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Fostering Through A Pandemic: Guest Stephanie Dulin, mother of 6, Episode 11


Hey housewives. Come on in. You know, the dirty dishes are still in the sink and the laundry is still in the basket, pop your air pods and make yourself at home here. I'm Tori. I'm Tracy, and we are your unlikely housewives stepping out in faith and believing that God calls me unlikely. We are here to show you the appreciation and validation you deserve, lead you to authentic relationships and release you from believing the cultural lies to restore your faith and wellness. Pull up those high waisted yoga pants, tighten your top knot and reheat your coffee for the third time today. Turn up the volume and let's go. Hey, housewives. So I'm so glad that you are here with us. We are so excited because we have something very special for you. We are going to start sprinkling in some extra episodes with some of the people in our lives that you guys need to know. Right? Absolutely. We have a lot of Mama's and women who can bring you light and hope outside of the topics we can discuss. So we're going to bring them on as guests to encourage all of you listeners and we're not going to sell ourselves short. We are going to have a couple of men here and their potential husbands a couple of doctors attentional husbands


don't tell Am I saying intentionally our husbands? We have to bribe them first night? There we go. Okay, clarification is probably needed. Although I could be taking applications I could I get. But before we get any further into this, let's read one of our reviews. Tracy, go ahead. Yes,


we would love to highlight one of our newest reviews. From the abundant mom life. Melody, she says gals after my own heart, so refreshing to hear stories, and soak in some real life wisdom to help us rise up as daughters of the King and walk in our purpose with boldness and authenticity. And she is from abundant mom life for network marketers show her name is Melody and it is such a joy to be able to connect with other podcasters who are in the same just realm of sharing light and hope and encouraging women. Absolutely. And so without further ado, I want to introduce you to our guest today, Miss Stephanie. That's what we call her in our house because our girls truly love her and know her from art camp and all of the talents that she has. But today we're going to be talking about something that she is very passionate about. And that is foster and adoption. And that starts because she has six kids. So Stephanie, how did you acquire all these wonderful children that you have kept showing up? Well, I will say that I appreciate the title of your podcast because I am the definition of unlikely our family is the definition of unlikely this was not a plan of ours. This was not part of what we thought our journey would look like. But it is what happened. It's how God orchestrated our family to come together. When my husband and I Jeremy got married in 2008. His nephew was placed in the foster system. And we ended up becoming his family placements. We had just been married, and he came to live with us at 18 months old. And our journey just started very quickly. From there, we had no idea what it was going to entail. We didn't know how long he was going to live with us. And that is really what started our journey down this road of foster care and eventually adoption. So we ended up adopting him as our official son 18 months later when he was three. And then we decided we wanted to expand our family. And we had unfortunately found out around that time that it was going to be very hard for us to ever conceive. And so there was a lot of gravy in there. That has to be hard. I mean, you've already got one kid in your house. And you get told the news that conceiving your own is going to be difficult if at all possible. But at the same time you're like, we've already got it. It's got to be such a paradox because you've got a kid in your house already. Right? So like how did that kind of I've gone through many different seasons of life where grief looks differently and feels differently. So yes, I did grieve, knowing I have a kid in my home, but yet wanting to expand our family and really thinking that it would happen the way that I wanted it to happen,


