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The Complicated, Beautiful Life of a Foster Mom

The Complicated, Beautiful Life of a Foster Mom

Jessie Gallaher describes the challenges and joys she experienced in adopting five siblings from foster care, and how she has grown in her faith and in her passion for supporting children in foster care.
Original Air Date: May 22, 2019

Excerpt:

Jessie Gallaher: When we first brought the kids home, so many people told us, “Just love on them and time will heal it.” And I didn’t believe that that was true because that’s not the same when you raise a child without any kind of trauma background. You need structure. You need consistency.

Jim Daly: Right.

Jessie: And you need some of those hard conversations to take place. You can’t just love or at least not in that way. You have to love through consistency and structure as well.

End of Excerpt

John Fuller: That’s Jessie Gallaher. And she shares about her beautiful and complicated life as a foster mom and adoptive mom. And this is Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller. Your host is Focus president and author Jim Daly. And Jim, I’ve got to say, we do a lot of radio programs here. This is one I’m really interested in because, as an adoptive dad, I know that a lot of things can go sideways quickly…

Jim: Yeah.

John: …When we bring children into the home that haven’t been with you previously. And it’s a real challenge sometimes.

Jim: It can be. And I think that’s one of the great reasons that we went to air this broadcast today. There’s victories. And then there’s sometimes defeats. And that’s the adventure of adoption, whether it’s through foster or, uh, domestic adoption or international adoption. We’re speaking to everybody. And maybe you’re thinking about it. And that is something that warms my heart. I was that foster child. And, uh, you know, that – that experience was not very good. And I am desperate to beg, cajole, uh, Christian families to consider either foster adoption or at least entering the foster system to be a safe, loving home for these kids temporarily or to be a respite giver, to give the care to the foster family or the adoptive family. Just do the laundry or do something to help them out. We can do this together as a community of believers. The numbers are not that big when you look at the number of churches. We have about 350,000 churches in the United States, more there in Canada. And then we have about 400,000 in the foster system — about 100,000 that are looking for adoptive homes where the parental rights have been terminated. That shapes it up. That’s like one adoption for every three churches. I think that’s manageable.

John: Hmm.

Jim: And think of the families of those churches would come around that one family. We’re going to hear about it today. And again, I’m going to tell you boldly. Our goal is to convince you that this is a call of God (laughter), that you need to be engaged somehow. Kids need loving homes. “No better home,” as one social worker once told me – there are no better homes for these kids than Christian homes. We just need to step up.

John: Hm. Well, May is National Foster Care Awareness Month. That’s one of the reasons we’re talking about that now. And our guest has a heart for these foster children. She and her husband adopted five siblings out of foster care.

Jim: What? John say that again. What?

John: (Laughter) Five kids at once!

Jim: (Laughter)

John: Instant family – and, well, the amazing, challenging stories are going to flow today, I think.

Jim: They really are. Uh, Jessie, it is great to have you. You’ve done this wonderful work, this book, Many Thorns Yet Still Roses – love the title…

Jessie: Thank you.

Jim: …Subtitle being, Breaking The Silence with Our Story of Sibling Group Adoption.

Now, it’s all roses, right?

Jessie: (Laughter) It is not all roses. But I would say that when people want to look at things like adoption in context of only victories or failures…

Jim: Right.

Jessie: …You got to be able to see where a victory is coming through a hardship. And so, one of the things that we learned very early on is that when things seemed to be going more wrong than usual, typically a breakthrough is on the horizon. And so, um, even our first weekend with the kids at home – one of them fell apart and had a very, very, uh, violent meltdown.

Jim: Yeah.

Jessie: And in that, it was able to show us that, wow, this kid’s already thinking we might be trustworthy and willing to start pushing buttons.

John: Hmm.

Jessie: And so, as we were going…

Jim: See. That’s so interesting, though. You got to slow down because people – I mean that really – most parents and most people aren’t used to that. What these kids are saying is, “There have been so many people in my life…”

Jessie: Uh-hm.

Jim: “…That when I push buttons, they back away. It demonstrates they don’t really care about me.”

Jessie: Yeah.

Jim: And that’s true in foster care.

Jessie: I feel like these kiddos – they have already been hurt by someone in their past. And in that scenario, you don’t want to take a risk on trusting someone again and fearing that hurt. And so, if you push those buttons upfront and see if that person stays with you through your intentional worst then they’re going to stick with you when you’re giving your best and sometimes mess up.

John: Hmm.

Jim: Well…

Jessie: And they have to see that to start with.

Jim: And you and your husband have done such a great job with this. That’s why we wanted you on the broadcast. I mean, families struggle in this space. You’ve taken on the challenge. You’ve adopted these five kids. That is huge. Most people are going, “Why? Why did you do that?”

Jessie: (Laughter).

Jim: That would be a rational response. I mean, it’s taking on a big burden. So, let me ask that question that we hear from the listeners screaming through the microphones right now. Why? What motivated you to get involved?

Jessie: So, when I was in elementary school, I had a friend who was in foster care. And we had a very close relationship. And then just one day I came to school, and she was gone. And that was such a hardship for me. And I was – I was still in my home. This girl – she lost her friends and the home she was in and everything else attached to it. And I still don’t know where her life ended up taking her.

Jim: Huh.

Jessie: My husband also had a story in his youth of a child who deserved a better home situation. And so, we both separately knew that adoption would be in our story. But we didn’t know exactly how it would play out. And after getting married and my husband joined the army, God kind of gave us some basic guidance that we thought we were following. But then a door would close here or something new would open here. And it would shift around until we had finally landed on this sibling group of five. And the flyer we saw resembled my husband’s family to himself. And he dropped his head and said, “Oh no. I think God wants us to take all five.” And I thought, “Oh no. I see – I see that, too (laughter).”

Jim: You didn’t say, “Honey, you need to keep praying…”

Jessie: (Laughter).

Jim: “…Because I’m not hearing that from God?”

Jessie: Right? Well, we went through the process knowing we wanted kids who otherwise were less likely to be placed. We wanted older kids in a sibling group because those are the ones that are typically forgotten.

