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Becoming Fosters

Author: Adrian & Britanie Ramirez

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If you are a foster or adopted parent, our hope is that this podcast reminds you that you are not in this alone. I hope you find yourself laughing, crying, and connecting to our guests who are sharing a piece of their journey. Maybe you are someone interested in learning how to become foster parents, partner with those in the throes of foster care, OR maybe you are simply listening to this because you know our guest, welcome! We hope to provide you with deep truth, fill you with compassion, and leave you feeling motivated with practical ways you can impact those in the trenches around you.
24 Episodes
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Worth The Risk

Worth The Risk

2020-10-2250:21

Today, I was able to spend some time with KC Koonce. KC is a wife, a Master’s student, a Department of Human Services employee, and, get this, she is an adoptive and foster momma to 10, you heard that right, 10 kiddos right now. And I would argue, a real life superhero. KC started to feel that tug, you know the one… when she was driving a sibling set to multiple different homes. KC decided in that moment that she knew she would become a foster mom at some point, with the goal of keeping siblings together during their time in care. The stories she shares today are inspiring and uplifting, so grab your coffee, hide in your closet (where I may have been during this recording), hop on that bicycle, or pop in those airpods while you cruz every isle of Target as we listen to KC’s story of Becoming Fosters.
Adoption Regret

Adoption Regret

2020-10-0846:59

Today… we are talking about a pretty ummm… squishy subject… Foster care is the willingness to provide safe space for a child until their biological family is healthy enough to reunite, but the reality is that isn’t the happy ending of all cases. There are times when reunification is no longer a viable option and adoption becoming the case goal. Adoption can be such an incredible part of a family’s story and often is, but just like with anything in life can come with great highs and low lows. We have 3 biological daughters who are 15, 14, and 12, we also have an adopted son who is 2 and an 11month old foster daughter who will become our forever daughter early next year. That is a significant age gap, and to be honest there have been moments with two babies crying in the backseat of my car that I think, “What have I done?” Maybe you have asked yourself that same question when it comes to parenting, biologically, through adoption, or foster care.  But what happens when the roller coaster of parenting and adoption doesn’t start to tick back up the next hill? Today we are talking about adoption regret. I have read a lot about this over the last several weeks and every story is so vastly different. Our guest today has decided to bravely share her adoption regret story. Whether this story is eerily similar to what you are walking through, or maybe vastly different, but you recognize the feelings and emotion, I hope you are encouraged as we listen to this mama share her vulnerable story of adoption regret.
Welcome to Ours

Welcome to Ours

2020-09-1751:14

Today… I  found some time in the chaos of our busy home to steal some moments away with my one and only, the real MVP, Adrian Ramirez. I created this podcast to share stories from foster and adopted parents but was recently asked why we hadn’t shared ours, so today is the day. Adrian and I have been fostering for 6 years, and we don’t know it all, but we have learned a lot along the way. Fun fact, Adrian is an Enneagram 7, I am a dreaded 3. If you know much about enneagrams, you know how much I need him and how much he needs me. So grab some coffee, pop in those earbuds as you listen to our story of Becoming Fosters!
You guys, today’s guest is full of stories that are encouraging, loving, and hilarious. When I first heard about Whitney Hollingsworth, I knew I needed to meet her, she sounded like my type of person. We attempted to connect quite a few times over the last year but something about 10 kids between us, working, wifing, kept us apart. So when it was time to slow down during quarantine we were finally able to find a coordinating time that would work for both of us. Whitney has not only been a foster parent for 9 years but she has a super unique perspective because she has been employed by the Department of Human Services for over a decade, and bonus, adding to her knowledge and lens, her husband is an adoption attorney. He was part of our adoption story with Ford and if he will have us, will be again this fall. So, I am a big fan of this couple. What I love most is, Whitney, never asked a family to do something she wasn’t willing to take on herself and she shared a depth of understanding at work because of her even bigger work, right in her home. So as you drive to work, plop down in your cozy chair, step on the treadmill, or stroll every aisle of Target, lean in as we listen to Whitney’s story of Becoming Fosters.
Go With The Flow