right? The natural way the, you know, way, a lot of people just have their families. Yeah. And so I remember, it was a couple months after we adopted Nate. And I was struggling with that. And I remember it was Labor Day, and Jeremy had the day off. So him and Nate were playing and I was kind of sitting back, we were at a park. And I remember the Holy Spirit impressing on my heart that we were going to have a baby within a year. And I was like, Did I hear that? Right? What, and I didn't even tell Jeremy that it was kind of like, oh, that miracle is going to happen. And miraculously, we're going to conceive, and we are going to have a baby. And it's going to happen next year. And you know, you do the math. And you're like, Okay, that's possible. Yeah. And so the months kept going, and nothing had happened. And the next year started. And so we were in that discussion of, okay, we do want to add to our family, how is this gonna look? And so we decided, okay, well, maybe we will continue fostering, but it was a completely different process, because we were a family placement. So to foster other children outside of our family, just a different process. So we ended up starting that process. And within a couple of weeks of that, I received a call from my mom, mentioning, did you say that you'd want to adopt again, you know, is that something you'd like to do? And I was like, Well, yeah, but we don't have the money to adopt privately. So that's not something that we thought would be the next step. When I told her we are filling out papers for fostering again. And lo and behold, she knew of a lady, one of her friends whose teenage daughters were pregnant, was pregnant, and our name came up, and it just spiraled from there. And she ended up choosing us as the adoptive placement for her child. And so our second kid then was born that June. So those times where I thought and doubted that the Holy Spirit had spoken to me, it was that affirmation of he did bless us with a baby within that year, with months despair with prayer. I mean, that was yes, in in conversations, because his adoption is an open adoption, doing the math, he was conceived around that time that the Holy Spirit spoke to me, which is really, really cool. It's definitely a nugget come affirmation. And real quickly, you touched on something that maybe our listeners don't know, what is the definition or difference between an open and a closed adoption. So it really is different in all cases, actually, an open adoption could be from just sharing pictures, maybe once a year, or as in our open adoption, it's on the extreme end, where she's a part of our family, they are a part of our family. We have out of our six kids, I would say five out of the six have open adoptions, but they all are at different levels of that. So it's just different. It's different depending on the situation and the circumstance. So we have where we see birth, mom or birth parents, often more so than not, and she was actually my second child, Xander, his birth mom was kind of that pioneer for us. As we started that journey, we did not expect to have an open adoption. But that was something that I felt like we wanted and needed for him had a lot of health and healing from her being a part of his life. And so that's been cool. It's been really awesome. We, we have a very organic, natural relationship with her. And it's just felt so easy. Yeah. And we've again seen so much health from it on both aspects, both sides of it, her family, our family, our son, and we've always been very open with our kids about their stories. And so he knows mama Molly, and even just yesterday, she came over and took him shopping and it's just what he knows. So that's really cool. That is a part of her life, his life. Not everybody gets that story. And nor is that something that you know, we'll ever be a part of some children's lives but I think it's incredible what you guys have done on both sides. And I met Molly and I think it's awesome the relationships that you guys have been able to build for Xander. All right. Well, we have a few More kids to get


I think a lot of just touching on that I think a lot of people who want to adopt or maybe who have adopted that fear, the openness only because it's like what if my child wants to live with them? Or? Or what if there's just so many feelings associated with that? What if I lose that child because it to us, the more people you have in their life to love them, the better off, we love that they have so many people in their corner, and that they know their story. I think that there's a lot of kids who have holes in their life, even if they have brought been brought up with an amazing childhood. But yet, there is a sense that something's missing. And my kids have a lot of those holes filled already. Does that make sense? Oh, yeah. When you hear stories of kids that don't find out until they're adults, yeah, that they were adopted, there's more levels of emotions there, right. And it's like, going back to know that you guys are so open, and from the get go and open to saying, the more positive relationships, loving relationships you have in your life, the better. Versus you guys being self conscious of, I'm going to lose this kid if I let this relationship happening. That's That's an incredible thing that you guys offer for your children. And I stir I do feel, I think God has changed my heart where, you know, I've been entrusted with these kids. It's an honor to be a part of their lives. And this is how I am a mom. So I respect that there are those other relationships. And I want to cultivate that for my kids. And we've learned that that's been a really good thing for our kids. Absolutely. Yeah. So after Xander came along, through conversations, several years later, we found out of another birth mom, who actually had some kids already in the foster system, where her family was raising them. And this little baby was coming and through conversation, we ended up being the ones that were able to step up and step in and adopt him. So that was completely out of the blue. We found out about him in November of 2014. And he was born in January. So it was a very quick, yes. quick turnaround is very quick to pardon all your stories. Yes. Yes, yes. Yes. I have surprised many friends over the years that Oh, yeah. So a couple more. It's a blessing, though, to see what you've been able to just the gifts of family that you've been able to give these kids. And this third one you're talking about is is Kate is Katie. Yes. Yes, it is Kayden. So share the nugget that oh, okay, so his name. So we had picked the name Jackson JX o n, if we were ever to have another boy not knowing if we would have any other kids or not. And when we met birth parents, they said that they really liked the name Caden, but the way they had it spelled was k y. And my middle name is K. So it seems very natural that we would go with that name. And we wanted to not only respect their request, but then it felt more like a validation that this is a child that God has planned for our family and so seamless Caden with a KY love it. On we thought we were done. We had our hands full with the three boys, I think that's when kind of the name frat house started to get people started knowing us is that. And then out of the blue, I received a call from adoptive mom, friend that I know. And she just asked if I knew of anyone who had some open beds, because there were a couple kids that needed to get out of a foster home. They were in for specific reasons. And so I said, Well, we have beds, but you know, we're actually not officially licensed right now. But if it's a dire need, maybe we can expedite something we'll see. So it was one of those calls I made to Jeremy saying, hey, what do you think about having a couple of kids at the house for short term?


