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.

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

Episode 14

In Episode 13 of A Fostered Life Podcast, I interviewed author Jillana Goble about her book, “No Sugar Coating: The Coffee Talk You Need about Foster Parenting.” I announced in that episode that I would be giving away four copies of the book to four of my Patreon supporters. In this episode, I'm trying out my new Blue Yeti microphone as my mom draws the winning names from a baseball hat! Congratulations to the four listeners and supporters who won this month's giveaway!

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 13

A few months ago, someone on Facebook alerted me to a new book by Jillana Goble called, “No Sugar Coating: The Coffee Talk You Need about Foster Parenting.” I got my hands on the book and as I read it, I kept nodding my head in agreement with the author. Our experiences have been very similar, and if I were going to write a book for new and prospective foster parents, it would look a lot like this book. It’s a short read—you’ll finish it in a day or two—but it’s full of relevant information and helpful insights for anyone considering becoming a foster parent.

“No Sugar Coating” is available on Amazon [affiliate link].

Click here to follow Jillana’s Facebook page and web site.

I was so impressed with “No Sugar Coating,” that I ordered several copies to give away to a few of my Patreon supporters! If you would like to be entered for your chance to win one of five copies of the book, go to my Patreon page and become a patron of A Fostered Life. You can pledge any amount you want, starting at $1 per month. Everyone who is a patron as of January 1, 2020 will be entered to win! 

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 reading, youtube 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 12

In the last episode (Episode 11), I introduced you to Tonya Foulkrod. Our conversation covered a lot of ground, so I broke it up into two parts. In Episode 11, which was Part One, we heard about Tonya’s early experience as a foster parent and how she and her husband became involved with the mother of the child who was placed in their care, leading them to start a ministry focused on offering a more holistic way to support families in crisis.

In this episode, which is Part Two of our interview, we learn more about  what Three Strands does and how their community approach to supporting families in crisis offers struggling parents wraparound support to help them gain skills and cultivate relationships that significantly improve their chances of reunification.

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 reading, youtube 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 enjoy this podcast and you’re interested in supporting my work at A Fostered Life, please go to afosteredlife.com and click on the tab “Support My Work.” That will take you to my Patreon page, where you can become a patron of the podcast and YouTube channel. Just one dollar a month helps offset the cost of producing these resources and enables me to offer them freely to new and prospective foster parents. I’m so grateful for the support of my patrons. I also give a few perks to my patrons, so please head over to Patreon and check it out.

If you’re a foster parent who is feeling like you’re out there on your own, consider joining The Flourishing Foster Parent, a community designed to encourage, equip and connect foster parents.

One more thing, 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.

Be sure to subscribe to A Fostered Life podcast so you don’t miss Part Two or any other episode.

*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 us on iTunes and become a $1+ patron on Patreon! Click here to learn more.

 

Episode 11

 

Foster parents are not typically encouraged to be intimately involved with the parents of the children who come into our care. While we are encouraged to “support reunification efforts,” and it is suggested that we do things like send a journal back and forth to visits or share occasional pictures, usually there is a significant disconnect and even animosity between foster parents and their foster child’s mom and or dad.

 

My guest in today’s episode is Tonya Foulkrod, a foster mom who found herself unexpectedly involved with not only the child placed in her care, but that child’s mother as well. After cultivating a relationship and walking their new friend through the process of reunification, Tonya and her husband, Jay, knew that they could never go back to being traditional foster parents. Instead, they enlisted their church community and started an organization called Three Strands, a nine week, faith-based parenting program offered by local churches and volunteers to families in crisis.   Three Strands is for parents who have lost custody of their children, or who are at risk of losing custody, and are working toward family reunification and preservation.

 

Our conversation covered a lot of ground, so I am offering it to you in two parts. In this episode, which is Part One, we’ll cover Tonya’s early experience as a foster parent and hear how she and her husband became involved with the mother of the child who was placed in their care, leading them to start a ministry focused on offering a more holistic way to support families in crisis. In Part Two, we’ll get into the nuts and bolts of what Three Strands does and how their community approach to supporting families in crisis helps struggling parents gain skills and cultivate relationships that significantly improve their chances of reunification and set them up for long-term success.

 

I loved hearing about this couple’s journey and how they are making a difference in the lives of so many families. If you want to learn more about Three Strands, go to www.frcoalition.org and click on “Three Strands.” And now, Part One of my conversation with Tonya Foulkrod.

 

Be sure to subscribe to A Fostered Life podcast so you don’t miss Part Two or any other episode.

 

For more information and resources for foster parents, please visit afosteredlife.com, where you’ll find blog posts, recommended books and resources, youtube videos, and social media links so you can connect with others on the foster parenting journey.

I’d like to take a moment and give a patron shout out to Brianne, who’s been a patron of A Fostered Life since August. If enjoy this podast and you’re interested in supporting my work at A Fostered Life, please go to afosteredlife.com and click on the tab “Support My Work.” That will take you to my Patreon page, where you can become a patron. Just one dollar a month helps offset the cost of producing these resources and enables me to offer them freely to new and prospective foster parents, and I’m grateful for the support of my patrons. I also give a few perks to my patrons, so please head over to Patreon and check it out.