Jim: Give the statistics on that. It’s heart-wrenching.

Jessie: Oh my gosh. When you look at the kids who are over the age of 8, it completely plummets. Their – their likeliness is practically non-existent. It’s almost like a miracle when they are taken in…

Jim: Right.

Jessie: …Versus a baby coming up for adoption. It would be mind-blowing if that child wasn’t selected right away.

Jim: So, think of that. You and your husband purposefully, uh, said to the social worker, I guess, or the caseworker, “We’re looking for this.” And they probably were like, “What?”

Jessie: (Laughter).

Jim: I mean, they don’t get that a lot because…

Jessie: They – she was shocked.

Jim: …They know there’s more problems with the older kids, typically.

Jessie: Right – she was shocked for us. And she was worried for us…

Jim: Right.

Jessie: …All at one time. And so, they want to check to make sure that you’re coming into it with a clear expectation. And the expectation we had was you can’t expect what’s coming. You can’t anticipate it. What you can know is that when you follow with God, He’s going to put steps in place for you. And so whatever obstacles come, there’s going to be a way through. It may not always be what you would anticipate from a healthy home. But there’s going to be something to move through it. And so, for us, we started to feel the push that there are kids here who are susceptible to trafficking and to prostitution and to all kinds of scary things…

Jim: Hmm.

Jessie: …Drugs, alcohol, abuse within foster care. And we wanted to make sure that the kids that we have in our schools, in our communities, in our neighborhoods had better than that. As Americans, we can provide better for our kids who are sitting around scared of what’s around them. And so, the foster care thing wasn’t where we started. But I had gone to a church conference that was talking about trafficking. And I was sad at the number of kids who end up running away from foster care because, as older children, they don’t feel like they belong. And I feel like our kids should belong.

Jim: Jessie, I want to move this along to your particular situation. You did adopt five children.

Jessie: Yes.

Jim: One of the kids, uh, struggles.

Jessie: And that is my oldest son. And what we think is, beneath all of the trauma, there is also some sort of processing hardship. And when you look at that – if there was a child with a special needs in a healthy home, the way that they’re able to gain support and resources is incredible. There’s so much available to them. But when you take a child who’s already struggling with something and compound it with trauma, that kid’s going to have an uphill road to work through. And I can tell you that with my child, uh, Brandon, he was – I mean, like I said, the very first day he was with us, he actually knocked our wall off the hinges. And it was – I had never seen anything like it. He lost his mind because somebody else got a turn on a game.

Jim: Yeah.

Jessie: And so, he was so stuck. And this child – we have worked through so many things with him where he still works through things. But we now have a relationship where he receives the help in working through things. And he has relationships with teachers. And he has friends at school and so many things that were never there before. We still have a long ways to go. But this kid, who was so burdened by his trauma, is now funny and witty. And…

Jim: Boy, to see that blossom.

John: Hmm.

Jessie: Oh, my goodness. I can’t even put words to it. And there, um – there are times where his processing – he’ll say something that – that cracks us up. I mean, just last night, my best friend – her birthday is on Valentine’s Day. So, my son who doesn’t have a girlfriend says, “Uh, Valentine’s Day – it’s such a waste of a day.”

(LAUGHTER)

Jessie: My daughter – my daughter looks at him and says, “But it’s Auntie’s birthday.” And he says, “Oh, every year?”

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: No, every other year, actually. That works out just right.

Jessie: Right? Right? And that’s actually what my best friend said. She said, “I’ll take it. We’ll only count a few of these.” And so, just those moments where he can be funny – and he – it’s – whether he’s intentional or not, he’s in conversation, and he’s participating. And he’s really thriving in a lot of ways.

John: Hm.

Jim: Hm.

Jessie: Two years ago, coming into a school, I already knew, ooh, this teacher’s going to have a bad year. I’m so sorry. And then as the year progresses and they get to know the kids, they see that, oh, you’re not intentionally doing this. There’s just a skill we need to work on here. And they come in alongside and learn to love on our kids in very special ways. I mean, I would say that my son – he is certainly noticed in his school. He stands out. But he’s one of the principal’s favorites. And we know this because the principal goes out of his way…

Jim: Because he visits the principal a lot?

(LAUGHTER)

Jessie: He does. Oh, my goodness! And there are phone calls!

Jim: I may have another thought for you. No, that’s good. I get what you’re saying.

Jessie: Right. And there are phone calls where we can laugh, and we can enjoy. And it’s no longer, “Oh, your kid is being bad.” It’s, “Oh, we got stuck on this. Can you help us with the explanation?”

Jim: Boy, that is good. That doesn’t always happen that way.

Jessie: No.

John: Yeah.

Jessie: No.

Jim: So, you’ve managed that really well.

John: Hmm. Well, we’re talking about the rather messy things that happen in families, which is part of everybody’s story but particularly when you open your heart and bring in some foster kids. And, uh, Jessie Gallaher has written this great book, Many Thorns Yet Still Roses. We’ve got it at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Or call us, if you’d like to learn more about what we’re encouraging you to do. And that is consider how you can help in the foster care system. Our number is 800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Jessie, I really appreciate the dose of reality. And this is what, you know, many of the kids are going to test you because they – they find it difficult to trust…

Jessie: Right.

Jim: …Because they create those bonds. And then they’re broken, of course, their strongest bond being with their biological mom or dad…

Jessie: Right.

Jim: …Or both. And then they’re not there for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, in the system today, a lot of that is drug-related.

Jessie: Yes.

Jim: Opioid abuse has skyrocketed the foster – and overloaded the foster system in some states.

Jessie: Yes.

Jim: So that’s the backdrop. The kids are struggling emotionally.

Jessie: Uh-hm.

Jim: Let me ask you this. In terms of temperament, um, people, especially, I think, people of faith have great intentions. But God has wired you in a certain way.

Jessie: Yes.

Jim: Uh, I would think you and your husband are experiencing this.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: Your husband’s a military man.

Jessie: Uh-hm.

Jim: I think that background, frankly, could be quite advantageous for the foster child in terms of discipline and, uh, boundaries and…

Jessie: Structure.