They very easygoing husband. He's like, That's fine. That's cool. And so they ended up coming to live with us, and short term became long term into adoption. So we ended up adopting these two half brothers in 2019. And then we're really happy that we really rad house. Yeah, nugget of those two sweet boys. Okay. The youngest kiddo in that story, his name was Jackson with it. And then his brother's name was David, which at the time, our pastor was going through a series on David from the Bible. And so there is just these little affirmation pieces that it felt like, again, that that is what we were supposed to do. And what I didn't touch on earlier was that, you know, there's a lot of people who think I can't do this, or I'm not ready to do foster care, or I don't know about adoption. And really, we never, ever had anything lined up or planned up or in place where we felt okay, now's the time, we just had a willing heart and said, Yes. And I think sometimes that that's just what God requires of us. I can't imagine I mean, my husband and I got married in 2008. Two, and I cannot imagine getting married and then yes, and all of a sudden, you've gotten 18. I can't either. I mean, like, that's it was that very challenging? Right. I mean, newlyweds, probably, most of us are broke newlyweds. Right? And, and so there was no, I'm sure that there was a split second of hesitation of like, are we really, but you and Jeremy just said, Well, of course we are. And that is what is so incredible. And I think, like you said, people think that once I have X in place, and once I have y in place, and then once we get to z, then of course we're going to do, you know, look into Foster, and we're looking into adoption, but you didn't have a, b, c, d? No, none of that. And that is what is so incredible. And that God, your stories is a perfect example of God providing and laying the foundation and making it all work. Like that's really, really incredible. Yeah, for your story. And, you know, as we know, there's no parent teen handbook, but there certainly is no parenting handbook for bringing a kiddo from the foster system into your home either and not understanding everything that goes along with that all the different elements, the emotional distress, the court dates, the play therapy, all the different things. Okay, so this is where the timing of things really changed. Well, about two because this is 2019. So we're almost to a whole transition of motherhood for you in hitting a pandemic. So there's another little beautiful nugget that needs to be added to the story. Yes, there's one more changes the frat house completely. Yes, yes. A frat house and the princess. Yes. Totally unexpected princess. So what is funny is that the day we adopted the two boys, I remember our lawyer coming up to us and saying, You do know that you can adopt girls as well. And I laughed, and I was like, Oh, do you not know, how much of a handful we have now, there was so much going on here? And was the frat house like, I think this is this is it? You know, we just know how to raise boys. And so it was kind of a funny haha. And our caseworker then came up to us that same day and said, Do you want us to close your home as a foster home? And I said, I had a friend of mine, foster mom, friend who had just I think she had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. And so I we had done respite for their family several times. And so I said, I think we probably need to keep our home license just for the respite piece so that we can be paid for that because I don't think people understand that, that for foster families to have someone else take care of their kids. It's not as easy as calling the teenager down the street. Absolutely not.


