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September 20, 2022

How to support foster and adoptive families

Answering the Call to Wrap Around Families Who Care for Vulnerable Children

Everyone Can Do Something

Christians are given a command in James 1:27 to care for vulnerable individuals. For Christians, caring for others is not optional. However, God calls His people to follow this calling in different ways based on their unique skills and abilities. While some people answer God’s calling by becoming foster or adoptive parents, there are other ways to get involved. Learning how to support foster and adoptive families is one of those ways.

Wraparound support for foster and adoptive families is a noble and necessary calling. In 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, the Apostle Paul describes the Church as a body. Each member plays a different role. The body could not function if it consisted solely of ears or eyes. Instead, the body requires all parts. 

In the same way, Christians must engage with foster care and adoption in a variety of ways. Foster and adoptive parents need support from people whom God has called to offer their time, talents, and treasures. Additionally, in order to accomplish God’s calling on their lives, support systems need families who are willing to accept help. 

Consider Your Calling

A person’s foster care or adoption journey will not always be linear. Certainly, some individuals support foster and adoptive families before eventually becoming a foster/adoptive family themselves. But there are also individuals who spend seasons of their life in different roles. They may begin with support, then become a licensed foster home for several years, and then transition back to supporting, mentoring, or advocating. A person’s calling may change throughout their life, depending on their season. Regardless of the season, there is always a way to engage with foster care and adoption.

Leverage Your Support

There is a dire need for wraparound support in the foster care and adoption community. Unfortunately, upwards of 50% of new foster families quit within their first year. These families have spent months training to care for children who have experienced trauma. They have prepared their home according to their state’s requirements. Their agency has completed background checks, interviews, and home studies. Then, often due to a lack of support, many foster families burn out. Consider the time, energy, and preparation that may go to waste. For those who are not called to foster or adopt, it is necessary to help encourage and support others who are called to foster or adopt. 

There are over 400,000 children in foster care in the United States. Approximately 117,000 children are available for adoption. Around 20,000 youth age out of foster care each year. These numbers are staggering. It can seem overwhelming to approach foster care and adoption. But when everyone does something, anything is possible. 

Contents

Chapter One

Get Your Church Engaged

Where is the first place a foster or adoptive family looks to for support? Ideally, it would be the Church. However, not enough churches in America are equipped to engage with foster care and adoption. Below, learn how to start a foster/adoptive family ministry and consider the benefits of partnering with others. 

Becoming a Foster/Adoptive Family-Friendly Church

Community is non-negotiable for Christians. Jesus says in Matthew 22:39 that the second greatest commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself.” The support someone would want while facing challenges is the support they should give. Although not everyone is called to foster or adopt, it takes only a moment to imagine one’s life in a different scenario. Not all Christians will foster or adopt, but each one can provide the support they would desire if they were in a foster or adoptive parent’s shoes. 

Thankfully, Christians do not have to be alone in supporting foster or adoptive families. The beauty of the Church is community. Christians can work together as a church community to wrap support around foster and adoptive families. And each person can serve according to their abilities. Like the illustration in 1 Corinthians 12:12-27, a body cannot function if it is composed entirely of eyes or ears. In the same way, support for foster and adoptive families must be diverse.

Maintain a Foster/Adoptive Family Ministry

A reliable foster/adoptive family ministry is one of the best ways Christians can provide support for families caring for vulnerable children. A church may already organically provide support in small ways, but having a system makes the work sustainable. Many churches that start a foster/adoptive family ministry also support vulnerable families, families in crisis, or recently reunified families. This crucial preventative work helps keep children from entering or re-entering foster care. While a church can first look internally for families to support, they should not be afraid to look externally, as well. 

Getting Started

Several organizations nationwide are available to help churches launch a foster/adoptive family ministry. For example, Georgia-based nonprofit Promise686 provides training, resources, and guidance to churches looking to support foster and adoptive families. Similarly, CompaCare is an organization that comes alongside churches to create a faith-based wraparound volunteer system. 

Whether a church partners with an organization to launch a foster/adoptive family ministry or creates one itself, the general process remains the same: adopt a plan, appoint people, and allocate funds. It is also essential that volunteers are committed. Ministries may request volunteers to make a one-year commitment to a family, including at least one action of support each month. 

Impacting Families

Through a collective effort of volunteers and leaders, foster/adoptive family ministries can make a tangible difference. Jolene Haffner currently leads the foster family ministry at Journey Church in Minot, North Dakota. She has seen volunteers support foster families through meals, cleaning, listening with empathy, playing with children, and much more. Jolene is also a former foster parent herself, so she knows the importance of ministries like these. There was not an established system of wraparound care when she fostered, but she remembers how it felt to receive even the simplest kinds of support. Now, she wants to help create that feeling for other families. 