Jim: …Those kinds of things, the structure that that all brings. Some parents may struggle with this. Speak to that reality of how you wired your temperament and where it can harm and help a foster child.

Jessie: So, I know that when we first brought the kids home, so many people told us, “Just love on them and time will heal it.” And I didn’t believe that that was true because that’s not the same when you raise a child without any kind of trauma background. You need structure. You need consistency.

Jim: Right.

Jessie: And you need some of those hard conversations to take place. You can’t just love or at least not in that way. You have to love through consistency and structure as well. Routines are very important. When you take on a child and you tell them, “Hey, I’m going to adopt you, and I’m going to make you mine.” Well, that’s all good and well. But they’re still going to raid the pantry and hide it in their pillowcases and in the vents and in other spaces because what if it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be? And then as time…

Jim: Right. And it’s born out of fear.

Jessie: Absolutely.

Jim: They fear they’re not going to have enough…

Jessie: Absolutely.

Jim: …Even though your pantry’s full.

Jessie: And the self-reliance – they are trying to figure it out on their own because they don’t know that they can count on someone else. And we all work through that in developing relationships and skills. But we typically work through it with the guide of good relationships. These kids are needing a first place to start. And so, as they’re working through it, I know that, for us, our – my breakthrough moment of – oh my gosh – this consistency, that it feels like it’s boxing me in is now letting them out. And we can live together. This breakthrough story – we were sitting at a McDonald’s and it was a dollar Happy Meal night.

Jim: (Laughter).

Jessie: And I had two of my kiddos on the – the bench across from me. And one of them had to go to the bathroom. So, we stood up to get out. The one who was sitting next to him assumed the kid would step in front. So, he leaned backwards as the kid actually stepped backwards. He fell over the edge of the booth. And he fell and pancaked onto the floor. And it was like a nice slap sound. Right as he hit, the lady who was walking by stepped on his fingers, too.

Jim: Oh.

Jessie: So, this terrible moment for this kid who actually turned and reached for me.

Jim: Uh huh.

Jessie: He reached for me.

Jim: Yeah.

Jessie: He didn’t curl into his fetal position. He didn’t cry in his own pain and misery. He reached for someone to be of help. And so, when so many people start on a journey like this, that breakthrough moment seems so far away because it is a breakthrough. It’s not something that, you know, a couple days in and then this shift is going to happen. You provide consistency and routine.

Jim: Yeah.

Jessie: And you follow through on your words. And over time, as trust develops, they’re going to make a change. And when they do, the door is now open for you to come in even closer.

Jim: It’s such a beautiful story. And I think, even in our own experience, fostering, we’ve seen that. You know, we had one little boy, 2, 3 years old. And he stuttered the first three or four weeks that we had him. And really to Jean’s credit – you know, she worked with him and just assured him and loved on him. And it was, uh – it seemed like a miracle. I mean, I came home one day. And boom, the stuttering was gone. But that’s another beautiful picture of…

Jessie: Right.

Jim: …Just those – those little things that you can do that give them that stability…

Jessie: Right.

Jim: …That security, that comfort. With Brandon, you also had, I think, a Thanksgiving story.

Jessie: (Laughter).

Jim: And I love these stories. And I share – the stories are so critical because people connect with those stories.

Jessie: Right.

Jim: And this can be your story of salvaging a human life…

Jessie: Yeah.

Jim: …In the name of Christ. But what was Brandon’s story at Thanksgiving?

Jessie: So, our Thanksgiving story was a really hard one. We, um – especially in that first year, we had a lot of daily difficulties with Brandon. And on this Thanksgiving, it seemed like it amped up. And it was so hard when we just wanted to have a nice family holiday. And at the end of the night, I spent the time in my closet praying out to God like, “Why is this my life? Why are we here? I’m doing everything I can. I’m following Your lead. Why is this still what our family looks like?” And I didn’t feel an instant response. I didn’t feel an answer. And when I got up the next morning, it was such a moment of, did He walk us into this and just drop us here? Like, was this a joke?

John: Hmm.

Jim: Huh. That’s a fair question.

Jessie: Did we misinterpret it?

Jim: Yeah.

Jessie: So, as I was getting breakfast ready the next morning, I was just feeling so defeated. And Brandon walked up to me unprompted and said, “Hey, Mom. I’m really sorry yesterday went so bad. I wanted it to be a good day.” The fact that he…

Jim: Yeah.

Jessie: …Took responsibility and acknowledged that the day didn’t work out – it was the first time that he’d ever done that. And so, it was a day that got worse that led to him wanting to take a step forward.

Jim: He was beginning to see it and to rationalize it…

Jessie: Right.

Jim: …Think it through.

Jessie: Right.

Jim: That’s a big day!

Jessie: Absolutely. And then it goes to show that I think that him wanting a special holiday contributed to the chaos of the day.

Jim: Yeah.

Jessie: And for a lot of these trauma kiddos, the extra stimulation – at times, it can be hard. And so, it falls on us to walk alongside them even better.

Jim: Yeah. And Jessie, I can’t end today without, um, talking a little bit about you and Jordan and your marriage because this can put a lot of stress on your marriage…

Jessie: Yeah.

Jim: …Especially if you haven’t gone through having children already.

Jessie: Right.

Jim: And I really applaud your courage. I’m like your mom and dad going…

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: …”Really? This is what you want to do?” But I love it because it’s the heart of God.

Jessie: Right.

Jim: And it’s coming out. And you’re risking.

Jessie: Right.

Jim: And that’s the heart of God. And you’re laying it out there for these kids.

Jessie: Right.

Jim: And that is all awesome.

Jessie: (Laughter) I’ll tell you that when we started the process and we were all excited and happy like any new expectant parents – and, oh, we’re going to do sports. And we’re going to braid hair. And we’re going to make messy meals. And the kids came home. And there was a huge curve of, oh, this is what it looks like.

Jim: Right.