Yeah. So you know, they need what so foster families definitely need respite, meaning they need a break. Sometimes rather, they have to, you know, go out of town or just need that breather from the situation and so foster families can provide respite for other foster families where that child can come to the home. It's a licensed foster home. And so we wanted to be sure that we were still open for that. So that is really the main reason we decided to keep the license active. However, four weeks after we adopted the boys, I got a text from our caseworker at the time, and she just said, baby girl, eight days old NICU interested? Question mark. It was like, Jared, going husband? How about another one man? What do you think? And so he was on board immediately. And, you know, I was too. But of course, not knowing what that would look like. We did not know anything about her. Even the caseworker so hadn't known. The details of the situation, the case where things stood if she was medically having issues, we just had no idea. We just knew she was in the NICU. So we ended up running up to the hospital several hours later. And then several hours after that we were unofficially deemed the foster parents because it was Friday night. And so people work. It's kind of hard to get done over the weekend, sometimes when people are not in our office, right? Yeah. So we ended up spending all weekend with her and she ended up being in the NICU for a total of 17 days, I believe she was born on the eighth and we left I believe the 27th. So 19 days. So we were in the NICU then for 11 days with her. So not knowing at all what this was going to look like we didn't know anything about the case. And then but we did know that it was going to be a really integration case, which means so reintegration in the foster system means that the birth family will attempt to reintegrate with their child and that child will eventually the hope is that the child will eventually reintegrate with that family and go home with that family. However, that looks like. So that is what we knew at the beginning that we started that process with her in 2019 in 2019. So you now have a foster child during a pandemic. Talk to us about what it was like in 2020. Oh, my goodness, I'm not sure that we have enough time. We have enough podcasts. There's a lot of elements. I've even talked to several foster families through this. And you know, we've shared our experiences together and some are the same. Some are different depending on our kiddos circumstances. I know in our case, it's significantly delayed. So much. Yeah, in our case, things kept getting pushed back. A lot of delays happen that should not have happened. The pandemic created a lot of gaps and loopholes in cases, which, unfortunately, we're taking advantage of sometimes, whether it be from one side or another side. So it was very difficult, very frustrating regarding that aspect of things. So to catch everybody up if you weren't counting, we've got five boys, five boys and one girl and one girl. And so Stephanie's family wrapped up 2019 With a full house. And if we all remember correctly, we all celebrated 2020 with champagne in our hands going yes, this is going to be our year the Chiefs won the Super Bowl. My husband actually had a birthday that year. He's a leaf your baby. I mean, we just thought this every was lining up. I mean, that's true. Yeah. And then two weeks into March. They said we're going to shut down the country for two weeks. Yeah, to flatten the curve.


