Skip to main content

Episode 214: My Identity Isn’t Found in a File (w/ Melinda Melo)

By December 18, 2023Podcast

“It was like she was returning a book to a library. She dropped me off and she left. It was one of the most traumatic experiences.” – Melinda Melo

Melinda spent her childhood living in some of the most vulnerable communities in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Due to extreme challenges her mother and family faced, she was neglected and exposed to violence, abuse, crime, and substance abuse. As a result, Melinda was in and out of foster and kinship care from the ages of three to fifteen. Uniquely, Melinda’s mother chose multiple times to place Melinda in foster care, which added an extra layer of trauma and extremely difficult emotions.

In this episode, Melinda shares the circumstances that led to her entering foster care, the effects of your identity being reduced to the labels in your file, how she has made sense of her past, the journey of forgiving her mom and welcoming her into her family’s home, and so much more. Today, Melinda has become a biological, foster, and adoptive parent along with her husband of 13 years, Mike.

Melinda’s story is full of challenge, and her healing journey through it all is incredible. Listen in!

TAKEAWAYS FROM TODAY’S CONVERSATION:

1. Everyone has a story.

While it was a traumatic experience for Melinda to experience her mom choosing to place her in foster and kinship care, she recognizes that her mother’s struggle with schizophrenia, poverty, and more contributed to a painful generational cycle. When you are living in poverty, experiencing trauma, struggling to make ends meet, suffering abuse, and dealing with unaddressed mental health challenges, it is difficult to provide what is best for your children.

“It was like she was returning a book to a library. She dropped me off and she left. It was one of the most traumatic experiences.”

2. We have an identity in Christ that surpasses any earthly identity.

In this episode, Melinda shares how meaningful it was for her to come to understand that God is a Father who loves each of us unconditionally. Each and every one of us regardless of background and family history have been welcomed and invited into God’s family. He loves us and sees us as His sons and daughters. He knows our hurt and our desire to belong, and God can walk with us towards healing our past and discovering our future.

“Knowing that God cries with me, and that this was not His plan for my life. That gives me peace.”

3. Healing is an active process.

Melinda shared how valuable a recovery program was for her, as well as the journey of coming to a place of forgiveness once she understood the challenges her mom faced. The journey of healing is an active process. It’s a messy and challenging one, but there is hope for healing when we give ourselves time and space to be present through it. It is possible to find hope. It is possible to find healing. It is possible to break generational cycles. You are not alone!

“I was able to take those words in my file and turn it into something that I hope helps people and helps them feel not alone.”

RESOURCES FROM TODAY’S SHOW

 

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

Melinda Melo spent her childhood living in some of the poorest communities in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She was neglected and exposed to violence, abuse, crime, and substance abuse. As a result, Melinda was in and out of foster and kinship care from the ages of three to fifteen. Today Melinda has been married to her husband, Mike, for 13 years. Together they are biological, foster, and adoptive parents. They live in a rural area outside of London, Ontario. Melinda is in the process of having her memoir published and it is expected to be released in 2024.

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

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.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Other Episodes You Might Enjoy:

Episode 142: Navigating Transition & Alternative Outcomes in Foster Care

| Podcast | No Comments
Dorothy Mendoza and her husband, Chris, began fostering because they wanted to see children reunified with their biological parents. In their first 3 years as foster parents, they fostered 9 children, and only one of…
Jason John Family Picture

Episode 2: Finding the “Perfect” Time to Foster or Adopt

| Podcast | No Comments
In this episode with Jason Johnson, you’ll discover how to find the “perfect” time to foster or adopt, how to navigate the concern of loving a child that might leave your family, and learn a…

Episode 146: When Hope Feels Dangerous: From the Perspective of a Biological Parent

| Podcast | No Comments
In this episode, I am joined by Tiffany Shaw. Tiffany is a biological parent whose three children entered foster care when she was reported to the Department of Children and Family Services as a result…