Episode #179 Foster A Child

Most of us spend our lives running away from hard things. But what if we intentionally turned around to run toward something that is equal parts difficult and worthwhile? This week, Dr. Michael Brown and Dr. Beau Johnson reflect on their journeys as foster parents of a collective twenty-eight children over the past twenty years.

Show Notes

It has changed our life, it has made our family better, and it has done more for us than it has ever done for any kid that has been through our home.
Dr. Beau Johnson

Seven Problems

  • The most common phrases that foster parents hear are “I could never do that” and “I have always wanted to do that.”
  • The experience of fostering a child is rewarding, but it is never easy.
  • Only about 5% of former foster children complete a college degree.
  • Fostering a child has the potential to be a lonely and isolating experience.
  • It is far easier to empathize with people in need than to actually help people in need.
  • Some children grow up believing that life is all about them, and other children have quite the opposite experience.
  • Every deep and meaningful relationship with another human being has the potential to break our hearts.

Five Principles

  • We can love and support foster children even if we are not foster parents ourselves.
  • Even seemingly small decisions can have significant impacts.
  • The foster care system often introduces us to the world we never knew existed in our own backyard.
  • Every single human being is equally capable of choosing their way into difficulty.
  • We never know which seeds we plant today will finally blossom years in the future.

Five Practices

  • Only pursue a foster care placement if you are prepared to make a commitment that is both lengthier and more difficult than you expect.
  • Before beginning your own foster care journey, dip your toe in the water by bringing a pizza to a foster family.
  • If you aren’t quite ready to become a foster parent, consider obtaining your license to provide short term respite care for other foster families.
  • When you are tempted to take things personally, remind yourself of the reality that “hurt people hurt people.”
  • Identify your fears with the question, “What am I afraid of?”, and incriminate them with the question, “Should I be afraid?”