That was cute. And two years later here, we are still trying to flatten it. But you have all these connections in the foster and adoptive world. Now, as moms who we have Tracy who homeschooled a kid for the year we our kids were sent home. I mean we had our own challenges just in the sphere of parenting. Right. So let's talk about the foster and adoptive families. What were some of the specific challenges for you guys when it came to To not being in the classroom and having virtual classes or no classes at all, how did that impact foster and adoptive families drastically? I mean, pre COVID My kids all have amazing, unique stories, much of it, just really highlighting God at work, lots of cool aspects about their stories. But pre COVID I mean, the heart and the challenges beforehand, where, you know, we had defiance, we had physical aggression, we had emotional breakdowns, we drug use, adults and children, runaways, police involvement, unsupportive family and friends. The reintegration process rad diagnosis, if you don't know what rat is, you don't want to know what rat is. And living with that. There's a whole support group going on for that with foster and adoptive families. We had court dates and therapy for everyone. It was like therapy for you and therapy for you. And you know, we had every kind of therapy for our family, and this was all pre COVID. And then you add the challenges of a pandemic, one of the big things were it affected our advocacy for them, I've always felt as a foster parent that we don't really matter anyway, they don't really seek us out in the court system, or the agency necessarily for our opinions or our thoughts regarding a case we are there to raise the child, we are there to be a support for the child. So, you know, you already kind of feel alienated as a foster parents. But I felt like it really affected our advocacy because we still are a voice for them. We live with them, we know what they need, we see the triggers. We see how they thrive, how they're affected by things. And, you know, we know that there's always a need behind the behavior. So when we see a behavior, there's always a need, even if we don't know what the need is, we are trying desperately to figure out what that need is. And I felt like agencies, courts and schools were standing behind the ever changing protocol, which silence those needs. And it protocol meaning like how you typically would have handled things prior to the pandemic, like you would see someone's face, you would have them you would have a meeting, like all of a sudden, it became just a zoom, or it became just a phone call,


or it became just being brushed aside and say no, that's how we do things today. Yeah. And that that was really hard. You know, I know my kids, I know what they need, as we all do. And that was very hard to advocate for their needs during that time. And they were all in different places. They were all in different schools and different ages and, and different seasons. And they all needed different things. And they're all very different and unique in their own way as to how they learn and how they thrive. And, in particular, my oldest was on a sports team. And one of the changes that happened to be made that fall was that, okay, let's go in person, but the sports teams were not allowed to. Okay, well, just because he's in sports. Now, he can't be in person. But yet, it's a double edged sword because he needs sports as an outlet, right? But he's not going to thrive and learn at home. And I saw a lot of behaviors, and scary stuff that these are my kids stories. So there are certain things that I will not share, because it's absolutely, it's details that I don't want to for them. But it was not, it was not good at all. It was not good at all. And I just felt like I had no voice. And I reached out in many different ways communicate it. And it was, well, this is just, this is what we have to do to keep the kids safe. And while I respect physical safety, there's also an element of men to health safety. Yeah. And I feel like those definitions were defined differently than I would write to find them. I would as raising children from hard places. Yeah. And I would say that advocacy is what like, that's kind of where this podcast came from. You know, that's where a lot of our episodes and the people that we're going to talk to, we have to step up and stand in a place of something that's so different for our kids. Like we were all going through the motions prior to a pandemic we were doing what had always been done and what was working and when this pandemic hits. Every single family parent children is learning something new. We all have a completely Different Avenue and mental health was something that I didn't deal with in my family with my children before. So it's like learning to advocate through that. So I just think that thank you for speaking into that, and bringing some light to that, because we may say it, but you're also saying it. And I know that other moms and listeners out there are agreeing, yeah, we have to do things just differently now. And really, there's just such a long list of different things of how specifically foster and adoptive families were affected by this. I know that also, caseworker visits, resorted to zoom meetings, which I do not feel like the caseworkers were able to adequately do their jobs that way. There is a lot of reasons why a caseworker should be in the physical presence of a child, every time we have a caseworker come to our house, they have to do a walk through they have to check on things to be sure that we have outlet covers, and we don't have medicines out and you know, just different things that they can see that are in place as a foster home. And yeah, you can walk around with the computer, right your your phone, but it's just harder to do your job that way. And thankfully, foster parents, there are a lot of great foster parents, a lot of great foster families. However, we also know the flip side that on a zoom call, you can share what you have a lot of unseen, there's a lot of unseen, you can hide what you want to hide. And so the people that want to hide, like the unsafe mess, that's easy for them to get away with, which is only putting the kid in more danger. And absolutely in a in a tougher situation. Absolutely.