Go With The Flow

2020-07-2948:16

Today’s guest is Shelby Shupe. She is an adoptive mama through foster care. She even has one of those emergency type placements that turns into forever. Those are actually my favorite, seeing as that is how my family was built. Shelby lives over on the west coast, but neither of us realized that until it was about time to record and we were two hours apart. Shelby and her husband dived into foster care prior to having children biologically and have created a dream life, living in the country, but way closer to a beach than me over here in Oklahoma, and raising their tribe. I hope you get comfortable, grab some coffee,  or pop in those earbuds as you stroll every isle of Target, as we listen to Shelby’s story of Becoming Fosters.
Being Foster

Being Foster

2020-07-1450:15

Today I sat down with Tina… Tina and her brother were adopted through foster care as young children. In her earliest years, Tina remembers the reality of foster care and shares how those experiences continue to impact who she is today. She is able to provide insight and encouragement through her experience. Tina didn’t let foster care stifle her story, but she honors it as a piece of who she is and continues to let those pieces of her, uplift those around her.If you are a foster parent, looking into becoming one, or you serve foster kids and families in a different capacity, today’s episode is something you need to lean into. So grab a chair, go for a drive, or pop in your earbuds as we listen to Tina’s story.
Fear Never Served Me

Fear Never Served Me

2020-06-2443:28

Today, Amanda Torres carved out some time to sit down with me to talk. Amanda is a wife, mama to her tribe, and a fellow foster mama, it was so great to spend some time soaking up her story. Amanda and her family actually started the foster process, of course by the prompting of Jesus but with the encouragement of Miranda Seagraves, from episode 16. Miranda needed a babysitter one evening and Amanda said, yes. Even before she opened her home, Amanda’s heart was bent to fill the needs around her. So lean in as we listen to Amanda’s story of Becoming Fosters.
KC Kansas Angels

KC Kansas Angels

2020-06-0443:53

Judy Temaat,  knew she was called to foster care but didn’t feel called to become a foster parent. Instead she took what she knew and helped launch a new chapter of the Angels Organization that started in Austin, TX. The information Judy shares today will get anyone mobilized and provides an exciting and life changing opportunity to get involved in foster care, without opening your home.
A Decade of Change

A Decade of Change

2020-05-1246:51

Miranda Segraves is a biological, adoptive, and foster Mama. Miranda, husband and children have been a foster family for 10 years. If you are a foster family you know the grit and sheer determination it takes to foster, but that hasn’t worn Miranda down or made her shy away. Instead she continues to race towards the need and the children who enter her home and their biological families, for whatever length of time, reap the benefit of knowing Miranda and being loved by her. So grab your coffee, snuggle up in your comfy chair, hop on the treadmill, or pop in those earphones and hide in the closet from the kids, as we listen to Miranda’s story of Becoming Fosters.
Fostering and COVID-19

Fostering and COVID-19

2020-04-2850:271

Today’s episode looks a little different. This is the first ever episode that I have recorded without sitting in the same room with my guest. And the next several will be the same… We are in an incredibly unique time in history. COVID-19 has rocked the entire world and, in its wake, the way we foster. It’s paused court, it’s seemingly halted progressing towards goals, family visits are remote, Zoom and FaceTime are our new best friends for therapy and worker visits… but there is plenty of good happening if we look just past the surface. Today I spent some time with Mandi Mays. You may remember her and her husband Jon from Season 1, Episode 9- Wise, not Safe. Mandi and I are both foster moms, we both work in community focused work, are married to pastors, have lots of kids, and we are friends. We wanted to take some time and just talk candidly about how COVID-19 has impacted us personally, because the reality is, you might need to hear that you aren’t the only one feeling all of the things. So grab your coffee, pop in those headphones, hide in the bathroom, or take a walk around the block while you spend some time with Mandi and me today.
We Worried About Them

We Worried About Them

2020-01-2929:17

Today’s episode is a special one. I was able to steal a few minutes away with the one who made me a Mommy. Leila is 14 years old and a Freshman in High School. I kind of want to throat punch time. She is an incredible big sister to her biological sisters- Landyn, Liviana, her adopted brother- Ford, and over 20 foster siblings. She has been fostering in partnership with us, because it really is a family thing, for almost 4 years. She brings such light wherever she goes and plans on working in the helping field as an adult. She is constantly seeking out ways she can make an impact and I know she is only getting started. I am proud of her always and to see her and her sisters engage in foster care, is truly inspiring. Leila mentions a few times, loss of a child, and as badly as you may want to correct that wording, honestly it is a loss of a sibling that she has come to love. You can find more about that on a previous social media post. So hunker down in your comfy chair, let us join you on your drive to work, or continue strolling through Target as we spend some time with Leila, hearing her story of Becoming Fosters.
Move Up Stream

