A Fostered Life Podcast

Congratulations to A Fostered Life Podcast on being named among FEEDSPOT’S TOP 10 FOSTER CARE PODCASTS YOU MUST FOLLOW in 2020! Host Christy Tennant Krispin explores the various facets of foster care through the voices of people who participate in the system.

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Special Thanks to my Patrons for supporting A Fostered Life!

Episode 23

When people think about foster care, we usually imagine children removed from situations where they are being severely abused or neglected by their natural parents. We hear stories in the news about examples of horrific abuse or neglect, and we celebrate that these children have been rescued and placed in a loving and safe foster home. 

But this narrative, while certainly sometimes true, is an oversimplification of the circumstances that lead to children being removed from their parents. It might surprise you to know that about half of the children in foster care have an intellectual disability that can make caring for them difficult. If we’re willing to go upstream of the foster care system, we would likely find families that could actually remain intact with some outside help. In the foster care world, this is known as “family preservation.” An important questions we should be asking is, “How could this child have avoided being in foster care in the first place?” What can be done for a family in crisis before they become a family in crisis?

In today’s episode, I’m speaking with Whitney King, a Behavioral Specialist and CEO of LEAF Behavior Support, LLC, whose life and work is devoted to supporting nontraditional families impacted by intellectual, developmental, learning, and/or mental health challenges. In this conversation, we took a deep dive into the challenges of parenting children with special needs and how being part of someone’s village of support could make all the difference in helping keep families together. 

I really appreciated Whitney’s perspective, and I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did! 

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Be sure to subscribe to A Fostered Life podcast so you don’t miss a single episode. For more information and resources for foster parents, please visit afosteredlife.com, where you’ll find blog posts, recommended readingyoutube videos, and social media links all designed to help foster parents feel more equipped for their foster care journey.

ffp-cover.jpg

It’s my prayer that no foster parent ever feels like they’re going at it alone.  If you’re a foster parent who is feeling like you’re out there on your own, consider joining The Flourishig Foster Parent, a community designed to encourage, equip and connect foster parents.

subscribe-on-itunes.jpg

If you’re enjoying this podcast, please take a moment to rate A Fostered Life on iTunes. It would help me out so much.

Thanks for listening and thanks for caring about foster care.

*Let's Socialize*

PATREON: http://www.patreon.com/afosteredlife

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/afosteredlife

INSTAGRAM: http://www.instagram.com/afosteredlife

WEBSITE: http://www.afosteredlife.com

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/afosteredlife 

Become a Patron

Special Thanks to my Patrons for supporting A Fostered Life!

Episode 22

It’s June, the month when many families celebrate Father’s Day, and in today’s episode, we’re focusing specifically on the role of foster fathers. My guest Jason Johnson is a writer and speaker who encourages families and equips churches in their foster care and adoption journeys.

Jason currently serves as the Director of Church Ministry Initiatives with Christian Alliance for Orphans, where he speaks and teaches at churches, conferences, forums and workshops, as well as encouraging families that are in the trenches and those who are considering getting involved.

Jason and his wife, Emily live in Texas with their daughters. He has authored 3 books: Reframing Foster Care, Everyone Can do Something, and ALL IN Orphan Care and he blogs regularly at www.jasonjohnsonblog.com.

I really appreciated Jason’s perspective as a foster father and I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did!  

# # #

Be sure to subscribe to A Fostered Life podcast so you don’t miss a single episode. For more information and resources for foster parents, please visit afosteredlife.com, where you’ll find blog posts, recommended readingyoutube videos, and social media links all designed to help foster parents feel more equipped for their foster care journey.

ffp-cover.jpg

It’s my prayer that no foster parent ever feels like they’re going at it alone.  If you’re a foster parent who is feeling like you’re out there on your own, consider joining The Flourishig Foster Parent, a community designed to encourage, equip and connect foster parents.

subscribe-on-itunes.jpg

If you’re enjoying this podcast, please take a moment to rate A Fostered Life on iTunes. It would help me out so much.

Thanks for listening and thanks for caring about foster care.