And there's a lot of kids that really bond to their caseworker. And being in their physical presence really helps their stability. So when they see that caseworker, they need that they need that. And so that wasn't happening, that wasn't happening. Now, thankfully, at the time, my foster daughter, you know, she she had these people come in and out. And I really was speaking for her because she was not verbal yet, you know, she wasn't talking yet. But a lot of older kids in foster care, they look forward to those caseworker visits, and those were taken away. And so that was a big effect of the pandemic, also highlighting the word fear among all of us, holy cow, but hearing that word or, or a child seeing that played out in front of them, rather they see it within the news or the family or, or when when they go back to school and other children are talking about it too. Like there's a whole different level, because each family kind of has their own perspective on what is going on salutely and make some very more fear than others. And that creates an interesting environment when your child then comes back home, and has some things to say about it. Yeah, yeah. For kids from hard places. Fear really triggers different emotions, such as abandonment and neglect that maybe other kids have never experienced before. So there is a whole rabbit trail of emotions that a child may deal with internally and externally, when fear is presented. Again, rather, that's just in discussion or if that's felt, and that in the foster world, felt safety. That key term is very important for a child, it's disarming those feelings that you are not unsafe, that it's not only a physical safety, it's emotional safety for that child and that you are loved. You are safe. You are okay. And the world and the discussions and the division and the conversations and the fear, fear, fear fear, really triggered a lot of extreme emotions for children specifically from foster care. There's a lot of layers of trauma that were added from that. Okay, let's talk really quickly about obviously, the fear. We talked about how it comes about through school. And, you know, tell us a little bit about how this played a part in obviously, we know some kids are in school, some were hybrid, you know, some had to quarantine, there was a lot of in and out what kind of role do teachers play in helping relationship that communication like we know that it's been hard on T shirts in schools and administration, as much as it has been for all parents talk about that relationship in that dynamic and how that may be changed. And not just teachers but like the school system in general, like school is not just a place that kids go for it. hours a day. Yeah. Especially for for foster and foster kids. Yeah. So share a little bit about that thought. Why No, for all my kids, they've always had great teachers and bonded with those teachers. But I think an element that some people are not aware of is that teachers are mandatory reporters, meaning that if they see something that may cause concern, or raise an eyebrow of is this child, okay? You know, they are mandatory reporters. So when you close schools, you take kids out of classrooms, where that could be a place where some kids feel the safest, depending on what their situation is at home. That is increasing the chances of unknown abuse and neglect. So I believe there are probably so many instances that happened during the pandemic that we may never even be aware of, because those kids were outside of the classrooms. And these are some years bond with those kids, and they can see and feel okay, this kid feels off today, what's going on. And you, it's just hard to do that over zoom. And not just the kids that are currently in foster care. But some of these that probably should be in foster care. Unfortunately, you put all these elements together of closures, possible already abuse in the home, maybe work, stress, isolation, loneliness, all of this stuff all together. And it kind of creates a ticking time bomb for some of these kids and families, again, which could lead to or abuse, whatever that would look like. Yeah.


