I love every time I get the opportunity to talk with Jenn Hook here on the ol’ podcast! Jenn has a deep passion for the adoptive and foster care communities. She is the Founder and Executive Director of Replanted—a ministry that helps empower the Church to support adoptive and foster families by providing emotional, tangible, and informational support.
Last time I spoke with Jenn, we discussed her first book, Replanted, and navigating reunification. In this episode, Jenn is back with a new book that builds on the foundation laid by her first book. In this new book, Thriving Families, Jenn provides resources for navigating the grief children in foster care feel, maintaining relationships with biological parents, preserving the cultural background of your child, and much more.
We’re diving into some of those same topics today, and I hope our conversation is a great encouragement to you this week!
TAKEAWAYS FROM TODAY’S CONVERSATION:
1. Hard conversations shouldn’t be avoided.
It can be difficult to navigate conversations about why your child is separated from their biological parents or about the cultural differences between you and them. Even though these conversations are hard, it is beneficial to carefully listen, to validate what our children are feeling when they are hurting, and to guide them in understanding at an age-appropriate level. When you feel that you don’t have an answer they are looking for, reach out to your support system and agency workers to find resources to help you navigate that topic.
“Sometimes as parents, we want to fix. We want our kids to feel hopeful and encouraged. We don’t want to see them sad and discouraged. But it can be so validating when somebody steps in when you are hurting.”
2. Show genuine curiosity about your kids’ feelings.
We need to shift from asking yes-and-no questions to open-ended questions. This will help your children express how they are feeling rather than providing a simple answer in response. As caregivers, this is a great way to become a safe person for them to express their thoughts and what they are experiencing.
“Show more curiosity. When you can do that with kids, you are really going to create an invitation for them to keep sharing more and more.”
3. We are called to be faithful, not perfect.
Regardless of how much training you have or how long you have been a foster parent, there will be days when you feel like giving up. There will be days when something a child in your care says or does will trigger you and you might react poorly. It’s in these moments that we need to remember that our call is not to be perfect. Our call is to be faithful. God knows that we will make mistakes; He is still right there to support us.
“Families weren’t designed to be broken.”
- Join Team 3:10
- Use code “forgottenpod” for 10% off the Who Loves Series
- Thriving Families: A Trauma-Informed Guidebook for the Foster and Adoptive Journey
- Episode 107: Saying Goodbye: Navigating Reunification as a Foster Parent
- Follow Replanted on Facebook and Instagram
- Replanted Ministry Website
- Replanted: Faith-Based Support for Adoptive and Foster Families
Meet Our Guest
Jenn Hook, MA, is the Founder and Executive Director of Replanted—a ministry that helps empower the Church to support adoptive and foster families by providing emotional, tangible, and informational support. She received her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from Wheaton College. She previously worked as a trauma therapist for children and adolescents in foster care. She frequently speaks on topics related to adoption and foster care support, mental health, and trauma. Jenn’s latest book released this month is called Thriving Families: A Trauma-Informed Guidebook for the Foster and Adoptive Journey. She is a mom to one and lives in Dallas, TX, with her husband, Josh.
Get encouragement and updates in your inbox.
Be the first to know about new episodes, posts, resources, and stay in the loop about what’s coming up.