Jessie: We needed to adapt to what the reality was. And in those first several months, he and I had never been closer. And it was out of the survival of knowing that you had to lean on your spouse. So, as the kids were like feral cats kind of running around and, “You get this one! I got this one! Where’s this one? Eyes on this one!” and the shuffle that was taking place, I had to count on him. I couldn’t second-guess him. And he didn’t have the time to second-guess me. And then you get into a phase of where it’s still chaotic, and we can’t blame it on the kids. And we can’t blame it on our – like, there’s just – well, who do you start to nitpick at then?

Jim: (Laughter).

Jessie: So, there was a small phase of the nitpicking. And then I think the best thing happens where you start to realize, you know, even when things aren’t tough, you’re here in the trenches with me. You’re the only one…

Jim: Yeah.

Jessie: …Sitting here in the trenches with me, listening and accepting God’s call right alongside. And so, I feel like even when things are chaotic, your relationship can really benefit from being tested in that way.

Jim: I think one of the great challenges we face as the Western culture when it comes to this – and I’m sorry if this offends. And I’m laying it on myself. And I’m still struggling with this. It’s selfishness.

Jessie: Uh-hm.

Jim: Which, when you think of your walk with Christ…

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: …You know, and He says, “I want to make you more like Me.” And you say, “Oh, Lord. I want that. I want to be more like You.” And then He says, “Well, that means you’re going to be selfless.”

Jessie: Mm.

Jim: “Uh, I don’t want that part.”

Jessie: (Laughter) Right.

Jim: I mean, we don’t say it. But it is so true.

John: Mm hmm.

Jessie: Right.

Jim: Are you really willing to lay your life down for somebody? Oh, yeah because that gets me an A plus in spiritual class.

Jessie: Yeah, right.

Jim: But when it really comes down to doing it, it’s hard because we’re selfish creatures.

How – how did you manage your time?

Jessie: (Laughter).

Jim: How did you and Jordan, your husband – where did you get time? You can’t leave these kids with babysitters because they’re ill-equipped.

Jessie: Right. Right.

Jim: So, what do you do?

Jessie: I agree. It is very hard. And you end up – I think that the most precious thing for me is that if someone had asked me, with a very clear image of what this life would have looked like, “Can you handle this?” I don’t think I would have been able to say yes on the front end. But what I do know is that God saw something in me. And He brought it out along the way. And so, those pieces – those pieces that didn’t fit perfectly on the front side – He used my strengths and abilities that I didn’t know I had. He used Jordan’s strengths and abilities that I didn’t know he had (laughter). And as we walked through it, you – you find a new version of yourself.

Jim: Huh.

Jessie: And I think that if someone had asked me how I would have handled some of these circumstances on the front end, I wouldn’t have had the answer on that front end. But I do know that when you care about your kids and you care about following God, you’re going to get creative. And things will start to come into place. I don’t think you need to have all the answers in advance. I don’t think God’s ever promised us the answers in advance. But what he has said is that we need to follow Him.

Jim: Yeah. Jessie, I mean, we have flown through this time together. But I think this last comment is the most important, perhaps. The kids are all, I think, in their teen years now.

Jessie: My youngest is 8 and my oldest is 15.

Jim: OK. So, they’re moving along.

Jessie: Yeah.

Jim: And they’re doing better. That’s what I’m hearing you.

Jessie: Yes. Yes, every one of them.

Jim: And it’s still work. But it – it’s moving in the right direction on a compass.

Jessie: Yes. Yes.

Jim: Maybe not the protractor every day.

(LAUGHTER)

Jessie: Right. My youngest – he – when he first came to us, he was scared to even smile or pout…

Jim: Think of that.

Jessie: …Or make fright facial expressions because it hadn’t really been modeled for him. And he hadn’t been supported in taking those vulnerable risks of showing how you feel. And so, we started off with putting blinders up on both sides of our faces so that he and I could make faces at each other…

Jim: Right.

Jessie: …And build over time. And we’re now – we’re about to hit our five-year mark. And this kid’ll look at me. And he’ll give me a glare, or he’ll give me a frown.

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: He’s learned the facial expressions.

John: It worked.

Jessie: He’ll stick his tongue out at me.

Jim: Good for him.

Jessie: I give him good news. And he lights up.

Jim: Aw. That’s good.

Jessie: And the smile that comes off his face – so all of – every single one of the kids has victories like that…

Jim: Yeah.

Jessie: …Where the things they were stuck with – we’ve moved on. We’re facing new obstacles now.

Jim: Well, I’m sure, as we all are with, uh, teenagers.

(LAUGHTER)

Jessie: Yes. Yes.

Jim: But this is it. When you look at the – the long view…

Jessie: Mm hmm.

Jim: …When you project out there when these kids are in their 30s – man, what an investment into eternity…

Jessie: Yes.

Jim: …That you and Jordan have done. And that really is the reward in your heart.

Jessie: I feel like…

Jim: That you put them on a good path, right?

Jessie: I feel like the most important part for them is to show them that they are loved because, if we can help them to see it, then they can receive it from God, too.

If we let these kids continue to feel unworthy or failures or, unwanted – that’s a forever thing for them. And so, whether they end up becoming neurosurgeons or not, I just want them to know that they are loved. And that has enabled them to achieve skills and abilities that they wouldn’t have without the support.

Jim: Yeah. That is so well said. Jessie, man, this has been so good. You’re speaking to my heart. I’m back at that 9-year-old phase going, “Oh, man.”

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: “That’d be awesome if you would have adopted me.”

(LAUGHTER)

Jim: But it is great that you’re doing this with these kids. And I just cheer you on. I want to give you a chance. Speak to the listener who’s, “OK. Wow. This is interesting.” They’re going to sit down at the dinner table tonight, husband and wife. They’re going to talk about this. Make your pitch.

Jessie: So, I believe that there are many ways to get involved. And, obviously, the top tier would be take in some kids who have a need. And whether that leads to adoption or not…

Jim: So, start with fostering.

Jessie: So, with fostering, when you take kiddos into your home, you are changing their life. And even though it’s scary and hard on the front end, God’s going to walk you through it and there will be blessings in your life because of it. You don’t know what those blessings are in advance because we can’t bargain for it. But you will look back and see where they are. Moving into adoption, that kiddo never has to worry about where they’re going to call home again. There is no better gift that you can give to a child.