So let's talk about how mentally Have you seen and heard from other foster parents? Have foster kids been effective? I mean, Tracy and I can both say that, like there is, you know, the things that all kids, right, there's, I feel like there's different tiers of how kids have been affected. You know, if your kid has comes from a healthy background, a safe background, a great childhood, they may just be affected by that fear being brought up, but not to a certain tear that a foster kid knows what fear is. And so, share with us a little bit mentally, I mean, the different tears that these kids have been affected mentally. Yeah, I mean, just like you said, all ages, and kids were affected mentally by the shutdowns. And some kids thrive from virtual learning. Some kids are just naturally introverts, so they really like that aspect. But I know that it was an educational, physical, social and emotional disservice for the majority of kids in foster care. And it created anxiety, depression, loneliness, loss of motivation, anger, stress, and that was just my family. I'm raising my hand. Yeah. So much, so much. And again, all my kids are different. They all have different stories, and they all were affected differently by the shutdowns in these last two years. One of the things we talked about before and you had said it one a year, like biggest pet peeves to hear is that it's okay children are resilient. Talk to us a little bit about what that statement really means to you, or I struggle with that. I really struggle with that. I feel like yes, some kids can take things in and get through it. But it really depends on the situation that they're in, and their family. But when you add the level of a foster child, where they've had trauma, kids feel that their bodies feel that. So I think some children are perceived as resilient because we tend to distract them with other things. You know, I'm really sorry, you've had a bad day, I'm sorry. You know, this loss is really hard. You know, let's let's go out for ice cream, let's do this or that just to kind of distract a child and I think, unfortunately, people have a 24 hour window mentality when it comes to the emotional and physical side effects of a situation. Rather we're talking about the pandemic or anything. And if okay, we get through this, then they're okay. It's all good. But the, the way that the kids internalize things, and it comes out in different ways, is something that should not be discounted. You can't discount the long term effects and how a child feels regarding a situation. It's just not how trauma works, especially if you're dealing with a trauma with trauma in a pre verbal child, meaning if a trauma happened to a child Old in their pre verbal state stage of life, rather than an older child who can maybe communicate and process things a little differently. Again, I think sometimes we even hide behind resilience for our own peace of mind. You know, we're not we're not we're not really affecting them because they're okay. You know, they'll get through this. They're, they just bounce back. I remember we even had a play therapist for one of our kids that basically said, oh, you know what, this is hard. But kids are resilient. Don't worry about it. I was like, I think we need a new therapist. I, I just don't think that I'm going to feel comfortable relying on resilience, right? Because, again, that's just not how trauma works. Yeah. So I


heard the way that you're describing this, I heard a speaker this this past weekend, Dayton Moore, actually, who's the president of baseball operations for the Royals. And what he was talking about was when our kids have a bad game, a bad day, a bad dance competition and how as parents, our tendency is here, hey, it's okay. And just pick yourself up. But you know, like, not a big deal. It was just this one thing, but to a kid, I loved it the way that you described it, he goes to a kid that bad game, that bad day, that bad competition, whatever it was, was that kids crisis, that kids demotion, that kid's marriage problem, that kids loss of a family, like to them, that's all they know, like that and where they're at, that's where they're at. And so often as adults, we're so far ahead, knowing that that bad game is not going to ideal, not a good see the bigger picture and very hard for, but have that view, but it changes when you look at that and, and I My daughters are in gymnastics. So when they're disappointed with the results, if I look at through the lens of going, this is her not getting the promotion she wanted at her job. It's like, that gives me such a different heart and perspective. Yeah, and not just going, it's okay, she'll bounce back. You know, like, and so the way that you were describing that, the fact that when we we do so often right off? Well, kids are resilient. It's just one thing. But for them, it is their crisis, whatever that is. And if it's not discussed, if it's not communicative, not processed, it's just going to come out externally at some points, but then you may not be able to correlate it to it. Yep. And that's my big struggle with a lot of different things. Again, I podcast number 42. Yeah. Let's touch on another topic that we had talked about stress on marriages. Oh, you didn't have any stress in our marriages. Potential. Application I heard that. I get I get oh, that was that was pretty good. I know, obviously, all all struggled in different ways. You know, some blessings have come out of having a spouse have more that did travel or that worked too much and was able to be in family life. There's just, there's good and bad on both sides. But obviously, that is another level in layer, which I would like to honor that you and Jeremy have done an amazing job through all many levels of stress. We like each other. Yes. Win. But touch on that a little bit. Because you do you're in a community of a lot of other foster and adoptive parents. And that community is why we're here like you want to speak to them. So talk a little bit about what you know in how this pandemic affected relationship thankfully, we have found a tribe of people that we know that we can really speak the ugly with because we realize there's certain people we can and certain people we can't and certain community that really truly empathizes what we struggle with and deal with and feel and and that includes marriages, you know, marriage in the foster care system. It's so broken and you're dealing with so many different levels of emotions. It's just a roller coaster. It's hard pre pandemic, and then you add all of these different elements to it. And I know one family in particular, that the weight just got too heavy and it was too much. Kids were home all the time, lots of stress, lots of behaviors. You know, I can't speak specifically for them regarding all of the added stress. But I know that they ended up separating and then the foster kids had to be split up in back into the for foster homes were had to be found for And, and that's just more change and more upheaval and more stress and more trauma. And so in no fault, necessarily the foster family, it's just all of this, the side effects of what we have seen and felt over these past two years. So yes, it's very, very hard on marriage, we've definitely had our struggles for sure. Again, another podcast. So