*Let's Socialize*

PATREON: http://www.patreon.com/afosteredlife

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/afosteredlife

INSTAGRAM: http://www.instagram.com/afosteredlife

WEBSITE: http://www.afosteredlife.com

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/afosteredlife 

Become a Patron

 Special Thanks to my Patrons for supporting A Fostered Life!

Episode 21

It’s June, which means that Father’s Day is upon us. For many children in foster care, Father’s Day is a loaded holiday. Some have never met their fathers, if their fathers have even been identified. Others have fathers who are completely “out of the picture,” meaning they are no longer involved or engaged with their children’s lives. But why is that so common? Do the dads just not care? 

My guest today is going to challenge every preconceived notion you have of the men whose children are in foster care. Marvin Charles has emerged as a community and national leader in  creating stronger fathers and healthier families. Because of his own powerful story of separation from and then reunification with his own family, parents and children, and his 15+ years of helping others reclaim the positive role of fathers to their families, he is an experienced and trusted mentor and advisor. He has traveled all over the U.S. to speak about empowering fathers, to learn from other national leaders and to share our successes with other organizations hoping to implement fatherhood programs.

Marvin Charles is an ordained minister and his extraordinary effectiveness comes from his ability to see through the pain and threats of those he counsels to the powerful change made possible by embracing a living God and larger purpose. 

Today’s podcast features a man who stands as living proof of what’s possible for the men whose children are in foster care. As a foster parent, I am humbled and challenged by his story, and I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did! 

To read more about Marvin Charles's remarkable story, check out these stories from The Seattle Times:

'Baby, I'm So Sorry' -- Woman Finds Child She Lost 43 Years Ago; He Grew Up Blocks Away (Seattle Times, August 12, 1999)

South Seattle's DADS Unites Men in Fatherhood and Brotherhood (Seattle Times, March 20, 2017)

 

Be sure to subscribe to A Fostered Life podcast so you don’t miss a single episode. For more information and resources for foster parents, please visit afosteredlife.com, where you’ll find blog posts, recommended readingyoutube videos, and social media links all designed to help foster parents feel more equipped for their foster care journey.

ffp-cover.jpg

It’s my prayer that no foster parent ever feels like they’re going at it alone.  If you’re a foster parent who is feeling like you’re out there on your own, consider joining The Flourishig Foster Parent, a community designed to encourage, equip and connect foster parents.

subscribe-on-itunes.jpg

If you’re enjoying this podcast, please take a moment to rate A Fostered Life on iTunes. It would help me out so much.

Thanks for listening and thanks for caring about foster care.

*Let's Socialize*

PATREON: http://www.patreon.com/afosteredlife

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/afosteredlife

INSTAGRAM: http://www.instagram.com/afosteredlife

WEBSITE: http://www.afosteredlife.com

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/afosteredlife 

Become a Patron

 Special Thanks to my Patrons for supporting A Fostered Life!

Episode 20

Anyone who is involved with the world of adoption knows that adoption has lifelong implications for everyone involved: birth parents, adoptive parents, and, of course, the people who are adopted from one family into another. Until very recently, adoption was almost always shrouded in secrecy. The link between the birth parent and the adopted person was held in file boxes on the shelves of adoption agencies, paperwork that connected the adopted child to the parent or parents they came from. In order to access that information, adoptees and birth parents had to pay money. Had to know where to start. And had to rely on the cooperation of whomever received their request for information. 

Nowadays, we recognize the importance of transparency in adoption and the benefits of a child knowing about their birth family and even having relationships with them. Most adoptions today are open, with contact between birth and adoptive families, but that leaves thousands of adopted adults with gaping holes in their life stories. In response to this, in 2018, Amara, a foster care and adoption agency in Seattle,  launched Project Search and Reunion, a ground-breaking initiative that aims to audit 3,100 of their own adoption files between the years of 1950 and 2000 to ensure that adoptees and birth families receive the information and support they requested, especially in regard to searching.  

In March, just before the world shut down and we all went into quarantine, I had a chance to hear a presentation about this important work, and in today’s episode of the podcast, I’m speaking with Rena Konomis, a Washington state court appointed Confidential Intermediary and Project Director of Project and Search and Reunion. In this episode, Rena explains the goal of the project and why it matters for everyone involved with the world of adoption.