Jim: Yes.

Jessie: When you know that there are families who are doing that and you want to see a little bit of what it looks like, I feel like the context has not been spread very easily for us to peek in on what those families go through. You can also pray. That is such a big piece because I feel like when people come together in unity, we can – we can get God’s ear. And even for me, particularly, even if we aren’t getting the prayer we’re asking for, the fact that someone is praying for a solution – they’re now seeing a problem that they hadn’t in advance. And they might be used to answer it in a way that they wouldn’t have if they didn’t sit down to pray alongside you just to begin with.

Jim: So true. I mean, that’s one of the reasons we started Wait No More, which is the program that we’ve been doing now for 11 years. We’ve had over 4,000 families start the adoption process. We don’t know because of – you know, uh, privacy reasons, we don’t know the end result. But we anticipate over 4,000 children have been adopted out of foster care because of that. We’ve expanded that now to encourage people to simply get into the foster system to become that foster parent. And that’s a process. You have to be licensed by the state and all those good things. But like I said at the beginning of the program, uh, they need loving homes for these kids and no better place in a Christian home, in my opinion.

Jessie: I agree.

Jim: And then in addition to that, you can also be that respite-giver. It’s a big word that simply means be the caregiver to the family.

Jessie: Right.

Jim: Bring over the meal. Do the laundry for them.

Jessie: Right.

Jim: Statistics show that it takes about four or five families to wrap around an adoptive family so that they have the best chance of success. Just think of that in your church. Find somebody in your church that has adopted out of foster care.

Jessie: Yeah.

Jim: And be willing to say, “I’ll be that – that supportive family for you.” And here’s the amazing thing with Wait No More, we have this down, it costs $50 to help a child get placed into a loving, Christian home.

John: Hmm.

Jessie: Aw.

Jim: So, if you want to do that along with prayer, support it financially. Help Focus on the Family do all we can do together. Be a part of it. To bring that loving home to a waiting child. And if you can do that, man, we will say blessed are you.

John: Well, do join the team. Support Focus on the Family’s Wait No More effort. Find resources, all sorts of resources, including, of course, Jessie’s book Many Thorns Yet Still Roses. Uh, all of this and more at focusonthefamily.com/broadcast. Or call 1-800, the letter A and the word FAMILY.

Jim: Jessie, again, so good – thank you for being with us. Thank you for what you and Jordan are doing. And God bless those children that you’re helping.

Jessie: Thank you.

John: And if you can send a gift of any amount to Focus on the Family today, either a one-time donation or a recurring contribution to our ministry needs, we’ll say thank you by sending a complimentary copy of Jessie’s wonderful book. On behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team, thanks for listening today to Focus on the Family. I’m John Fuller inviting you back as we once again help you and your family thrive in Christ.

Today's Guests

Many Thorns, Yet Still Roses

Receive Jessie Gallaher's book Many Thorns, Yet Still Roses for your donation of any amount! Your gift will help foster children through our Wait No More Foster Care and Adoption program.

Recent Episodes

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How I Found God Through My Abortion Journey (Part 2 of 2)

Cynthia Wenz shares her incredible testimony of discovering God’s love and forgiveness. As a teenager, Cynthia lived recklessly and strayed away from the Lord. By age 29, she had three abortions, numbing herself from the reality of killing her children. After realizing her mistakes, Cynthia became pro-life and experienced many years of turmoil and grief before undergoing post-abortion recovery. She now advocates for pregnancy resource centers across the nation. (Part 2 of 2)

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How I Found God Through My Abortion Journey (Part 1 of 2)

Cynthia Wenz shares her incredible testimony of discovering God’s love and forgiveness. As a teenager, Cynthia lived recklessly and strayed away from the Lord. By age 29, she had three abortions, numbing herself from the reality of killing her children. After realizing her mistakes, Cynthia became pro-life and experienced many years of turmoil and grief before undergoing post-abortion recovery. She now advocates for pregnancy resource centers across the nation. (Part 1 of 2)

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Embracing Hope and Love After a Loss

Dr. Gary Chapman and Candy McVicar describe the grief process and offer practical help & comfort to couples who have experienced infant loss.

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Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 1

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Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

How a Former Abortion Doctor Became Pro-Life

As an abortion doctor at Planned Parenthood, Dr. Patti Giebink believed she was helping women. Later, she began reading scripture and God gradually changed her heart on the abortion issue. Patti tells the story of her long journey from abortion doctor to pro-life and encourages listeners to share the message of life with compassion.

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Mrs. Patti Giebink

Dr. Patti Giebink is an OB-GYN who serves on the board of the Alpha Center, a well-known pregnancy center located in Sioux Falls, S.D. She also travels intermittently to work in mission hospitals in Pakistan and other countries. After completing her medical training, Dr. Giebink worked for Planned Parenthood from 1995-1997, during which she was the only abortion-provider in the state of South Dakota. She eventually experienced a radical change of heart on the issue of abortion after receiving God’s grace, forgiveness, and love, and she is now a passionate advocate for the pro-life movement.

Cover image of the book "Unexpected Choice: An Abortion Doctor’s Journey to Pro-Life"

Unexpected Choice: An Abortion Doctor’s Journey to Pro-Life

Unexpected Choice is told from the perspective of a doctor who actually performed abortions through Planned Parenthood. The book chronicles her journey from being a pro-choice physician to someone speaking on behalf of the pro-life movement.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 2

As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism

Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

Cherishing Your Spouse Every Day

Do you love your spouse, or do you truly cherish them? Gary Thomas encourages couples to make a daily effort to go beyond the ‘duty’ of love, and combat the natural inclination to drift apart, by choosing to see the best in their spouse.

