Empowering Adoptive Families with Jen Reichert and Becky Wickes [Podcast 029]

Adoptive and foster families often complete tens of hours of required training in order to have a child placed in their family. Foster families continue required training in order to keep their license. However, once a family adopts a child, often they no longer continue training since it isn’t required.

It isn’t uncommon for adoptive families, years after the adoption is final, to experience challenges, failure, and desperation. This is where support is greatly needed. Post-adoptive families need someone to come alongside them to encourage and empower them to finish the race well. Many times it is simply someone who is trauma informed and can reminder the parents of things they learned while in training, maybe years ago.

I met with Jen Reichert, founder of Stand Up Eight, and Becky Wickes, family coach with Stand Up Eight to hear more about their non profit. Stand Up Eight is a non profit program dedicated to empowering post-adoptive families for immediate and lasting change by providing trauma-informed behavior management intervention in their homes.

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Taking A Closer Look at Connection: A TBRI Principle

God created us to connect. If that is true, then why are so many of us terrible at connecting? What many of us don’t realize is that a lot of our ability to connect with others is either enhanced or hindered in the first couple of years of our lives.

The way a parent, especially a mother, interacts with her baby while in utero, the weeks following birth, and throughout the baby months will often come naturally. I think every new parent feels ill-prepared and inadequate when they bring a newborn home. However, all you need to do is watch how people respond when they see a tiny baby. Grown men even will begin babbling in some unknown language as they shower a baby with loving attention. Women line up to take turns holding and rocking the baby. Everyone wants to jump into action to meet every need when the baby cries the slightest whimper.

All of these actions create connection. We now know that this connection creates healthy brain chemistry. Every time a child encounters someone who meets their needs, positive synapses connect across their brain. The child feels safe and can explore their ever expanding world.

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Dad to Dad Interview with Danny Cook [Podcast 028]

Sometimes It Is Obedience Rather than Desire

In this Dad to Dad episode I interview Danny Cook, pastor of Legacy church in Round Rock, Texas. He and his wife, Rachel, have fostered 20 kids over about seven years, adopting one.

I know you will appreciate Danny sharing his story in an authentic, vulnerable, even raw at times, way. Below you can see some summary notes from the interview. Enjoy and please share the link.

Show Notes

  • Danny’s story begins out of obedience.
  • Saying yes to fostering gives you a front row seat to watch life transformation.
  • You do give up some of your life so that a child can find their life.
  • Find out where you can get the motivation to do the hard yet right thing.
  • Danny shares a couple of huge turning points in his journey as a foster dad.
  • How to help men talk about their fears.
  • Danny talks about the joy of working with men who say yes when it is so easy to say no.
  • Danny shares about a ministry that he and Rachel lead called Unshaken that equips and encourages foster and adoptive parents.

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What Is God’s View on Racism?

Black Lives Matter. White Supremacy. Police shootings. Hate crimes. These are phrases that are all too familiar to us now.

I don’t often write about current events choosing to focus more on missional topics like foster care/adoption, non profit work, and missions. But the current state of racial tension in the U.S. impacts how we view a missional life.

I am reminded of a story during WW II about some Christians gathering for worship each Sunday in a church building that sat right next to the railroad tracks. The same tracks that carried train car after train car of Jews on their way to the prison camps, many to their death. The Christians would simply sing louder when they heard the cries from the train cars as they rolled past.

In the same way, we can’t ignore what is happening in our country today. However, I do think that we often take too human of a view of the matter.

We need to understand how God views racism, and respond as He does. That’s what a missional lifestyle is anyway. We see how God, a missionary God interacts with His creation, and we do the same.

No matter where you live in the world, if you pay attention to world news, I imagine that by now you have at least heard about the racial violence that happened in Charlottesville, Virginia, USA.

Over the past several months, if not the past several years, racial tensions that simmered under the surface have erupted out into the open. It is not a pretty sight. In fact, it is quite ugly. For many reasons no doubt, more and more people feel as if they can use violence to communicate their hatred.

I don’t feel anger. I don’t feel confusion. What I feel is a deep-seeded sadness that resembles depression.

Just in case you don’t know this already, I am white, male, in my mid-50s, and hold to morally and fiscally conservative views. I know now that those facts about who I am causes some kind of negative emotion in some of you.

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Life Transformational Bible Study: Interview with Carey Camp [Podcast 027]

Yes, if you caught the last name, Carey is my brother. Over the past few years, he shared several cool stories about a small group of guys that began meeting in his home about five years ago to study God’s word. That grew into three different groups meeting in different homes on different nights.