One more thing, 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 us on iTunes and become a $1+ patron on Patreon! Click here to learn more.

Episode 10

According to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, or RAINN, one in 9 girls and 1 in 53 boys under the age of 18 experience sexual abuse or assault at the hands of an adult. The effects of child sexual abuse can be long-lasting and can have a profound affect on the victim's mental health. Victims are four times more likely than non-victims to develop symptoms of drug abuse and/or experience PTSD as adults, and they’re three times more likely to experience a major depressive episode as adults.

Out of the 63,000 sexual abuse cases substantiated by Child Protective Services each year, 80% of perpetrators of sexual violence against children were parents. Many of those children are placed in foster care, and it is vital for foster parents to be equipped to support children who have been traumatized sexually.

My guest in today’s episode is Kevin, a man who knows all too well how being sexually abused as a child affects a person’s life. As he shares from his experience, Kevin offers invaluable insight and advice for those of us who may be called on to care for children who are victims of sexual violence. 

I’m so grateful for Kevin’s transparency, vulnerability, and willingness to share about this extremely hard topic, and I know you’ll gain as much from  this conversation as I did.

Kevin's Suggested Resources for Victims of Sexual Trauma and Abuse

Books*: 
 
Websites:
 
Podcasts:
Healing Warriors Male Abuse Survivors
 
Crisis Lines:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
24hr Crisis Line
206-461-3222, local
7-1-1, WA relay
866-4CRISIS national

For more information and resources for foster parents, please visit afosteredlife.com, where you’ll find blog posts, youtube videos, and social media links so you can connect with others on the foster parenting journey.

If you’re interested in supporting my work at A Fostered Life, please go my Patreon page, where you can become a patron. Just one dollar a month helps offset the cost of producing these resources and enables me to offer them freely to new and prospective foster parents, and I’m grateful for the support of my patrons.

Thanks for listening and thanks for caring about foster care.

*Amazon Affiliate Links

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

Episode 9 

 

One of the things many people say when they hear that I’m a foster parent is, “I couldn’t imagine getting attached to a child and then having to give them back.” While I can appreciate that people are just expressing their honest feelings, the truth is, that sentiment shows a total lack of understanding about the main point of foster care, which is precisely to love a child to the point of getting attached and then “giving them back” to their parents.

Reunification is the first goal of foster care. When a child is removed from their parents, usually the plan is to provide a safe and loving and nurturing home for them while their parents do the hard work of getting to a place where they can safely parent their children again. It’s messy. It’s an emotional roller coaster. And it’s not always possible. Just over half of children in foster care will be reunified. The rest will be raised by relatives, adopted by foster parents, or remain in foster care until they “age out.” 

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that foster parents can play a crucial role in supporting reunification, and in today’s podcast, I’m speaking with a fellow foster parent named Lauren who did just that. The focus of today’s episode is how foster parents can be intentional and proactive in supporting the mothers (and/or in some cases fathers) of the children in their care, championing their efforts to get their children back.

Let me be very clear, though, before we launch into this conversation: this is often the hardest part of foster parenting. The emotional toll is high, and the grief a foster family experiences after reunification is real. 

I’m grateful that Lauren shared from her experiences with me, and I hope you enjoy our conversation as much as I did.

Mentioned in this episode:

Suddenly Siblings: https://www.facebook.com/suddenlysiblings/

Family Meeting Video from A Fostered Life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tOgFoXo_3d0&t=35s

For more information and resources for foster parents, please visit afosteredlife.com, where you’ll find blog posts, youtube videos, and social media links so you can connect with others on the foster parenting journey.

If you’re interested in supporting my work at A Fostered Life, please go my Patreon page, where you can become a patron. Just one dollar a month helps offset the cost of producing these resources and enables me to offer them freely to new and prospective foster parents, and I’m grateful for the support of my patrons.

Thanks for listening and thanks for caring about foster care.

Like this podcast? Become a $1+ patron! Click here to learn more.

Episode 8 

Bryan Post is one of America’s foremost child behavior experts and he’s the co-founder of The Post Institute for Family-Centered Therapy. The Post Institute works with adults, children and families struggling with early life trauma and the impact on the development of the mind/body system. Bryan has authored or co-authored several books, including From Fear to Love: Parenting Difficult Adopted Children and Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control: A Love-Based Approach to Helping Attachment-Challenged Children With Severe Behaviors, which is on my “Must Read” list and was the focus of The Flourishing Foster Parent’s Summer Book Series.

The Post Institute also has a vibrant Facebook community, where Bryan publishes “Bryan Post’s Daily Dose,” short words of guidance and encouragement for parents who care for challenging children. My family has benefitted so much from the work of Bryan and his team, and I was thrilled when he accepted my invitation to be today’s guest.

For more information and resources for foster parents, please visit afosteredlife.com, where you’ll find blog posts, youtube videos, and social media links so you can connect with others on the foster parenting journey.