I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did! 

Be sure to subscribe to A Fostered Life podcast so you don’t miss a single episode. For more information and resources for foster parents, please visit afosteredlife.com, where you’ll find blog posts, recommended readingyoutube videos, and social media links all designed to help foster parents feel more equipped for their foster care journey.

ffp-cover.jpg

It’s my prayer that no foster parent ever feels like they’re going at it alone.  If you’re a foster parent who is feeling like you’re out there on your own, consider joining The Flourishig Foster Parent, a community designed to encourage, equip and connect foster parents.

subscribe-on-itunes.jpg

If you’re enjoying this podcast, please take a moment to rate A Fostered Life on iTunes. It would help me out so much.

Thanks for listening and thanks for caring about foster care.

*Let's Socialize*

PATREON: http://www.patreon.com/afosteredlife

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/afosteredlife

INSTAGRAM: http://www.instagram.com/afosteredlife

WEBSITE: http://www.afosteredlife.com

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/afosteredlife 

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Become a Patron

 

Special Thanks to my Patrons for supporting A Fostered Life!

Episode 19

You don’t need me to tell you that we are living in unbelievable times. The world is, in many ways, at a stand-still while people are strongly encouraged and even mandated in some places to stay home in order to flatten the curve of the spread of COVID-19. While this time of social distancing is affecting every sector of our world, for children in foster care and their parents, this season of quarantine means the suspension of in-person visitation, which is an integral part of reunification efforts. In some areas, visits are suspended altogether at the moment, but in most places, from what I can tell, families are now having all of their visits virtually. 

I’ve received questions from a number of foster parents who are trying for figure out how to handle virtual visits. Virtual visits place a greater responsibility on foster parents. Whereas in normal circumstances the foster parent is not involved with family visits, under current circumstances, foster parents have to be very involved. One caregiver reported to me that instead of weekend visits that happen for several hours and give the foster parents a break, their kids now have hour-long visits every weeknight that have to be managed by the foster parents. For that family, at least, these visits are disruptive for everyone involved—the foster parents, the children who have to drop what they’re doing each evening and get on the phone, and for the parents of the children, who find it challenging to maintain the schedule. 

I thought it might be helpful to hear from a few foster parents who are currently managing virtual visits for their foster youth and their parents, so in this episode you’ll be hearing from five foster parents in California, Oregon, Indiana, Virginia, and Maine. I asked them to tell me a bit about what visits looked like before the time of the virus, and how they look now.

This episode features the voices of foster parents, but I would also love to hear from — and give my platform to — parents whose children are in foster care, who are trying to stay connected with their kids now that many, if not all, states have banned in-person visits. If you or someone you know are a parent whose child is in foster care, and you would like to share about your experiences on this podcast, please contact me

Be sure to subscribe to A Fostered Life podcast so you don’t miss a single episode. For more information and resources for foster parents, please visit afosteredlife.com, where you’ll find blog posts, recommended readingyoutube videos, and social media links all designed to help foster parents feel more equipped for their foster care journey.

ffp-cover.jpg

It’s my prayer that no foster parent ever feels like they’re going at it alone.  If you’re a foster parent who is feeling like you’re out there on your own, consider joining The Flourishig Foster Parent, a community designed to encourage, equip and connect foster parents.

subscribe-on-itunes.jpg

If you’re enjoying this podcast, please take a moment to rate A Fostered Life on iTunes. It would help me out so much.

Thanks for listening and thanks for caring about foster care.

*Let's Socialize*

PATREON: http://www.patreon.com/afosteredlife

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/afosteredlife

INSTAGRAM: http://www.instagram.com/afosteredlife

WEBSITE: http://www.afosteredlife.com

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/afosteredlife 

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Like this podcast? Please rate it on iTunes and become a $1+ patron on Patreon! Click here to learn more.

Special Thanks to my Patron for supporting A Fostered Life!

Episode 18

When most people think of foster parenting, we think children who are experiencing neglect or abuse being removed from their parents and placed with someone else—either a foster parent or a relative caregiver. But there is another type of foster care that many people don’t know about. 

