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Episode 221: A Complicated Journey of Foster Care & Motherhood (w/ Lisa Qualls)

By February 19, 2024The Forgotten Podcast

When Lisa Qualls found out she was pregnant as a teen, it led to an unexpected journey through foster care. After giving birth to her son, she felt conflicting pressure to give him up to be adopted, and it would be 16 years until she would reconnect with him again.

Lisa has a unique perspective as she has experienced the adoption and foster care community as a former foster youth, birth mom, foster mom, and adoptive mom. Lisa is a TBRI® Practitioner, co-founder of Adoption Wise, and co-author of The Connected Parent with Karyn Purvis. She lives in North Idaho with her husband, Russ, with whom she has parented twelve children by birth and adoption.

In this episode, you’ll hear Lisa’s deeply challenging experience in foster care and becoming a mother, her passion for staying connected to a child’s first family whenever possible, how she strives to encourage foster and adoptive families today, and so much more!


1. We all have a need to feel known.

When Lisa discovered she was pregnant, her parents sent her away and she was placed in foster care. This experience left her feeling isolated, alone, and abandoned. Regardless of our circumstances, we all have a desire to be known and supported. Without that feeling, fear can creep in and overtake any feeling of safety. The good news, in God we are fully known and fully loved. Jesus understands the depths of your heart, whether it is filled with love and faith or not. This brings us to the final implication of being loved by someone who comprehends everything about us: Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross made a path for us to receive the love of God fully, as Christ’s righteousness is credited to us, despite God knowing every aspect of who we are.

“The isolation and the fear was pretty unbelievable. Initially, I felt pretty scared all the time.”

2. Consider how you can relate to a child’s first family.

Much is lost when we don’t maintain a connection with birth parents when it is safe to do so. It is not just medical information or family history, but a portion of a child’s story leading up to entering foster care is erased if we don’t have a connection with them. This will look different for each child and family, but by maintaining even the smallest connection you can help preserve that portion of a child’s story.

“As adoptive and foster parents, it’s our job to protect our children. But with keeping safety in mind, we should try to be as open-hearted as we can be to our children’s first families.”

3. We are called to parent to the best of our ability.

Whatever parental role we have, whether that be as a birth parent, biological parent, foster parent, or adoptive parent, we do not control the outcome of our child’s life. We have to parent to the best of our ability and entrust the rest to the Lord. Because we will fail, we will let down our kids. But Jesus reassures us to take heart because God is free from the sins of earthly parents. He urges us to consider that if even sinful parents know how to provide good things for their children, how much more eager is our perfect heavenly Father to bestow good gifts upon His children? This message is intended to instill hope in prayer, particularly because we will be imperfect parents, encouraging us to approach God with confidence and expectation that he will meet the needs of our Children that we can not.

“We do not own these children, we do not control them. We parent to the best of our ability. We do the best we can and we have to trust the Lord with our kids.”



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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

Lisa Qualls is a former foster youth, birth mom, foster and adoptive parent, author, TBRI® Practitioner, and co-founder of Adoption Wise. Lisa co-authored The Connected Parent with Dr. Karyn Purvis and Reclaim Compassion: The Adoptive Parent’s Guide to Overcoming Blocked Care with Neuroscience and Faith with Melissa Corkum. Lisa is passionate about supporting parents by recognizing the hard and celebrating the beauty of adoption. She lives in Idaho with her husband, Russ, with whom she has parented twelve children by birth and adoption.

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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