"The biggest thing I’ve learned from being in a fostering family is to be full of grace."
Saty Cornelius grew up in a fostering family—her parents have fostered more than 50 children. She is one of seven children, including three sisters through adoption. Knowing, hearing and living the stories of some of her foster siblings gave her incredible insight into the trauma, struggles and sometimes unexpected emotions kids in care often experience.
Growing up in a fostering family
Saty grew up thinking that fostering was the norm. As she got older, she realized it wasn’t as “normal” as she thought, but she is extremely grateful for the experience of growing up with foster siblings. The hardest part was not being able to fully relate to their story. “I hadn’t been through what they’d been through,” she says. As she got older, she understood some of the circumstances a little better. Sometimes the different backgrounds created some clashes, but they would work through those.
Saty admits that kids in fostering families might be exposed to things through their foster siblings that they wouldn’t normally be exposed to, at least maybe not at the same age. “You just have to know you’re bringing in a whole different world.” Overall she feels her experience growing up in fostering family was good—especially since she has three sisters from foster care. “It’s rewarding to see us impacting their lives and them impacting ours as well.
Bottom line, the biggest thing she learned from being in a fostering family: “I’ve learned to be full of grace.”
More to Me – the book
The story’s main character is Bri, a teen in foster care. Saty interviewed several people to get a broad view of foster care from the inside. Bri and her family and their situation isn’t based solely on one person’s life, but on a compilation of information, interviews and experience.
As a teen in foster care, Bri struggles with going from a caregiver to being a child in care. This is often the case with teens in care—all they’ve known is responsibility for themselves, their siblings and sometimes even their parent. They find different ways of survival—but certainly not normally what a typical fourteen-year-old would be thinking about.
The subject can be a little heavy, and at times it was hard to write, but it discusses topics that are very relevant today—to anyone, not just families that are in foster care. Overarching themes include trust, depression and heartbreak. But underlying all of it is hope—so it’s a good mix of reality and hope.
Touching lives through foster care
Saty hopes that the book will encourage readers to be there for their community—even if people aren’t called to be foster parents, and not all are, she would hope that they could find another way to serve their community. Ultimately, the story just shows how important it is to be there for your community. Foster care is a great way to do this, but if that’s not your calling, then there are tons of other options: including but not limited to volunteering at a homeless shelter, helping out with a youth group, even just being there for the people closest to you.
Saty is grateful that her parents have impacted so many lives through fostering—they are an inspiration to her. But she encourages all of us, regardless of whether we foster or not, by saying, “Everybody touches lives—you never know how many lives you impact.”
The important truth to remember is that “everyone has a story…everyone deserves grace.”
RESOURCES FROM TODAY’S SHOW
Hopefully, this episode has helped you right where you are on your foster care journey. That’s the goal. If you enjoyed it, will you tell others?
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Meet Our Guest
Saty Cornelius is a wife and adventurer with a strong love for Jesus, the ocean, and chai tea lattes. She lives in the Pacific NW, with her husband, Jordan, although they are on the hunt for a warmer climate to call home. She appreciates the value of stories—messy or inspiring, real or fictional—and has a dream of helping people find their worth through the power of these stories. Saty appreciates art in just about any form, with a weakness for vibrant and colorful sunsets.
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