I asked Carey to share the stories with me on this podcast episode, because I think you will enjoy hearing how and why a group of four guys grew into over 30 without any publicity except word of mouth.

As I say at the beginning of the podcast, our voices sound similar, but I promise you, it is my brother on the interview with me!

In the episode you will hear the following:

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You Are Probably A Worthless Vessel Unless You’re Broken

That is a paradox when you first read it, but it’s true. If you need to carry water, then yes an unbroken vessel is best. But I am talking about you and me. The falsehood that we believe is that we need to be perfect and whole to be of any use to anyone or anything.

The real tragedy happens when we quit or feel unqualified only because we come face to face with our own brokenness. I can’t count the times I felt this over my lifetime.

Just a couple of weeks ago, I limped into the kitchen from my office to announce to my wife that I quit. I went on to bemoan how I wondered why I ever thought that I could be a writer and a podcaster. Nobody wants to hear what I have to say! I am too broken and messed up.

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Why Won’t Your Foster or Adopted Child Look You in the Eyes?

It Might Be the Key to Why They Resist Your Love

My son is just now beginning to look me in the eyes when I talk to him. He is almost seven and has been in our family for six years. Sometimes I gently hold his cheek and ask him to look at me. He seems to try, but he looks at the ceiling, to either side, glances at my eyes for a split second, then quickly looks away.

I feel sadness rather than anger or frustration. My father heart longs for his trust; for him to feel safe with me.

As I said, he is looking into my eyes now more than he ever has, and when he does, I try to hold his eyes for as long as he will let me.

Do you find it hard to look into someone else’s eyes?

To look fully into the eyes of another person takes vulnerable courage. It’s like we can see into the other person’s soul as they pear into ours.

Sometimes the reason a person won’t look you in the eye is they feel guilty or did something wrong. But more often the reason is…FEAR.

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3 Reasons We Need to Encourage Our Missionaries

3 Ways You Can Encourage A Missionary

Living six months in Thailand serving as volunteer missionaries with Danielle allowed me to see firsthand what life is like for many missionaries. Over the years I have had the pleasure of calling missionaries serving all over the world friend. These missionary friends come from different nations, different churches and sending agencies. Yet they all have something in common. They need encouragement.

Son of Encouragement

One of my favorite people in the Bible is Barnabas. His name means “son of encouragement”. Actually that wasn’t his birth name, but he was such an encourager it became his name.

I love this passage in Acts 11 as it’s read in the Message bible. It not only describes Barnabas, but also gives us a great definition of encouragement:

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Dad to Dad Series Introduction [Podcast 026]

Why it Is Important that We Fully Engage as Foster and Adoptive Dads

I am introducing a new podcast series I am calling Dad to Dad. While attending the CAFO (Christian Alliance for Orphans) Summit earlier this year, Amy Holman, who ran the bookstore at the summit, suggested that I create some podcast episodes directed toward other foster and adoptive dads. I loved the idea.

Our wives tend to do a better job of seeking support and encouragement where we men often try to handle it ourselves. We aren’t always comfortable sharing with others, especially when it reveals a perceived weakness or failure.

I hope that the Dad to Dad episodes will give foster and adoptive dads some support, encouragement, and challenge. I also hope that this isn’t just a one way conversation. I want you to dialogue with me, ask me questions, share your stories, even schedule a podcast interview with me.

To kick off this series, after introducing it, I touch on three reasons why I think it is important that we as fathers fully engage and embrace our role.

After you listen, let me hear from you. Also, share the podcast with your friends who are also foster or adoptive dads.

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Your Foster or Adopted Child Needs Space to Heal

6 Ways to Give Your Child Space

Summertime with a son is so much different from when we didn’t have any kids. When it was just Danielle and I , summer wasn’t much different than any other time of the year.

 

That is all different now that we have a six-year-old son. Danielle’s main summer job is thinking of ways to keep a very active boy busy. So we spend days at the swimming pool with friends, going out-of-state on a plane for the first time, vacation bible schools, sports camps, visits to family and friends in other towns. Did I leave anything out?

We easily could have signed our son up for a baseball league, a swim team, a soccer league, and gymnastics. Why not? It’s what American, middle-class families do these days. We don’t want our kids to miss out on anything in life. Or, for me at least, I don’t want to hear those words, “Daddy, I am bored!” Besides what will we post on social media if we don’t do all of it?

The thing is a busy schedule might not be the best thing for your foster or adopted child. Some would say it’s not good for any kid.

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