Mr. Gary Thomas

Gary Thomas is an international speaker and best-selling, award-winning author whose books include Married SexSacred Marriage and Sacred Parenting. He has also written numerous articles for several prominent national magazines. Gary and his wife, Lisa, reside in Texas and have three children. You can learn more about Gary by visiting his website, www.garythomas.com.

cherish front cover

Friends, Partners, and Lovers: What It Takes to Make Your Marriage Work

“Most marriages survive by gritting teeth and holding on. But marriages can and will not only survive but thrive when husbands and wives learn to cherish one another.” Those are the powerful words of bestselling author Gary Thomas in his newest book–Cherish. And in a world desperate for marriage redemption, it is needed now more than ever. Thomas shows that although there are a countless number of marriages consisting of two people just going through the motions, there are real ways this pattern can be reversed: when husbands and wives learn to cherish one another in proven, loving, and everyday actions and words.

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Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

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Newest Release - Episode 4: Sometimes the Choice is Hard

Hear real life stories of parents who have made the decision to choose life even though the circumstances were overwhelming. You’ll see why “ALL” life is precious to God and why choosing life is always the right decision!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

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Newest Release - Episode 3: The Power of a Picture

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Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

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Newest Release - Episode 5: It’s Going to be Amazing!

After a couple has chosen life, hear the heartwarming stories of children that culture would have cast aside, yet are making tremendous impacts in their communities. Whether the diagnosis was adverse or the circumstances were difficult, these stories will inspire you to come along side of families who have chosen life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

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Newest Release - Episode 6: Families Helping Families!

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Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 2

Jodie Berndt loves to pray for her children. She’s been doing that for the past thirty years. Now she helps other parents to talk to God, asking for the salvation of their kids, and for wisdom, self-discipline, purpose, a future and much more. She offers fun and practical encouragement that moms and dads can put to work immediately in their daily lives as they prepare their children for a life in Christ.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt is a public speaker, a Bible teacher, and the the author of 10 books. Find out more about Jodie and get some free resources (including printable prayer cards and calendars) at her website, jodieberndt.com.

Cover image of Jodie Berndt's book "Praying the Scriptures for Your Children"

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

You will discover how using the Bible to shape your desires and requests opens the door to God’s provision—and frees us from things like worry and fear in our parenting! This expanded edition of the bestseller features updated content on issues like technology and identity, and comes with new material designed to invite children into the family prayer circle. Purchase now and receive 10% off your product.

Effective Habits to Embrace in Parenting

To be an effective parent, you must be a leader in your child’s life, guiding with a gentle hand and setting a solid example. Dr. Randy Schroeder provides the insight you need to be a leader-parent. As he explores the foundational Rs—relationship, routines, responsibilities, and rules—you’ll better understand the role you play in your child’s life. You’ll learn great phrases to employ such as “Either/Or/You Decide” and “When You/Then You”. While there is no perfect parent, this nuts-and-bolts material will equip you to lead your child in a loving, confident manner.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. Randy Schroeder

Dr. Randy Schroeder

Dr. Randy Schroeder has spent more than four decades writing, counseling, speaking, and teaching. For nearly 25 years, he was Vice President of Student Personnel Services, Dean of Students, and a professor of pastoral counseling at Concordia Theological Seminary in Fort Wayne, Ind. He’s also led a successful counseling practice helping individuals, couples, and families to thrive in their lives and relationships.

Cover image of Dr. Randall Schroeder's book "Simple Habits for Effective Parenting"

Simple Habits for Effective Parenting

Effective parenting is now within your grasp! With this inspiring how-to comprehensive book, achieve extraordinary results in raising a child to be self-assured, self-reliant, and responsible! You will be able to successfully lead and lovingly encourage your child toward a Godly life!

The Spiritual Battle for Your Marriage

God designed marriage to reflect His love to the world; and because of this, the enemy wants to destroy God’s beautiful design. Based on his book, Defending Your Marriage, Dr. Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff share about the reality of spiritual warfare against marriages, and how to combat the enemy’s lies with the truth of God. Couples will be encouraged that they’re not alone in the fight for a godly marriage and better equipped to be a shining example for the world around them.

Tim and Noreen Muehlhoff Cropped

Dr. Tim and Mrs. Noreen Muehlhoff

Dr. Tim Muehlhoff is a professor of communication at Biola University in La Mirada, California where he teaches classes in family communication, interpersonal communication, apologetics, gender, and conflict resolution.  Tim and his wife, Noreen, are both on staff with Biola’s Center for Marriage and Relationships  where he is a co-host of The Art of Relationship podcast. 

Defending Your Marriage

Is your marriage under attack? Sometimes it can feel like the world is trying to tear your marriage apart. Internal conflicts or external pressures might make you wonder if something sinister is going on. How can you tell if you’re facing spiritual opposition? And what can you do about it? Tim Muehlhoff provides a straightforward resource for protecting your marriage from the threats of the evil one. He looks at what Scripture says about spiritual warfare and how our everyday struggles have deeper spiritual realities. And he provides practical steps for guarding our marriages with the whole armor of God.

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 1

For those of faith whose passion has waned over time, Kim Meeder will reinspire you in your relationship with Jesus Christ as she tells powerful, true stories about God that will spark renewed joy in your heart and encourage you to share the Gospel with others.

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder and her husband, Troy, are the co-founders of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, a non-profit organization in Bend, Oregon, that rescues abused horses and pairs them with hurting kids for mutual healing. Kim is a popular motivational speaker and the author of a half dozen books including Hope Rising and Bridge Called Hope, which feature inspirational stories from her ranch.

Revival Rising

With enthusiasm that will set ablaze your passion to reach the hurting, Kim Meeder encourages you to let the holy fire of God’s presence fill your heart, soul, mind and strength. As your fear and pride melt away, those around you who are losing their battle for hope will be transformed by encountering His redeeming love in you. This–this is revival rising.

Reigniting Your Passion for Jesus - Part 2

For those of faith whose passion has waned over time, Kim Meeder will reinspire you in your relationship with Jesus Christ as she tells powerful, true stories about God that will spark renewed joy in your heart and encourage you to share the Gospel with others.

Headshot photo of author Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder

Kim Meeder and her husband, Troy, are the co-founders of Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch, a non-profit organization in Bend, Oregon, that rescues abused horses and pairs them with hurting kids for mutual healing. Kim is a popular motivational speaker and the author of a half dozen books including Hope Rising and Bridge Called Hope, which feature inspirational stories from her ranch.

