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Episode 238: Making the Hard Decision to Stop Being a Foster Parent (w/ Lisa Robertson)

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We cover many topics here on The Forgotten Podcast from how to know when to start fostering, real stories of people throughout the foster care community, how churches can get involved, and more.

But in this episode, we are talking about an aspect of foster parenting we don’t often address: What happens when you reach the end of the journey of active foster parenting? How do you know when you should be done fostering and begin providing wrap-around support?

My guest, Lisa Robertson, knows all about this journey as her family made the hard choice to stop fostering in October of 2023 after many years of active foster parenting. She has been a foster and adoptive parent and is the Executive Director for Hope Bridge, a non-profit that advocates for change in the Ohio foster care system by mobilizing churches and equipping communities to serve. Lisa has many years of experience in advocacy, biological family relationship preservation, and the preventative work of keeping families together.

It’s never easy to let go of something that is so close to your heart. In this conversation, we discuss what questions foster parents should consider before closing their license, how to identify when it is time to stop fostering, the heaviest parts of letting go of such a large part of your life, the opportunities to still serve the foster care community after foster parenting, and much more.

TAKEAWAYS FROM TODAY’S CONVERSATION:

1. Obedience to God may mean doing less.

There is no doubt that those in and around the foster care community have been called to do this work. Just as we have been called to this work, we may be called out of it. It’s an even larger step of faith that requires us to trust God with those we care about so deeply.

“This is so much of who we are. We are a foster family; this is what we do.

2. There is still work to be done.

You don’t have to be a foster parent in order to serve the foster care community. There are so many other ways to encourage and support those who may be struggling to stay afloat. As a former foster parent, you are uniquely gifted to know how to best encourage other foster parents and those throughout the foster care community.

“It’s so incredibly helpful to the family that feels like they are drowning.”

3. Give yourself space to grieve.

Letting go of this part of your life is a major life shift. What you have experienced in your role as a foster parent changes you forever. It can be difficult to stop because you have cared so long about this. To step away can feel like a big loss. Give your heart time to grieve.

“Look beneath the guilt to the grief. You know the need, you’ve cared for children, you may have adopted some of them into your home forever, and fostering is this beautiful, messy heart journey. You come in as one person and you leave as somebody else.”

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

Lisa Robertson is a foster and adoptive parent and the Executive Director for Hope Bridge, a non-profit that advocates for change in the Ohio foster care system by mobilizing churches and equipping communities to serve. She has years of experience in advocacy, biological family relationship preservation, and the preventative work of keeping families together. Lisa is married to J.J. and they have four children together 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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