There are countless ways for a church to support foster and adoptive families. CompaCare, which helped launch the ministry at Jolene’s church, urges foster/adoptive families ministries to incorporate at least three types of support each month for a family: something inspirational, something practical, and something relational.

Inspirational support

Inspirational support helps keep a foster/adoptive family’s spirits high. Ted Stackpole, a former foster father and current CompaCare representative, has experienced firsthand the transformational power of foster/adoptive family ministries. One time while fostering, Ted and his family returned from vacation to find that volunteers had written countless letters of encouragement and left them throughout the home. The uplifting notes encouraged them to continue serving vulnerable children. A few days later, on a particularly challenging morning, Ted’s wife came across one of these letters that had been hidden away. The letter included precisely what she needed to hear to press on. 

Practical support

Practical support can be as simple as asking the right questions. Rather than saying, “Let me know if I can bring you a meal,” volunteers can ask, “What’s the toughest meal you need to make this week?” For Ted Stackpole’s family, Wednesday nights were busy as they juggled homework, dinner, and getting ready for Wednesday night church. Volunteers committed to dropping off dinner every Wednesday night. Not only did this support Ted and his wife, but it also showed the children in their home that members of the church cared about them. 

Relational support

Finally, relational support helps prevent isolation among foster/adoptive families. To build relationships with children, volunteers may mentor or tutor children to help them succeed in their personal or academic life. Relational support for foster parents may include asking direct questions, such as, “When was the last time you had a date night?” Ted Stackpole recalls one time that a team of volunteers came to his home to provide respite care. While Ted and his wife were away, the group of volunteers cared for their children and also did laundry, scrubbed toilets and showers, and more. When Ted and his wife returned home, the support was palpable. The team of volunteers supported their family relationally and practically, and the gesture was hugely inspirational.

Understand Trauma and Ask Questions

Jolene Haffner, who leads the foster family ministry at her church in North Dakota, has seen that one of the main reasons people hesitate to volunteer with foster/adoptive family ministries is a fear of the unknown. Working with children from hard places or families dealing with trauma can be daunting. For this reason, training is crucial for volunteers of the foster/adoptive family ministry and general church volunteers. 

Whether in the nursery, children’s church, or youth group, church volunteers have the opportunity to show love to children from hard places. For individuals who interact with children in these settings, it is important to understand the impact of trauma. All children who are in foster care or who have been adopted have experienced loss because they are not with their biological family. The abuse or neglect experienced by children who enter foster care causes additional trauma. 

Trauma can cause children to exhibit behaviors that are challenging for some caregivers. Foster or adoptive parents may be hesitant to attend church if they fear their child will not receive proper support in their class. A great way to support foster and adoptive families is to equip volunteers to care for children who have experienced trauma. Volunteers should be compassionate and understanding. They should welcome guidance from parents about what strategies will work best for their children. This support enables foster and adoptive parents to get plugged into worship, teaching, and fellowship.

Band Together With Other Churches or Agencies

Communication between local churches can lead to greater support for foster and adoptive families. Sometimes, several churches within a region duplicate their efforts because they are unaware of the work others are doing. However, by collaborating, churches can leverage their resources, volunteers’ time, and ideas to make a deeper impact. Partnerships between church ministries can also help to increase the longevity of the work and reduce burnout among staff and volunteers.

A roadblock for some churches that seek to support foster/adoptive families is not knowing how to identify these families. One solution is to contact local foster care or adoption agencies. Churches can build relationships with local agencies and learn more about where and how to find families needing support. Another way to locate foster/adoptive families is to search online for local support groups. A family may likely be interested in a church ministry coming alongside them. Finally, churches can ask within their network or denomination. Finding families to support may require time and effort, but the impact is more than worth it.

Display Christ's Love to Vulnerable Children

For some children in foster care, a foster family may be their first or only introduction to the story of Jesus. Therefore, the church community surrounding that foster family has an opportunity to display God’s love through their acts of service. This support reaches far beyond the present moment. The love that a child experiences from a church community has the potential to shape their entire future. But regardless of the outcome, no act of support is done in vain. Matthew 25:31-40 reminds believers that God sees even the smallest acts of welcoming, feeding, or clothing a stranger. It is written, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

Chapter Two

Practical Ways to Support

Wraparound support is crucial for the well-being of a foster or adoptive family. But sometimes, finding ways to encourage parents or connect with children can be challenging, especially if a foster or adoptive family is hesitant to accept help. Below are fourteen ideas for supporting a foster or adoptive family.