Revival Rising

With enthusiasm that will set ablaze your passion to reach the hurting, Kim Meeder encourages you to let the holy fire of God’s presence fill your heart, soul, mind and strength. As your fear and pride melt away, those around you who are losing their battle for hope will be transformed by encountering His redeeming love in you. This–this is revival rising.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 2

Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

Drawing upon 35 years of experience as a mentor, pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom, Rhonda Stoppe offers encouragement and guidance to women as an author and public speaker. She is popularly known as the “No Regrets Woman,” as she is especially passionate about helping women live life without regrets. Rhonda’s books include Moms Raising Sons to Be MenReal Life Romance, and The Marriage Mentor, which she co-authored with her husband, Steve.

Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage - Part 2

They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lia’s story, you’ll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

Cover image of the book "Marriage Triggers" by Guy and Amber Lia

Marriage Triggers: How You and Your Spouse Can Exchange Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A husband-wife team offers practical advice for married couples to end the cycle of reactionary arguments by examining the most common issues that trigger disagreements and apply God’s Word to radically transform relationships.

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 2

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

Embracing Your Role as a Spouse

As a spouse, you have three roles to play—a friend, a partner, and a lover. On this one-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Pastor Kevin A. Thompson explores those different roles and challenges you to live them out by investing emotionally, physically, and mentally in your relationship. As friends, he suggests we learn to play and laugh together. As partners, he equips us with solid ways to handle conflict and communication. As lovers, he offers some thoughts on how to bring back the sizzle. He shares five keys to saving your marriage: humility, respect, mercy, communication, and resilience. You’ll be encouraged to intentionally invest in your marriage.

Headshot of Kevin Thompson

Pastor Kevin Thompson

Kevin A. Thompson (MDiv, Beeson Divinity School) is lead pastor at Community Bible Church, a growing multi-site church with four locations in western Arkansas. Every year he meets with nearly one hundred couples with a range of needs, from pre-marital counseling to navigating the most serious betrayals. A marriage and parenting conference speaker, he and his wife, Jenny, have two children and live in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He blogs at kevinathompson.com.

Cover image of Kevin Thompson's book "Friends, Partners & Lovers"

Friends, Partners, and Lovers: What It Takes to Make Your Marriage Work

With engaging stories and clear, simple language, pastor Kevin Thompson shows how to live out three distinct roles in marraige. Using solid biblical principles, he helps you and your spouse grow your friendship, be supportive partners through the good times and the bad, and develop a healthy and satisfying sex life.

Sharing Your Faith with Grace and Purpose

You can confidently and lovingly share your faith—you just need to learn some new tactics to do so! In this Focus on the Family Daily Broadcast, apologist Greg Koukl outlines the “Columbo” tactic of asking questions, the “self-defeating argument” tactic to find holes in your opponent’s arguments, and other specific methods for engaging in faith-building conversations with others. Greg pulls from his over 30 years of experience debating atheists and agnostics to help you share your faith with grace and truth.

Mr. Greg Koukl

Greg Koukl is a writer, public speaker and talk show host who’s spent 30 years advocating for and defending the Christian worldview. Greg has written or contributed to 15 books, including The Story of RealityTactics, and Precious Unborn Human Persons. Greg has published nearly 230 articles and has spoken on 80 college and university campuses in the U.S. and abroad.

Tactics front cover

Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions

In a world increasingly indifferent to Christian truth, followers of Christ need to be equipped to communicate with those who do not speak their language or accept their source of authority. In Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition, Gregory Koukl demonstrates how to artfully regain control of conversations, keeping them moving forward in constructive ways through thoughtful diplomacy. You’ll learn how to stop challengers in their tracks and how to turn the tables on questions or provocative statements. Most important, you’ll learn how to get people thinking about Jesus.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 1

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Giving up Sugar, Tasting God's Goodness

As a latchkey kid, Wendy Speake turned to sugar for comfort. Every Friday, she would pedal to the candy show and use her allowance to fill her bag with candy. And one day, when she was older and a mom of three young boys, she came to realize that she was still “pedaling” away from her stress and using sugar as comfort, instead of turning to Jesus. She was joyless, worn out, tired, and in need of a change. In this interview, Wendy will challenge Christians to take 40 days to focus on fasting from something they turn to instead of Jesus for comfort. She invited people to break free from a dependence on sugar and taste the goodness of God.

Author Wendy Speake smiling as she holds up her book "The 40-Day Social Media Fast"

Mrs. Wendy Speake

With a background in Hollywood as a trained actress, Wendy Speake ministers to women as a bible teacher by applying the power of drama, poetry and comedy to the study of Scripture and real-life application of biblical truths. She has co-authored two books with Amber Lia titled Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses and their latest, Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, Say Something New. Wendy is also the co-author (with Kelli Stuart) of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom.

Cover image of the book "The 40-Day Sugar Fast"

The 40-Day Sugar Fast: Where Physical Detox Meets Spiritual Transformation

Welcome to the 40-Day Sugar Fast, a fast that begins with us giving Jesus our sugar and ends with Jesus giving us himself–the only thing that can ever truly satisfy our soul’s deep hunger. On this 40-day journey you’ll learn how to stop fixating on food and other things you use to fill the voids in life and instead fix your eyes on Christ. Anyone who runs to sugar for comfort or a reward, who eats mindlessly or out of boredom, who feels physically and spiritually lethargic, or who struggles with self-control will discover here not only freedom from their cravings but an entirely new appetite for the good things God has for us.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 2

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 2

Debra Fileta has identified the four seasons of marriage that correspond with our natural seasons – spring (new life and new love), summer (things get hot!), fall (showing our true colors), and winter (long days ahead). In this interview, she will help couples better understand the four seasons of healthy relationships, what to expect during each one, and how to carefully navigate them for a stronger marriage.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage.