If you’re interested in supporting my work at A Fostered Life, please go my Patreon page, where you can become a patron. Just one dollar a month helps offset the cost of producing these resources and enables me to offer them freely to new and prospective foster parents, and I’m grateful for the support of my patrons.

Thanks for listening and thanks for caring about foster care.

When I put out a call recently for guests for this podcast, I was overwhelmed by the response. So many people have written to me, from social workers to foster parents to former foster youth, all willing to share a bit of their stories in order to help enlarge and shape foster parent’s perspective on our role in the lives of the children in our care.  

Today’s guest is one such person, and I am so grateful to have had a chance to speak with her. Melissa Smallwood has such an amazing and redemptive story, beginning with her own experience as a youth in foster care. I don’t want to tell you too much, because she did a great job of speaking for itself, but I will say this: it was so refreshing to speak with a woman who approaches life and family and what it means to be a foster parent with such love and compassion. 

When you have a chance, take a moment to visit Melissa’s web site, www.melissasmallwood.com. Our conversation today only scratched the surface, and she has so much to offer foster and adoptive moms especially.

For more information and resources for foster parents, please visit afosteredlife.com, where you’ll find blog posts, youtube videos, and social media links so you can connect with others on the foster parenting journey.

If you’re interested in supporting my work at A Fostered Life, please go my Patreon page, where you can become a patron. Just one dollar a month helps offset the cost of producing these resources and enables me to offer them freely to new and prospective foster parents, and I’m grateful for the support of my patrons.

Thanks for listening and thanks for caring about foster care.

One of the things I’ve noticed over the years is that, while I have a lot to learn from other, more experienced foster parents, mental health professionals, books, etc., the people who have taught me more than anything about how to be a good foster parent or foster caregiver if you prefer is children who are or were in foster care. The kids who have come and gone from our home as well as adults who are former foster youth have taught me more than anyone about what it’s like for kids in foster care and what they need most from those of us who step in to care for them when they are in trauma or transition. One of the things I love about this podcast is that it’s giving me a chance to connect with people like today’s guest—former foster youth who are willing to share from their experiences in order to help foster parents like me do a better job caring for our kids.

Brittney entered foster care when she was 16, but her journey with the department of child services and CPS started way before that—years earlier. Brittney spent most of her childhood bouncing around between friends and family members, going from school to school (or sometimes not going to school at all), experiencing many forms of trauma and violence, before finally entering foster care as a teen. When she did, she landed in a home where her life changed dramatically for the better. As I listened to Brittney, I noticed a theme that comes up over and over when I hear from former foster youth, and that theme is presence. What foster youth need more than anything else when their own parents are unable or unwilling to care for them is a caring adult who is consistently present—someone who is there for them through thick and thin and able to give unconditional love and patient guidance. 

It’s so important for us foster parents to hear from those who have lived through the system. So with that, here’s my conversation with Brittney.

For more information and resources for foster parents, please visit afosteredlife.com, where you’ll find blog posts, youtube videos, and social media links so you can connect with others on the foster parenting journey.

If you’re interested in supporting my work at A Fostered Life, please go my Patreon page, where you can become a patron. Just one dollar a month helps offset the cost of producing these resources and enables me to offer them freely to new and prospective foster parents, and I’m grateful for the support of my patrons.

Thanks for listening and thanks for caring about foster care.

Welcome to A Fostered Life, the show in which we explore the various facets of foster care through the voices of the many people who participate in the system. I’m your host, Christy Tennant Krispin, and this is episode five. 

 

It’s back to school time, and for youth in foster care, that can either be a really good thing or a really, really hard thing (or a bit of both.) Today I’m speaking with Ernest Henderson, Associate Director of Eastern Washington Education Programs at Treehouse. Ernest not only brings the professional insights of someone who devotes his career to helping foster youth succeed in school, but he also brings a background of being a former foster youth and a former foster parent. In this episode we discuss some of the ways a foster parent can support their child in school, how to navigate communicating with your child’s teachers and school personnel, and tips for preparing your foster youth to succeed in a new school. We also touched on positive discipline for youth in foster care and ways to empower and encourage our kids. Ernest mentioned a few things for foster parents to learn more about, including the Every Student Succeeds Act, and I’ve included several helpful links in the shownotes for this episode—so be sure to check those out. I really appreciated what Ernest had to share, and I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did! 

 

Links discussed in this conversation include:

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)

ESSA At a Glance—What You Need to Know

Treehouse for Kids

Treehouse Educational Advocacy

 

Contact Ernest Henderson, Jr:

ernest.henderson@treehouseforkids.org

 

For more information and resources for foster parents, please visit afosteredlife.com, where you’ll find blog posts, youtube videos, and social media links so you can connect with others on the foster parenting journey.

If you’re interested in supporting my work at A Fostered Life, please go my Patreon page, where you can become a patron. Just one dollar a month helps offset the cost of producing these resources and enables me to offer them freely to new and prospective foster parents, and I’m grateful for the support of my patrons.

Thanks for listening and thanks for caring about foster care.

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