Every day, over 40,000 families around the world are forced to flee their homes due to community violence, war, famine, natural disasters, and persecution. Unfortunately, many children become separated from their parents or primary caregivers due to death, illness, or imprisonment, and find themselves living in refugee camps, sometimes for years. 

For refugee minors, the U.S. State Department identifies children overseas who are eligible for resettlement in the U.S., but do not have a parent or a relative available and committed to providing for their long-term care. Upon arrival in the U.S., these refugee children are placed into the Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (URM) program and receive refugee foster care services and benefits.

My guest in today’s episode is Barbara Tantrum, who is a trauma and attachment therapist as well as a refugee foster parent. I invited her on the podcast to share about this unique form of foster care and to give some insights to folks who might feel called to provide safe and loving long-term homes for children who are currently living in refugee resettlement camps overseas. If you are interested in learning more about this program, I’m including links in the show notes for this episode to the U.S. Administraion for Children and Famililes web site, where you can search refugee foster care to learn more.

Barbara also has a new book coming out this fall called The Adoptive Parents' Handbook: A Guide to Healing Trauma and Thriving with Your Foster or Adopted Child. The book will be released September 1, and you can pre-order your copy using this affiliate link or by going to afosteredlife.com/resources. 

Barbara was our guest on a recent Flourishing Foster Parent Coaching Call in which the focus was on Helping Our Kids and Ourselves Process Grief. If you are interested in downloading that audio resource, it is part of The Flourishing Foster Parent Online Resource Library available for $10/month (cancel anytime). 

I am so grateful for Barbara’s willingness to join me today, I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did.

Be sure to subscribe to A Fostered Life podcast so you don’t miss a single episode. For more information and resources for foster parents, please visit afosteredlife.com, where you’ll find blog posts, recommended readingyoutube videos, and social media links all designed to help foster parents feel more equipped for their foster care journey.

ffp-cover.jpg

It’s my prayer that no foster parent ever feels like they’re going at it alone.  If you’re a foster parent who is feeling like you’re out there on your own, consider joining The Flourishig Foster Parent, a community designed to encourage, equip and connect foster parents.

subscribe-on-itunes.jpg

If you’re enjoying this podcast, please take a moment to rate A Fostered Life on iTunes. It would help me out so much.

Thanks for listening and thanks for caring about foster care.

*Let's Socialize*

PATREON: http://www.patreon.com/afosteredlife

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/afosteredlife

INSTAGRAM: http://www.instagram.com/afosteredlife

WEBSITE: http://www.afosteredlife.com

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/afosteredlife 

Like this podcast? Please rate it on iTunes and become a $1+ patron on Patreon! Click here to learn more.

Special Thanks to my newest Patron, Maureen, for supporting A Fostered Life!

Episode 17

I have lost count of the number of times someone has told me that they really want to be involved in foster care, and they really care about foster youth, but they are not in a season of life where they can be foster parents. They wonder how they can help.

How can you make a difference in the life of a foster youth without being a foster parent?

There are a number of ways to answer that question, and my guest in today’s podcast is going to talk about two of them. Laura was a volunteer cuddler in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for years before being introduced to a desperate need in the foster care system after caring for one particular baby for several months. She went through the training and eventually became a CASA - a Court Appointed Special Advocate.

Over the six-plus years Laura has spent as a CASA, she has served twenty-three children, and in today’s episode, she’s going to share what that experience has been like and what you might expect if you are considering becoming a CASA.

I am so grateful for the work that Laura and others have done, and I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did.

# # #

Be sure to subscribe to A Fostered Life podcast so you don’t miss a single episode. For more information and resources for foster parents, please visit afosteredlife.com, where you’ll find blog posts, recommended readingyoutube videos, and social media links all designed to help foster parents feel more equipped for their foster care journey.

ffp-cover.jpg

It’s my prayer that no foster parent ever feels like they’re going at it alone.  If you’re a foster parent who is feeling like you’re out there on your own, consider joining The Flourishig Foster Parent, a community designed to encourage, equip and connect foster parents.

subscribe-on-itunes.jpg

If you’re enjoying this podcast, please take a moment to rate A Fostered Life on iTunes. It would help me out so much.