Love in Every Season: Understanding the Four Stages of a Healthy Relationship

Every relationship goes through four life-changing seasons: Spring. Summer. Fall. Winter. Each season plays an important role in taking your relationship to the next level. And depending on how you navigate each season, your relationship will either flourish and grow, or it will slowly die. Whether you’re single, dating, engaged or married, join licensed professional counselor and relationship expert, Debra Fileta as she takes you on an eye-opening psychological and spiritual journey through the four seasons that she has observed in every healthy relationship.

Reconciling Faith and Science in a Medical Crisis

Dr. Lee Warren is a neurosurgeon who has faced many heavy challenges in his life – from serving in the Iraq War to removing deadly brain tumors to experiencing the loss of a teenage son. He’ll share about his difficult quest to find answers to some of life’s toughest questions, while holding onto his faith in God and the sure hope of heaven

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. W. Lee Warren

Dr. Lee Warren

W. Lee Warren, M.D., is a brain surgeon , inventor, Iraq War veteran, and author of I’ve Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon’s Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know, winner of the Christian Book Award®. His previous book, No Place to Hide, was included on the 2015 U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff’s Recommended Reading List. Dr. Warren has appeared on The 700 Club and the CBS Evening News, and his writings have been featured in Guideposts magazine. His Dr. Lee Warren Podcast, which is heard in more than 60 countries, helps listeners use the power of neuroscience, faith, and common sense to change their lives.

Cover image of Dr. Lee Warren's book "I've Seen the End of You"

I've Seen the End of You: A Neurosurgeon's Look at Faith, Doubt, and the Things We Think We Know

This gripping inspirational memoir grapples with the tension between faith and science—and between death and hope—as a seasoned neurosurgeon faces insurmountable odds and grief both in the office and at home.

Praying Scripture Over Your Child’s Life - Part 1

Jodie Berndt loves to pray for her children. She’s been doing that for the past thirty years. Now she helps other parents to talk to God, asking for the salvation of their kids, and for wisdom, self-discipline, purpose, a future and much more. She offers fun and practical encouragement that moms and dads can put to work immediately in their daily lives as they prepare their children for a life in Christ.

Headshot of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt

Jodie Berndt is a public speaker, a Bible teacher, and the the author of 10 books. Find out more about Jodie and get some free resources (including printable prayer cards and calendars) at her website, jodieberndt.com.

Cover image of Jodie Berndt's book "Praying the Scriptures for Your Children"

Praying the Scriptures Over Your Children

You will discover how using the Bible to shape your desires and requests opens the door to God’s provision—and frees us from things like worry and fear in our parenting! This expanded edition of the bestseller features updated content on issues like technology and identity, and comes with new material designed to invite children into the family prayer circle. Purchase now and receive 10% off your product.

Mothers and Sons: Being a Godly Influence - Part 1

Rhonda Stoppe describes her early motherhood challenges of raising a son, which was intimidating to her. She found help through group of older women mentors. She urges moms to see their role as ministry in shaping sons to be good and godly men. Rhonda outlines several practical suggestions to moms about spiritual training, how to communicate with boys, and supporting the father-son relationship as a wife.

Headshot of Rhonda Stoppe

Rhonda Stoppe

Drawing upon 35 years of experience as a mentor, pastor’s wife, and homeschool mom, Rhonda Stoppe offers encouragement and guidance to women as an author and public speaker. She is popularly known as the “No Regrets Woman,” as she is especially passionate about helping women live life without regrets. Rhonda’s books include Moms Raising Sons to Be MenReal Life Romance, and The Marriage Mentor, which she co-authored with her husband, Steve.

Cover image of Rhonda Stoppe's book "Moms Raising Sons to be Men"

Moms Raising Sons to Be Men

Mothers of boys have the special calling to shape future men of God. Popular speaker Rhonda Stoppe, mom to two sons, knows this opportunity is a challenge, a joy, and probably the most important work of a woman’s life. Drawing from years of experience, this inspirational resource will revive the faithfulness and fortitude a woman needs to partner with God as they shape the character and heart of a future godly man.

Identifying Triggers in Your Marriage Part 1

They were both convinced they had married the wrong person. From almost the very beginning of their marriage, Amber and Guy Lia experienced various tensions and personality clashes related to house cleaning, backseat driving, workaholism, and intimacy. In this two-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Amber and Guy discuss how they bravely faced the triggers head-on, and committed to working on their own relationships with Jesus. As you listen to the Lia’s story, you’ll feel hope that you, too, can see real marriage transformation!

Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

Cover image of the book "Marriage Triggers" by Guy and Amber Lia

Marriage Triggers: How You and Your Spouse Can Exchange Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A husband-wife team offers practical advice for married couples to end the cycle of reactionary arguments by examining the most common issues that trigger disagreements and apply God’s Word to radically transform relationships.

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 1

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

Navigating a Toxic Culture with Your Daughter - Part 1

As a pediatrician, Dr. Meg Meeker has seen thousands of girls come through her office through the years. They struggle with eating issues, sexual identity, social media…and many other challenges in this toxic culture. Dr. Meeker will encourage parents to invest love and time in their daughters and develop their character to give them the best opportunity for a bright future, all rooted in a spiritual foundation. The discussion also includes healthy feminism vs. toxic feminism

Mrs. Meg Meeker

Dr. Meg Meeker is a pediatrician who is widely recognized as one of the country’s leading authorities on parenting, teens and children’s health. With appearances on numerous nationally syndicated radio and TV programs, her popularity as a an expert on key issues confronting families has created a strong following across America. Her work with countless families over the years served as the inspiration behind her best-selling books which include Strong Fathers, Strong DaughtersStrong Mothers, Strong Sons and The Ten Habits of Happy Mothers

Cover image of Dr. Meg Meeker's book "Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture"

Raising a Strong Daughter in a Toxic Culture: 11 Steps to Keep Her Happy, Healthy, and Safe

Meg Meeker has been a pediatrician for more than thirty years, is a mother and a grandmother, and has seen it all. She knows what makes for strong, happy, healthy young women–and what puts our daughters at risk. Combining that experience with her famous common sense, she explains the eleven steps that will help your daughter–whether she’s a toddler or a troubled teen–to achieve her full human potential.

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Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!