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Episode 210: Supporting Reunification Even When It’s Hard (w/ Jillian Kellenberger)

One of the questions we often hear from those considering supporting the foster care community is, “When is the right time to become a foster parent?” This question can feel even heavier when we talk to individuals who feel the call to become a foster parent but are not married.

My guest today is a dear friend and someone who has been a single foster parent for more than five years. Jillian Kellenberger served with us here at TFI for 8 years, and she is what you would call an “energy giver.” She is so passionate about people, relationships, Jesus, and is uniquely gifted at caring well for people.

Throughout her foster care journey, Jillian has walked through a lot of joy, a lot of sorrow, and has had many tear-filled moments. In this episode, she shares how she decided to become a foster parent as a single woman, the principles she has learned about supporting biological families, her journey through reunification, and some of the beautiful truths she has discovered about God.

I know you will be encouraged and filled with hope from her story!


1. God calls all kinds of people to be foster parents.

You don’t have to be married to become a foster parent. While there may be times when an extra pair of hands is beneficial, all kinds of people regardless of marital status, background, and profession are called to be a foster parent. If God has laid it on your heart to take on a role in the foster care community, lean in to the courage He gives and answer the call!

“I’m called to be a foster parent; I know I am. I’m not sure if I’m called to marriage and I’m not going to hold out on something God has called me to do just because I’m not married.”

2. There will always be a reason to say “no.”

There will never be a “perfect” time to become a foster parent, agency worker, social worker, or take any other role in the foster care community. You can always find a reason why now is not the right time. Whatever role you take on will bring change and hard times, but it will also be filled with good. It’s okay to acknowledge if now isn’t the right time for a variety of reasons, but don’t let the existence of reasons to say “no” be what keep you from considering saying “yes.”

“I don’t think there is ever going to be a perfect time when you can fit foster care or adoption into this perfect space in your life. You have to make that space.”

3. Our job is to love well.

We are not in control of how things turn out or what the outcome of a case is. But our job is to be present, love the children in our home well, love their families well, and be intentional with showing truth, love, and care. It’s important to trust God with the results and focus on how we can be present wherever we are now.

“I keep coming back to how God is in control. Their story is being written by Him, not me. My job in this is to be faithful to Him and care for them well.”



We hope this episode has helped you wherever you are on your foster care journey. That’s the goal! If so, will you tell others?

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Meet Our Guest

Jillian Kellenberger has been a single foster parent for more than five years. She served with us here at TFI for 8 years, and she is what you would call an “energy giver.” She is passionate about people, relationships, and is uniquely gifted at caring well for people. Among her favorite things are donuts, coffee, and Jesus.

Foster Parents, check with your agency to see if listening to this podcast will count toward your foster care training hours!

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