How Foster Care is Restoring My Hope

I’ve been a foster mom four months today.

Who knew that this unexpected journey of foster care would be one of hope and healing for me?


Each foster placement is different, and our very next one may require me to dig deep into every bit of therapeutic parenting I know, but that isn’t the case right now.

Our adoption experience brought me to my knees in desperation every day. The depth of trauma my children experienced before coming to me was profound. PTSD, Reactive Attachment Disorder, and many other diagnoses, flooded our home with trauma, pulling us down into depths we could not have anticipated, leaving us broken.

We’re working through it still – and grief is piled on top like a sodden wool blanket.

[Remember – I said this was a very personal post?  I meant it.]

Russ and I were shaken to our core. Our souls wounded, our marriage hollowed out. Now we’re healing, loving, holding on to each other, praying.

We’re rebuilding our family, figuring out how to move through our days and weeks . Asking each other what we want this life to look like.

We’re saying no to most opportunities, and yes to a few.

We thought foster care would be in our future some day, when we felt strong and whole again.

Then Zoe came – when we least expected her.

We said we would never take a child older than Wogauyu – we disrupted birth order – twice – and said we would never do it again.

Our children had been through enough trauma.

Some day, maybe when the boys were in middle school, we would foster young children, little ones, children who couldn’t hurt them.

In fact, we were never going to let anyone hurt them again.

But Zoe came to stay for only one night, and that was fine. Then for the weekend, and that was fine too.

A social worker asked if she could stay for two weeks – there was no place else.

Zoe was different. We felt comfortable – we had peace. We said, “Yes.”

With lots of prayer, discussion, moving rooms around, conversation with big kids – even the ones not living at home, those two weeks became a foster placement, and four months later, Zoe is still here. We expect she’ll be with us until she returns home.

Before adoption, I believed I was a good mom.

My confidence was shaken as I was challenged to become a PhD level psychologist/therapeutic parent overnight with the addition of traumatized children to our family.

I assumed foster care would require the same of me. Zoe has shown me that is not always the case.

Sometimes basic, good parenting skills may be enough, and you know what? I’ve got those.

Teaching a teenager basic life skills – cooking, studying, chores, calling when you’re going to be late, faith, – it’s good stuff.

Like I laughingly said to one of the case workers, Zoe may have ruined us for foster care.

It’s a joy having her in our family. She is blessing us as much as we are blessing her.

Being a foster mom is restoring some of my confidence in myself – I’m a pretty darn good mom after all.


*Zoe is the name our foster daughter chose to use on Thankful Moms. It is not her real name.

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This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.


  1. Christina
    October 10, 2016

    Thank you for posting this. We had a foster to adopt placement about 18 months ago, and adopted in June of this year. It was totally out of birth order (taking on a 9 and 16 year old when we only had a 6 year old and infant) and much of the first year was chaos. We have finally settled into a rhythm, figured out some good techniques with our kiddos, medication seems right, school is smooth, etc. Our kids are already asking when we are getting a new kid! I felt so stretched and rocked to my chore that many days I couldn’t barely think of serving again through foster care. I keep telling them that we are going to stay smooth for a little while, and maybe soon we can look into a placement. Maybe!…

    1. Lisa Qualls
      October 10, 2016

      Christina, your story is so encouraging – you pressed through the hard and found your way. We don’t have to know the future, the next placement, the next child. Maybe the Lord wants you to be still and give your family time. Who knows? We just walk in faith, one step, one day. I have no idea what will happen when Zoe goes home. I don’t know if we’ll have another foster child anytime soon. We’re waiting on the Lord asking him what is best.

  2. Charity
    October 10, 2016

    I’m so happy to hear this… gods plan for us never seems to include going back…I’m glad in moving forward you are finding healing and hope and joy…what a blessing you are to her and she is to you. Mysterious ways… praying for you all.

    1. Lisa Qualls
      October 10, 2016

      So good to hear from you, Charity. Thanks for your wise words.

  3. Shannon
    October 10, 2016

    We had a similar realization when we became unexpectedly pregnant not long after adopting a child with very difficult needs. We felt so overwhelmed and broken–but god used a beautiful new baby to restore our love of parenting and gave the whole family someone to love with a fresh start. When he interacted with the baby, we started to see glimpses of who our son would have been without neglect and trauma, and it gave us hope. Four years later, we are still in the trenches in a lot of ways, but god has really built our faith and it’s not the hopeless feelings we had in the beginning.

    1. Lisa Qualls
      October 10, 2016

      That is beautiful, Shannon. I have a dear friend who had a similar experience with her son. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  4. Blessed
    October 13, 2016

    I am so happy to hear this too! God is so good. And I’m just thrilled that you are being so blessed while being such a blessing.


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