Move Up Stream

2019-11-2647:32

Today I got to talk with Keith Howard. Keith is not only a foster and adoptive dad, but his reach is impacting foster children all across this state in his role as the CEO of a local agency called Circle of Care. What is unique about Keith and Circle of Care is they didn’t stop at foster care, instead they identified other needs and decided they had the capacity to meet them. Keith became a foster parent in a different way than most and his unique perspective will leave you dreaming about how you can impact those around you.
Throw Me In

Throw Me In

2019-09-0942:11

Today I got to talk with Rochelle Sims. Her husband and her have been foster parents to over 60 children. But she’s not looking for praise, a crown, or even acknowledgement. She simply felt a calling, many years ago and said, YES, and continues to walk in obedience. Rochelle is the President of the Foster Care and Adoptive Association of Oklahoma. Rochelle, advocates and speaks on behalf of thousands of Oklahoma children and foster and adoptive parents and she is invited to sit around many tables with decision makers, making waves for positive change. You will quickly find out through it all her humor has remained in tack. So grab your coffee, hop on the treadmill, or continue your stroll around Target as we listen to Rochelle’s story of Becoming Fosters.
Fostering Sweet Dreams

Fostering Sweet Dreams

2019-08-2738:33

Today, Kristy Payne carved out some time to sit down with me to talk. Kristy is a fellow foster mama who has been in the game WAY longer than me and it was so great spend some time soaking up her story. Kristi recognized a gap in the foster system and dove in head first to meet some of the most basic needs in our community, things like beds. Kristy, is the founder and executive director of an organization called Fostering Sweet Dreams. Fostering Sweet Dreams is a non profit that assists foster parents with tangible needs to be able to take placement of Foster Children in Oklahoma, helps reunify families and supports domestic abuse victims. Kristi will never know the fullness of her impact this side of Heaven. Meeting the needs of foster families in order for the family to take placement, meeting the needs of biological families in order to keep families together, helping victims of domestic violence recreate healthy living situations for their families, honestly, we aren’t just talking about a child having a comfy bed with new sheets but we are talking about generational impact. If you want to get involved please visit fosteringsweetdreams.com or their facebook page.
Soooo… I can’t even with today’s podcast. It is one that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Adrian and I were able to steal a few minutes away with our Nanny and Papa. They are my maternal grandparents and, without a doubt our largest supporters and loudest cheerleaders when it comes to foster care. Nan and Pop would tell you that without question, without a doubt, I am their favorite grand-daughter… and it’s true, I am also their only granddaughter but honestly that is neither here nor there. It was hard work being the oldest and the only girl, ya know? Anyway, Nan and Pop are what Adrian and I strive to be. There is no doubt that they are full of wisdom and experience and my favorite part is I don’t question for a second that they are in constant prayer for all of us. What a cool security to know their prayers are there, even through the days we can muster our own.Just like the rest of our extended family, NaN and Pop were thrown into the world of foster care and they took one look and said, “We’re in! We don’t know what this is going to look like but you can wholeheartedly count on us.” And honestly there are a number of kids it would have been impossible for us to say yes to without Nanny and Papa. Their support made what we have done possible. I hope you are so encouraged over the next several minutes as you listen to my grandparents unexpected but beautiful journey.
Love Does Hard Things

Love Does Hard Things

2019-07-2247:57

Sometimes I wish this was a video podcast, you can’t see the excitement on my face when I talk about our Becoming Fosters guest today. Heather O’Keefe is a Kid’s Pastor in the Kansas City Kansas area. Her heart is pure gold. When we spoke shortly before recording this podcast, I reminded her of some precious word she shared with my youngest daughter when our family was saying goodbye to a sibling set of foster children. This is a phrase that my daughter still remembers and I do as well because we all need the reminder sometimes, “Tears are an overflow of the emotions in our hearts”. Heather always took the best care of my special visitors, I remember one, he was a 10 year old little boy, he had never been to church. I text her when he told me that and that Sunday she had loved on him deeply and provided him with a Kids Bible and candy. Heather loves kids hard and she made the decision to bring that into the most intimate parts of who she is and opened her home to children who need a place to find deep rest and immediate love. When I first heard that she was on this journey my first thought was, “Yep. She’s going to kill it.”  She is brand new to her foster care journey, so she offers a new and fresh perspective to our conversation today. She is currently caring for a little man who was placed in her home just weeks ago. There is something unique and special about your first placement. They are a game changer. They take what you thought you knew, everything you thought you were prepared for and flip it upside down, in the best possible way. So before I take up the whole hour, let me introduce you to Heather with her story of Becoming Fosters.
Wise, Not Safe

