, this is not always the case.

When Tash Haynes was born, her biological mother was unable to raise a child due to a mental disability. Fortunately, Tash was taken in by a family—but after growing up in their house until she aged out of the foster care system, Tash felt that although her basic needs had been met, her emotional needs had not.

Today, Tash is a renowned content creator, a community builder, and a mother of three girls. She is beyond proud of the family and career she’s been able to build despite the obstacles life has thrown her way.

In this episode, Tash gets candid about why it’s crucial to make sure children in foster care feel a sense of belonging, how showing her own daughters love is helping to heal the little girl inside of her, how God’s redemptive character has been on display in her life, and so much more.

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/tash-haynes-230/

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Apr 15, 2024

The lives of today’s guests are deeply intertwined.

Jennifer Bracken’s childhood was rocky. After a difficult home life and several tumultuous years spent in the foster care system, she became a mother to four children and her struggles with addiction led to her family experiencing the foster care system in various ways.

Jillana Goble is a speaker, author, and advocate who fostered and adopted Jennifer’s third child before fostering and reuniting Jennifer’s fourth child.

Over the past 15 years, Jillana and Jennifer have taken steps to build a positive relationship. Today, they live a mile away from one another and their lives are interconnected in a beautiful way. Their journey together wasn’t always smooth sailing—but due to their mutual effort, courage, and vulnerability, they have developed deep trust and connection.

In this episode, Jennifer and Jillana talk about how they’ve navigated the ups and downs of building their relationship, how foster parents can form connections with birth parents in a safe and healthy way, the importance of extending the olive branch early, and so much more. Don’t miss this one!

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/jillana-jennifer-229/

Get Foster Care & the Church free!

Apr 8, 2024

We all pray for our children to form a strong relationship with Jesus that will last a lifetime. But the truth is, many young adults walk away from their faith once they move out.

So what steps can we take to help our kids walk with Him throughout all the stages of their lives?

Today’s guest, Sarah Cowan Johnson, shares that a big part of the answer when we look at statistics lies in our parenting. Sarah is a ministry trainer, consultant, and coach who works with ministry leaders across the United States and leads seminars on family discipleship—showing parents how to help their children walk in the way of Jesus. Sarah shares key strategies for faith-based parenting in her book Teach Your Children Well: A Step-by-Step Guide for Family Discipleship.

In this episode, Sarah explains the most common pitfalls that stop parents from working worship into their home lives (and how to overcome them), how to disciple children no matter how long they may live under your roof, why it’s essential to let your kids ask questions and develop their own relationships with God, and so much more.

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/sarah-cowan-johnson-228/

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Apr 1, 2024

TW: While Joan does not go into specific details, this episode does contain mentions of her experiences of abuse, and we wanted you to be aware of that before listening.

Our guests often share the traumatic memories their experiences in life have left them with. But today’s guest shares what it’s like for there to be pieces missing when she tries to recall her past.

Joan Ulsher is a writer, philanthropist, retired U.S. Army Major, and an award-winning child advocate. During her own childhood, Joan survived abuse and experienced the foster care system firsthand. Today, she says many of her formative years feel like “Swiss cheese” because of all the holes in her memory.

Joan tells her story in a memoir entitled Misplaced Childhood: A True Story of Resiliency and Child Advocacy.

In this conversation, you’ll hear how Joan has navigated her mind blocking out childhood memories, how her advocacy efforts have changed her inner narrative from that of a victim to that of a survivor, how finding Christ has given her life new purpose, and so much more.

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/joan-ulsher-227/

Free Video Resource: Foster Care & the Church -- www.fostercare.church

Mar 25, 2024

Many agency workers who serve the foster care community choose this path out of a passion for helping others. But transitioning into this challenging career can often be a very overwhelming experience. Even when workers are doing their best, they can start to feel like they’re not doing enough and that they don’t have a support system to fall back on in their times of need.

