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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.