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Episode 135: When God Opens Unexpected Doors

By December 13, 2021January 3rd, 2023Podcast

Tod and Gretchen Sawyer’s world was turned upside down when they lost their first biological daughter. They decided to honor her memory by sponsoring a child through the local Department of Social Services, which was the beginning of their foster care journey. God led them to become aware, which led them to take action. In addition to being some of our newest TFI Advocates in Aiken County, SC, Tod & Gretchen have been foster parents for ten years now. Above all else, God has shown them again and again how His plan for their life was different, and better, than their own. I hope this conversation will be an encouragement to you!


1. Awareness leads to action.

Here at TFI, this is something we like to say, and it is amazing to hear the stories over and over again of God leading people from awareness to action. If the Lord is putting foster care (or something else!) on your heart, start by simply learning more or talking with someone who is involved in that work. Becoming aware, whether it’s intentional or not, is a crucial part of the journey.

“These are individuals. Not just statistics.”

2. Don’t let fear keep you from fostering.

If you are saying no to foster care because you are fearful that you will get too attached, that fostering may have a negative impact on your biological kids, or just that you aren’t equipped to parent a foster child, don’t let those fears stop you. Fostering isn’t about you being the perfect parent. Fostering is hard, but like Gretchen shared, “The benefits far outweigh the pain.” All you need to do is show up and offer what you have; God will bless your efforts in ways you likely have never imagined!

“It’s not about you at all; it’s about the kid. And you are supposed to get overly attached and love on that child like no other. God will get you through the other end. It’s going to hurt, but God is there for you and you just do your part.”

3. God has the details worked out and is doing something bigger than we know.

This is truly the signature of Tod & Gretchen’s story. God is doing something bigger than we know and He’s continually preparing us for what’s next, taking care of the details all along the way. We don’t have to understand the entire journey; we just need to be willing to say, “Yes.” God can use our “yes” in some incredible, life-changing ways.

“All throughout this story is ‘I’ve got you.’ God is saying that. He’s using His people to say that.” 


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

Tod and Gretchen Sawyer were drawn to foster care more than ten years ago after their first biological daughter was stillborn. Through the course of grieving her loss, their eyes were opened for the need for foster parents in their community. They opened their home and, over the span of 10 years, they have cared for ten children, four of whom joined their family permanently through adoption. Today, Tod and Gretchen are the proud parents of six girls and have been married for 27 years. Tod works in security while Gretchen stays home to manage the details of life and parenting. They enjoy making memories that include camping, hiking, biking, and traveling. Tod and Gretchen’s passion is to encourage and see other Christian families become involved in foster care.

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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