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Episode 166: Glimmers of Hope After Hardship (w/ John Gibson)

By January 16, 2023Podcast

TW: As part of John’s story and experience, you will hear specific descriptions and terms related to adult themes, including both physical and sexual child abuse, trafficking, and suicide. We do encourage discernment in your decision to listen or with whom you share this episode with.

I met John Gibson briefly at the Replanted Conference where he shared his story for the very first time. John is a former competition team member of Valko Brazilian Jiu-Juitsu in Chicago, IL. But at the age of just five years old, he was declared a ward of the state. After 11 homes and 2 group homes, John aged out of the foster care system. Through therapy, mentors, and lots of time, John is able to look back at everything he went through with positivity and hopefulness.

I am so grateful to John for his willingness to be open about his life experience, as well as his journey towards healing. Foster care is often a community filled with both hurt and hope, and John’s story is an honest testament to that reality. I hope his story provides valuable perspective for your own foster care journey!

TAKEAWAYS FROM TODAY’S CONVERSATION:

1. Your work matters.

It was so meaningful to hear how impacted John was by seeing people at the Replanted Conference who CHOSE to enter into the foster care community. Like he encourages us at the end, don’t give up! Your work, effort, and commitment matter deeply.

“Even the hard stuff where you ask ‘Where were you, God?’ Years later you may look back and realize that you get it now.”

2. There is always hope.

God never leaves us on our own. Even in the most difficult circumstances, there are still glimpses of hope to be found in our stories. Sometimes we don’t see those glimpses of God’s provision until we look back on the journey.

“That moment, as scary as it was, is a very loving memory for me. I just remember my sister bear-hugging me, sheltering me, and I don’t remember any of the pain. She protected me.”

3. Finding your place is important.

A sense of belonging is vital to our physical and mental development. When we establish our place, our community, our family, and our faith, it is then that we understand that we are not alone.

“My whole life I chased family so much. I wanted it so desperately. It was so important to get a name.”

SPREAD THE WORD!

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?

Share this post or rate the podcast on Apple Podcasts (or wherever you listen) and leave us a brief review

Meet Our Guest

John Gibson is a Brazilian Jiu-Juitsu athlete and child abuse survivor. At the age of just five years old, he was declared a ward of the state. After 11 homes and 2 group homes, John aged out of the foster care system. Through therapy, mentors, and lots of time, John is able to look back at everything he went through with positivity and hopefulness. Now, he shares his story and encourages others to do the same so that no one will feel alone. John’s story is featured in a documentary called Strong and he lives in Chicago, IL.

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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