When You Can’t Step Away: Life After Foster Parenting

By April 13, 2020Podcast

It’s time to celebrate! The Lord has graciously allowed TFI to be part of supporting the foster care community for 9 years! It’s been a joy to walk with people who are passionate about Jesus and the foster care community as they launch and lead TFI Advocate Ministries all across the United States. Seriously, our Advocates are some of the best; they see and show up for agency workers, foster parents, vulnerable adults, and children involved with foster care, and not only personally do they do that, but they mobilize the church to do that too! The movement is multiplying, and I could not be more honored to be on this journey with so many great leaders. Because I love you and our Advocates so much, I want to share an inside look at the types of conversations our team gets to have each day. Listen in as Advocate Support Director, Jillian, chats with Kara, our Advocate in Northwest Oklahoma, about ministry and lessons she’s learned throughout her 6 years as an Advocate.

HERE ARE MY 3 TAKEAWAYS FROM OUR CONVERSATION:

1. A full house doesn’t have to stop your involvement with foster care.

I remember first becoming aware of foster care. I simply didn’t know about this community of people—agency workers, foster parents, vulnerable adults, and children—before my eyes were opened. And once they were opened, I couldn’t turn away. Kara and her husband, Cory experienced this. They didn’t anticipate getting involved with foster care, but then a need arose and they became kinship caregivers. After the child returned home 8-weeks later, Kara and Cory knew their hearts had changed. They had become aware. Children were in need of homes in their community, so they became traditional foster parents. A few years in, their home reached capacity. Again, they couldn’t turn away. This is where Kara’s journey with TFI began.

“I couldn’t imagine being done. . . I can’t turn my back on [the foster care] community. I saw a TFI post, and I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, these people are like me.’ This is the perfect way to minister and serve without taking in any more kids.””

2. Serving doesn’t mean you have to do everything on your own.

We are better together. I truly believe that. Sometimes, we put this pressure on ourselves to do everything and be everything to everyone. But, then we’re just left discouraged that we can’t actually do that. We’ve set expectations for ourselves that we cannot reach. Kara was in this place. Although she was leading a ministry, she felt like she had to be the one to step in every time she was presented a need. Supporting the foster care community isn’t about running yourself ragged. You won’t be of help if your service has become something you dread.

“It’s been a personal process for me. I don’t have to do everything for everybody. That’s not what the Lord intended. I need to utilize the gifts [of myself and others]. I need to ask people for help.”

3. Letting go and delegating can lead to greater joy and impact.

It can be tempting to hold tightly to your work, particularly if you’re the one who started and grew the work to the place it is today. And yet, to do that is to limit its potential and rob others of the opportunity to experience the same joy you have in it. Building anything takes commitment, and launching a TFI ministry is no different, and yet, with the encouragement of the staff at TFI, Kara was able to launch and then bring others into the ministry. As someone who is used to being the helper, asking for help is hard. But in asking, something beautiful is communicated: I trust that the Lord is in control, and I am not. I am weak, but He is strong. And that brings so much freedom and joy!

“If I’m hyper-focused and hyper-sensitive to stuff, I just wear myself out. Then, there’s no joy in that. I don’t want to serve because I’m frustrated. If I delegate and let go of some control, then my heart is more joyous.”

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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

Kara is married to Cory and mom to six kiddos. After a short-term kinship placement, Kara and Cory knew they couldn’t step away from foster care. This led to becoming a licensed foster family and later to launch and lead a TFI Advocate Ministry. Kara has been an Advocate with TFI since March 2014 in their area of Northwest Oklahoma.

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

Special thanks to Resonate Recordings for their knock-it-out-of-the-park podcast production services! If you have a podcast or want to start one, reach out to our friends at Resonate!

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