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Episode 161: Discovering Hope When Life Felt Hopeless (w/ Brittany Marler)

By November 21, 2022January 3rd, 2023Podcast

It’s National Adoption Month! In honor of that, the podcast will be weekly this month to provide more opportunities for you to share episodes with friends who might not know as much about foster care or adoption in order to increase awareness. Let’s spread the word!

As many of us know, not every family gets to be reunified. In fact, in just under half (48%) of cases are children reunified with their parents. How should we respond to that reality? My guest today is unique in that she was an adoptee and also a biological mother who experienced her own children being placed in foster care. Brittany Marler’s life was turned upside-down when her mother was killed, which eventually led to her adoption by her grandparents. In our conversation, she vulnerably shares with us her experience of growing up without her birth mother, the painful circumstances that led her to prison and surrendering her children, and their foster parents who relentlessly pursued a relationship with her.

Though Brittany’s story up to this point is not one of reunification, it is one of restoration and healing. God is doing incredible things in her life, and I am so grateful for Brittany’s openness and willingness to share her story with us here on the podcast.


1. It takes time to uncover the “why.”

For those who have experienced trauma, it can be difficult to uncover why they have developed certain behaviors as coping strategies. The reason this is so difficult is because people typically adopt those behaviors during a time where you were just trying to survive. It takes time and intentional reflection to peel back the layers to truly uncover the “why” behind those behaviors and beliefs.

“I didn’t realize that my hurt and addiction to love was because I felt abandoned by my mother and my brothers.”

2. Foster with the right mindset.

Like we hear in Brittany’s story, one of the reasons her life took a 360 is because her children’s foster parents felt a call to invest in her, not just her children. This may not be the case for every situation, but there should never be an “us vs. them” mentality. It’s important to care for the children and have compassion for their biological parents’ story. If you are fostering right now and are struggling to connect with their biological parents, we would encourage you to get curious about them—ask them questions, reach out to them, and find ways to safely incorporate them into their children’s lives when appropriate.

“Their motive was never to take me out of my children’s lives. Their motive was to help with the girls—make them safe, make them comfortable, and lead them to Jesus.”

3. Something that’s “best” for a child can still hurt.

Even in a situation where you may think something is best for a child (whatever that is), it can still be so painful. Whatever side of that situation you’re on, remember that it’s okay to recognize and feel your hurt. It’s okay and normal to feel a confusing “tug-of-war” between pain and gratitude.

“What was the happiest day for them was the hardest day for me.”


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

Brittany Marler offers an important perspective as an adoptee and as a mother whose children were placed into foster care. Brittany is the mother of four children from 5 months old to 13 years old. She entered foster care after her mother was killed, and she eventually was adopted by her grandparents. As she grew up, Brittany struggled with addiction, which led to time in prison. But that wasn’t the end of the story! It was while in prison that she met Jesus for the first time through Freeway Ministries and started addressing her trauma. Through all the ups and downs of her journey, she was able to enter recovery, experience healing, and have a lasting relationship with her children and their adoptive parents.

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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