Thanks for listening and thanks for caring about foster care.

*Let's Socialize*

PATREON: http://www.patreon.com/afosteredlife

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/afosteredlife

INSTAGRAM: http://www.instagram.com/afosteredlife

WEBSITE: http://www.afosteredlife.com

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/afosteredlife 

 
 

A listener shared some really important feedback on my interview with Kevin, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse. I thought what she shared was really important and wanted to pass it on.

Recorded live at Chicago O’Hare Airport.

Like this podcast? Please rate it on iTunes and become a $1+ patron on Patreon! Click here to learn more.

Special Thanks to Patrons Shelley & Joyce for supporting A Fostered Life Podcast!

Episode 16

MaLisa Riley is an author and entrepreneur who draws from her own experience as a youth in foster care to produce resources aimed at helping children in challenging circumstances use their imagination as they process some of the harder aspects of their reality. Her first children’s book, “Tommy’s 2 Mommies,” was published in 2019. The story follows young Tommy as he goes between his mom and his foster momma on a weekend visit to his mother’s treatment center. “Tommy’s 2 Mommies” features gorgeous illustrations by Roey Cancio is available on Amazon, and you can also find a link on A Fostered Life’s Recommended Resources page.

MaLisa shared about her experiences in foster care, as well as her reflections on being adopted at the age of twelve and then reconnecting with her parents as an adult.  As a foster and adoptive parent, I found MaLisa’s perspective and openness so insightful, and I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did.

Be sure to subscribe to A Fostered Life podcast so you don’t miss a single episode. For more information and resources for foster parents, please visit afosteredlife.com, where you’ll find blog posts, recommended readingyoutube videos, and social media links all designed to help foster parents feel more equipped for their foster care journey.

It’s my prayer that no foster parent ever feels like they’re going at it alone.  If you’re a foster parent who is feeling like you’re out there on your own, consider joining The Flourishig Foster Parent, a community designed to encourage, equip and connect foster parents.

If you’re enjoying this podcast, please take a moment to rate A Fostered Life on iTunes. It would help me out so much.

Thanks for listening and thanks for caring about foster care.

*Let's Socialize*

PATREON: http://www.patreon.com/afosteredlife

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/afosteredlife

INSTAGRAM: http://www.instagram.com/afosteredlife

WEBSITE: http://www.afosteredlife.com

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/afosteredlife 

Like this podcast? Please rate it on iTunes and become a $1+ patron on Patreon! Click here to learn more.

Episode 15

One of the things I have been so grateful for over the past few years is connecting with former foster youth who are willing and eager to share about their experiences in foster care in order to shine light on what it’s like to be in foster care, and to de-stigmatize what it means to be a foster kid. In 2018, I heard an interview on Oregon Public Radio with Cherie Renee, a woman who was in foster care until she aged out of the system.

Today, Cherie is a blogger who describes herself as a "child abuse survivor and former foster child who is using her life as an inspiration to others," as well as a "dog mom" and "proud Jew." You can follow Cherie’s blog here and her Instagram account here.

I was so glad to connect with Cherie by phone recently, and and I’m thrilled that she agreed to be my guest on this podcast. I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did!

Be sure to subscribe to A Fostered Life podcast so you don’t miss a single episode. For more information and resources for foster parents, please visit afosteredlife.com, where you’ll find blog posts, recommended readingyoutube videos, and social media links all designed to help foster parents feel more equipped for their foster care journey.

It’s my prayer that no foster parent ever feels like they’re going at it alone.  If you’re a foster parent who is feeling like you’re out there on your own, consider joining The Flourishig Foster Parent, a community designed to encourage, equip and connect foster parents.

If you’re enjoying this podcast, please take a moment to rate A Fostered Life on iTunes. It would help me out so much.

Thanks for listening and thanks for caring about foster care.

*Let's Socialize*

PATREON: http://www.patreon.com/afosteredlife

FACEBOOK: http://www.facebook.com/afosteredlife

INSTAGRAM: http://www.instagram.com/afosteredlife

WEBSITE: http://www.afosteredlife.com

YOUTUBE: http://www.youtube.com/afosteredlife 

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