Simple Gestures

While the concept of “support” may conjure up thoughts of meal delivery and babysitting, consider the impact of the small things. Foster and adoptive parents handle unique and challenging scenarios daily. They chose to step into the hard and the messy. Yet far too often, they are ignored or dismissed by people who say, “This is what you signed up for.” One of the best ways to support a foster or adoptive parent is to approach them with an eagerness to listen and learn. 

How to Support Foster and Adoptive Families:
  • Ask what they need. Every family has different needs. Some foster and adoptive families may be hesitant to accept help out of fear of inconveniencing someone. However, other families will be clear about what types of support will help the most.
  • Get to know the child in their home. Caring for foster and adoptive families includes caring for the children in their homes. Getting invested in the life of a child in foster care demonstrates love. And if one day a child in foster care reunites with their biological family, it can be a great source of comfort for their former foster parent to know they can talk to someone about the child they said “goodbye” to.
  • Understand and respect limitations. First, know that foster and adoptive parents have busy schedules. Sometimes, they must say “no” to an activity or invite due to conflicts with appointments or visits. Second, recognize that there are parts of a child’s story that foster or adoptive parents may be unable or unwilling to share. While asking questions is encouraged, be mindful of the steps a foster or adoptive parent will take to protect the child in their home. 
  • Pray. Do not underestimate the power of lifting a foster or adoptive family up in prayer. A great way to support foster and adoptive families is to ask for any specific requests they are willing to share and remind them that they are being prayed for.

Tangible Support

Being part of a foster or adoptive family’s support system may include providing needed items to help the family thrive. For individuals who are interested in supporting a foster or adoptive family through tangible items, consider the following ideas. 

How to Support Foster and Adoptive Families:
  • Bring a meal, goodies, or coffee. Delivering food is an excellent way to support a foster or adoptive family. If the idea of cooking a meal seems daunting, consider simpler ways to help. Donuts and coffee are great alternatives. 
  • Deliver flowers or a card. On challenging days, foster and adoptive parents may need a reminder that things will be okay. Consider leaving a bouquet on a family’s front doorstep. Attach a card or include some chocolate to help them cope with difficult situation.
  • Buy clothing, supplies, and more. Some families welcome a child into their home with very little notice. They may need specific furniture or clothing for a child or sibling group. For individuals wanting to support foster or adoptive families in practical ways, being connected to a foster closet or a family directly can provide the opportunity to purchase the exact needs.
  • Housework and yard work. One of the best ways to support a foster or adoptive family is to help out around their home. Offering to do dishes, wash windows, or mow the lawn can be a huge blessing to families who are juggling so much. 

Seasonal Blessings

Everyone can do something to help foster and adoptive families. For some individuals, supporting a foster or adoptive family periodically in meaningful ways is the best fit. The list below provides ideas for wrapping support foster and adoptive families around specific days, holidays, and seasons. 

How to Support Foster and Adoptive Families:
  • Back-to-School. As children return to school, foster and adoptive families may face challenging days. Communicating with schools and teachers can be exhausting. Children may have difficulty adjusting to a new schedule. Support systems can offer specific services to help families through this time. For example, support systems can help transport children to and from school. They can offer to help with homework or tutoring as a child readjusts. Or, perhaps a foster or adoptive family simply needs a meal dropped off after a hectic first day back at school.
  • Birthdays. A child’s birthday can come with many emotions and behaviors, especially if the child is used to celebrating in a specific way with a biological or former foster family. A great way to support both parents and children is to help plan and carry out a celebration, birthday gift drive, or other ideas to make the child feel special on their birthday.
  • Holidays. From New Year’s Day to Christmas and everything in between, support systems can find ways to celebrate foster and adoptive families during the holidays. For example, a support system taking children for a “Christmas lights drive” can give the parents a few hours of rest while providing the children with a special memory. Watching Christmas movies, baking cookies, or writing cards are additional ways a support system can connect with children. There are also several Christmas crafts that support systems can make and donate to local child-placing organizations. 

Get Invested

While some individuals are equipped to support foster or adoptive families during specific seasons or on certain days, there are several ways for others to get involved long-term. Making a deeper commitment to engage with foster care or adoption can be one of the best ways to support foster and adoptive families.