Wise, Not Safe

2019-06-1247:28

Today, Adrian and I got to sit down and talk with Jon and Mandi Mays! Jon was one of the first people I met with when I started my position after we moved to Oklahoma City. I was in over my head as I was trying to navigate the partnerships of my organization… hopefully it didn’t show too much that day. HA! Jon scheduled our meeting at a place called Joe’s Addiction. I had no idea what I was walking into but it wasn’t Starbucks or one of the many other coffee shops I had been to for meetings, can we just pause so I can tell you how I’m not a real grownup and only drink cream, um, I mean coffee when I’m at meetings so I can feel like a real adult… Anyway, this coffee shop is impacting the community in a big way, those experiencing homelessness, addiction, and any other brokenness, and honestly isn’t that the rest of us, gather there to drink coffee, eat a sandwich, play games, and do life together. Jon scheduling our meeting there SCREAMED a lot about who he was, and I needed to know more about his family! During that meeting he spoke about Mandi, in the most beautiful way, their love of fostering was clear and I knew I needed to meet her! Months later I started following her on social media and the first post I saw was her mobilizing people to take apart 16 bunk-beds to give to foster families, and she had me! Sitting down with the two of them was a blast, I laughed hard and loud. Mandi and Jon are some of the coolest and I know you will agree..So enough from me! Let’s settle in together as we spend the next several minutes hearing Jon and Mandi’s story of Becoming Fosters.
Be in Sync

Be in Sync

2019-05-2754:00

I cannot tell you how thankful I am to have been able to spend time with Anna this week. Her heart is larger than life and she shared more gold than I was prepared for so get ready! Anna and her husband are pastors of a local church making a huge impact on the children of our city. She is a currently a mama of 8. She is full of grace and strength and speaks deep truth that will surely find its way straight to your heart. The next several minutes will be encouraging and uplifting and you will instantly see how God continues to weave together a beautiful story of redemption and love through the Clement family.You can find Anna on Instagram @annaclementfirstthings and her podcast at podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/the-first-things/id1350864905
Get Too Attached

Get Too Attached

2019-05-0906:09

“I could never do foster care because I’d get too attached.” I get it. Without a doubt, I hear you. And... yes, yes you would.What we shouldn’t do though, is let our fear of becoming attached keep us from diving in head first. What we should do is let our fear of these babies and children not having attachment propel us.Not everyone is called to open their home, but if you are and you are letting fear keep you from moving forward, just take another step. I promise, you won’t regret it.
They Are All In

They Are All In

2019-05-0120:37

3/2/2018- "Before we started foster care we worried about them. We worried how our decision to open our home to children in need would affect them. We worried that our call stole their choice in the matter. Would it hurt them? Would it change them? We wondered if opening their world to such brokenness would wipe away their innocence... Before we started I knew this world, I knew how dirty and messy, how drawn out and full of unanswerable questions it is. I knew the court very well and the laws and saw first hand repeatedly how broken our system is. I knew how fighting back tears in the courtroom felt, a mixture of anger and sadness when bio parents decided not to fight for their children. I also knew how fighting back tears in the courtroom, full of sadness and understanding, felt when a parent was fighting for their babies... could we protect our girls from ALL of that? No. As hard as we try we can't hide all the yuck, some of it, sure... never all of it. It does hurt them. Their hearts ache for what breaks our Father's heart. They long for restoration for these kids, knowing they can't provide it. They love HARD instantly and they grieve after every child leaves because it is a loss to them. An invisible loss of a sibling that no one acknowledges. A pain that they, yes, even at 11, 10 and 9 despise and crave all at the same time. It has changed the girls. It has brought needs right into their world that they are able to meet. It has matured them and teaches them lessons everyday that we could never teach. What better way to live out the gospel then as a family, everyday in the trenches, in our home. So is it worth it? I think this picture speaks louder than any words I can write or any story I could tell. They know the cost is high. They know the journey has no clear answers. They are all in. Which is a pretty cool thing to have a front row seat for if you ask me. (1 year ago today... I will undoubtedly share this every year!) #becomingfosters #worthit
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