Well, let's talk about one more hot button, I would say, but also, like, This podcast is about awareness. And we're talking about some awareness in, you're shedding light on something that I maybe hadn't considered prior to the pandemic. And the pandemic has brought out a lot of divisive. Well, not only did we have a pandemic, but we've also had some major cultural incidences. Yeah, right, that has spurred a lot of division in communities, specifically, race communities. And so there's something in particular that you have a different perspective of when something in particular is talked about. Tell us a little bit about that? Well, it's, you know, it started being communicated through school and culture regarding the discussion of white privilege, which really led to more division among our country. But as a foster parent, I will be honest, and say that four out of the five children I have had in my home to foster care have been white children. So it's a hard concept for a foster child to wrap their head around when they've been through hell and back in the system, only to be told by culture that they have white privilege, because of the color of their skin. They are privileged. And I would like someone to look at them and define privilege to that child. You know, I've some of my children, their world was turned upside down and no fault of their own. What were they privileged? Because they got to fend for themselves at an early age? What are their privileged because they're on with benefits? Are they privileged because they bounced home to home? And I've never felt comfortable calling someone Mom and Dad? Are they privileged because they got adopted? So much trauma? And to tell a child in foster care who is white, that they are privileged? Is such a blow? Yeah, yeah. And I don't think that that's being talked about at all. Yeah, and I mean, that's just one of the many. I mean, I feel like we've covered a lot of those topics lately, you know, and we did say, I mean, we could have 45 podcasts out of just a short little time that we've had together. But I appreciate you bringing that to attention. And I know that listeners who are here, listening to you and your story in your family, are grateful that you are willing to speak into that. And you said it, I think when you began this, but you've always had a voice have been advocating for these children and, and not just your own but the community and people need that you in the foster community, adoptive, you know, family community, like you play a huge part in that. And you're using your voice to speak into some of these things that have come out negatively, you know, and again, you had said it before, like, yes, there's a lot of hardships, there's a lot, you know, we're not trying to show both, just like the highlight reel, or the bad parts, we want to show the realness and I think that's what you've done for your community. Especially here today. Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me. And it's sitting in a closet


with us to all of our Yes, I went it's a girlfriend you borrow something? What's size do you wear I have now great yeah, I love this. You need a mini fridge where it's like


she's gone. Okay. That I have now. person why don't we do this before? Well, again, thank you for being you. And not being afraid to say the real and you know, as we love and adore you. And we know that our listeners will once they hear this by you sharing your stories, your kids stories of how, how unlikely it all came about. And it's going to get people to think and to ask more questions. And if anything to be an advocate for another foster or adoptive family that they may know. And maybe even just check on them and say, Hey, alright, I heard some of this. Is this how you're feeling? And hopefully that's What we can inspire others to do? Yeah, and we will be sharing Stephanie's contact through our Instagram and our Facebook page. So please feel free to connect with her if you would like to. Thank you housewives housewives and we will talk to you again soon. Whether we made you laugh or cry today, we pray you feel appreciated, older and braver than yesterday, stronger and more faithful for tomorrow, but living in who you were made to be today. Join our online community on Facebook, find our link in the show notes. Be sure to review and subscribe on Apple podcasts or wherever you enjoy listening. Until next time, housewives we give you permission to walk confidently freely. Be intentional in your slippers or stilettos.

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