Brian Gazdziak is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker as well as a foster and adoptive dad. He has spent years providing specialized mental health therapy to help people, such as those in the foster care community, cope with life challenges. As someone who has experienced foster care from the perspective of both an agency worker and a foster parent, Brian has unique insights and empathy surrounding the topic of these complex relationships.

In this episode, Brian shares what it’s like to work with children and families in a hands-on capacity, how churches can provide much-needed support to foster care workers, how to build a better relationship with case workers, and so much more.

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/brian-gazdziak-226/

Join Team 3:10: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/team310

 

Mar 18, 2024

No matter the season of parenting you’re in, there’s one thing every parent needs to prioritize—mental health. Not just your child’s, but your own, too.

It’s easy to look at the behavioral or emotional struggles our children are exhibiting and start thinking of ways to “fix” them. What’s harder is looking inward and asking ourselves what steps we can take to nurture our mental health so we can show up for our kids in the best way. 

Joining me today is Michelle Nietert, an author, a speaker, and the Clinical Director/Founder of Community Counseling Associates. She’s also a follower of Christ, a wife, and a mother to two school-aged children who puts her mental health knowledge to use every day as she seeks to nurture a happy and healthy household.

In this episode, Michelle teaches us how to support our children through life’s challenges, how to help children who’ve experienced trauma find hope, joy, and light in life, how to work prayer into your children’s lives as they grow up, and so much more.

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/michelle-nietert-225/

Get 10% off your first month of BetterHelp: https://betterhelp.com/tfi

Mar 11, 2024

Cami Haussler’s childhood was marked by turbulence. By the time she was 10, both of her parents had passed away. Her formative years were filled with a long string of life changes, and it seemed like every time she got close to a caregiver, they would leave her.

Eventually, Cami was adopted by her grandparents, but despite the love they showed her, Cami often struggled to let them in, fearing that they too would pass away and leave her alone again.

Today, Cami’s experiences have come full circle—she’s now an adoptive parent who has fostered 12 children and taken on a core role at a private child placement agency.

In this episode, Cami openly shares how the emotional struggles of her childhood molded her into the woman she is today, how her mindset as a foster and adoptive parent had to expand into one of grace and selflessness, the biggest challenges from her experience as an adoptee, how to avoid developing a “savior complex” as a foster parent, and so much more.

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/cami-haussler-224/

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

Mar 4, 2024

Katie Faris knew that motherhood wasn’t always going to be smooth sailing, but she was more than ready to deal with temper tantrums and dirty diapers. What she wasn’t prepared for was receiving the news that three of her children had been diagnosed with a serious medical condition. 

Katie’s story is deeply touching to me. She’s a pastor’s wife and a writer who has shared her journey with others through books like God is Still Good: Gospel Hope and Comfort for the Unexpected Sorrows of Motherhood and He Will Be Enough: How God Takes You by the Hand Through Your Hardest Days

Woven through both books is her own family’s story as well as stories of others who found God to be trustworthy in the midst of their perplexities.

In this episode, you’ll hear how Katie has walked hand in hand with God through all the ups and downs of her journey, her advice for relying on your community, the power of prayer when hope is hard to find, and so much more.

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/katie-faris-223/

Get 10% off your first month of BetterHelp: https://betterhelp.com/tfi

Feb 26, 2024

Has God ever led you somewhere that you were previously scared to go? Are you currently facing a situation where God is inviting you to entrust your fear and concerns to Him?

That’s what happened for Randall Nichols, co-founder of ECHO Family Care Partners and an adoptive parent. Through his work at ECHO, Randall is working to resource churches and businesses to meet the needs of orphaned and vulnerable children and families through foster care, adoption, and wrap-around support.

In this episode, Randall shares the powerful story of connection that introduced their family to special needs adoptions, how to involve your children in the decision to care for others, why community often is the biggest concern for those considering adoption or foster care, the importance of being able to give and receive care, and so much more!

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

Show Notes: https://theforgotteninitiative.org/randall-nichols-222/

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/

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