How to Support Foster and Adoptive Families:
  • Become a certified respite care provider. Be a blessing to foster and adoptive parents by providing respite care for extended durations. Foster care is managed at the state level in the United States, meaning the procedures and policies can vary. Typically, a respite care provider completes training to become certified. Providing respite care can enable foster or adoptive parents to take a much-needed getaway to recharge. 
  • Become a court appointed special advocate (CASA). In the child welfare system, a CASA advocates on behalf of a child or sibling group in foster care. CASAs conduct research, get to know all parties connected to a case, and present an informed recommendation to the judge. When a CASA is assigned to a case, they remain part of the case until everything is resolved. This consistency can be pivotal for a child or sibling group who experiences so much change while in foster care. 
  • Volunteer with a local bridge organization. Throughout the country, bridge organizations are collaborating with child placing agencies, foster parents, adoptive parents, volunteers, and more. Many bridge organizations engage their community by recruiting and training new foster or adoptive families, providing needed resources, such as clothing or furniture, or educating others about how to support foster and adoptive families. Volunteering with organizations doing this work is an excellent way to make an impact. 
Chapter Three

Impacting Multiple Generations

Each person who engages with foster care and adoption has the opportunity to make a lasting impact. Supporting a parent, child, or family unit can have ripple effects. Educating oneself about trauma and prevention influences how one views the child welfare system. These actions can positively impact multiple generations of families. 

Education

Many people intentionally remain uninformed about child welfare, the impacts of trauma, and how to support biological, foster, and adoptive families. There is a false assumption that foster care does not affect everyone, but that could not be further from the truth. There are over 400,000 children in foster care in the United States. These children are in communities throughout the country. They attend school, play at the park, eat at restaurants, and go to stores with their family. Just because someone is unaware of foster care does not mean it does not affect them. Similarly, ignorance is a poor excuse for not engaging with the foster care system. For Christians, ignorance simply cannot be an excuse.

Statistics

Of the 400,000+ children in foster care, approximately 117,000 are legally available for adoption. These children are waiting to be placed with a permanent family. Additionally, over 20,000 youth in foster care will age out of the system. The statistics of homelessness, unemployment, and unexpected pregnancy for this population are grim. However, intervention can change everything. When individuals engage with foster care, through fostering, adopting, or supporting, the stories of children and youth in foster care can change forever. And when a child or teen’s story is changed, so is the story for their children and their children’s children. 

Trauma

While support systems need to know the statistics of foster care, it is also essential for them to understand the impact. Each number is a child, and each child has a story that includes loss. It may also include abuse, neglect, or abandonment. These experiences are traumatic. 

Children who have experienced trauma may require unique parenting or discipline strategies. Foster and adoptive parents or children already in the home may experience secondary trauma. To be an effective part of a support system, individuals must be compassionate and understanding about the impacts of trauma on a child and family. 

Prevention

Christians have the incredible opportunity and responsibility to step up and support vulnerable families. Intervening when a family faces a crisis can mitigate the negative impacts on parents and children. Preventing foster care is one of the most important ways to get involved. This can include donating food or clothing to organizations that partner with vulnerable families, single parents, or women with unexpected pregnancies. Prevention includes getting to know one’s neighbors or the families of children attending a local school or church. Being involved in the lives of others can help prevent isolation, abuse, and children entering foster care. 

Advocacy

Foster care is managed at the state level throughout the United States. One way to engage with foster care is to advocate for change in laws or policy where needed. At a community level, those engaging with foster care can speak up about the needs of foster and adoptive families. On a personal level, support networks can share knowledge with others about trauma, child welfare, behaviors, and so much more. Supportive individuals can advocate for teachers and volunteers to receive training and resources.

Consistency

To impact children and their families for generations to come, support networks must remain consistent. Reliability indicates to a child that they are seen, valued, and loved. And consistency shows a family that their support network is in it for the long haul, even after the excitement of a new placement has passed and daily life becomes more challenging. Consistency is one of the biggest blessings a support system can offer to foster or adoptive families.

Chapter Four

Additional Resources

There are countless ways to support foster and adoptive families. As each person prays about what God has called them to do to engage with foster care and adoption, they can consult the resources below. These resources aim to educate, empower, and equip individuals of all backgrounds to make a difference for children and families. 

Focus on the Family Referrals

Note: 

Referrals to websites not produced by Focus on the Family are for informational purposes only and do not necessarily constitute an endorsement of their content (including what you might find through their links). 

More Information

For more information about Focus on the Family’s foster care and adoption efforts, visit WaitNoMore.org

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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.

Loving Your Spouse Through the Seasons of Marriage - Part 1

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.

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.

Headshot image of Focus on the Family broadcast guest Dr. Patti Giebink

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.

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 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.

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!

Thank you for committing to pray for the pre-born!

Sign up below for your free seven-day prayer guide. This daily guide will help give direction to your prayers for the pro-life movement. We will be praying with you!