She’s a Foster Parent, How Do I Support Her? -Jillian Goble #13
What is it like to be a foster care provider? Often we think about the heartache that must come with returning a child to their biological parent… Jillana Goble shares with us the grief and the hope. If you are a foster parent, my hope is you will feel seen in this upcoming episode.
What is it like to be a foster care provider? Often we think about the heartache that must come with returning a child to their biological parent… Jillana Goble shares with us the grief and the hope. If you are a foster parent, my hope is you will feel seen in this upcoming episode. If you love someone who is a foster parent, I hope you will walk away with practical ways you can support them.
Jillana Goble has been a foster mom, biological mom, and adoptive mom—in that order—since 2003. She is a connector and a collaborator who has walked an unlikely path in creating unprecedented relationship with the children who have walked through her front door, their biological families, and with the Oregon Department of Human Services Child Welfare. She founded Embrace Oregon, which is the catalyst for Every Child Oregon, a robust engagement model bridging the community and foster care.
Jillana holds a Masters Degree in Teaching. She is a sought after speaker on various topics around foster care, government/community partnership, adoption, special needs, grief, and hope. She continues to mentor and walk alongside countless foster parents navigating this journey.
Jillana and her husband, Luke, got married in 2000. They have two biological daughters and two sons that they fostered and later adopted. They were also reunited with their first son in foster care after over a decade apart. They are joyfully called “Auntie” & “Papa” by another child in foster care who has lived with them twice.
When not engaging with her family, Jillana enjoys drinking coffee with friends—half filled with cream—at neighborhood coffee shops. Her favorite things include leaning in to engage others’ real deal stories, walking her sweet yet stubborn labradoodle around her city block, and reading in the tub way too late at night.
00:23:22 Why Jillana started Embrace Oregon – Every Child
00:28:05 The Welcome Boxes – a loving gift given to a child who is being processed into the DHS system
00:29:57 What got her first interest in being a foster parent started in Guatemala – this caused her and her husband Luke to ask, “Where are the vulnerable children here (the US)?”
00:32:35 Their first experience in fostering
00:33:52 What happened in Guatemala that caused her and Luke to ask this question
00:35:50 After having biological children and moving to Oregon, what started as purely an informational call ends in fostering a baby who is now her 11 year adopted son
00:36:48 Jillana’s relationship with her 11 year old son’s biological mom – the most transformational relationship she’s ever been a part of
00:38:25 Battling the image of foster parents rescuing a child- Jillana’s book – it feels like the manual of everything you should know before you foster
00:39:35 The grief of fostering
Heavier things in lighter moments – disclosures the children may make
00:46:03 “Signing up for foster care is an invitation to raise your hand and invite heartbreak and suffering into your life.” –
00:45:54 Jillana’s personal experiences with grief
Returning a child to biological mama’s Rehabilitation Center – a feeling that maybe she was losing her ability to hope for a healthy outcome
00:54:07 Fostering is about holding things loosely – hope, expectations of what you would want to happen, what you think should happen, biological parents, foster children
00:56:05 What about the grief of getting attached to this child with the possibility of them returning to their biological parents?
00:59:41 These kids did nothing wrong – they did not cause their situation the word “foster” can be equated with negative words— Jillana on purpose says children in foster care instead
01:04:00 The most common reasons children enter into the foster care system is physical abuse, sexual abuse, psychological abuse, neglect, domestic violence, incarceration of parent, a parent’s drug and alcohol abuse, and untreating of mental illness
01:05:22 The hope would be that a family would have a safety net of support to draw from when they are struggling…that Child Welfare wouldn’t even have to get involved
01:07:10 For some bio parents this can be a terrifying thought to have their child in the system if they themselve had a terrible experience when they were a child
01:08:00 Honoring the humanity of the biological parents
01:12:49 How we can be supportive to a foster parent
What to Say
“I don’t know what it’s like to be a foster parent, but I do know you have a lot on your plate, can I help you with this __(yardwork, a meal, laundry) ____?”
“I don’t know what you’re going through, but I know it’s not just everyday life is normal. I know there are a lot of dynamics going on under the roof of your home.”
“Can I give you a gift card for _____?”
“Would you like to go to coffee with me?”
“Can I come take a walk with you?”
What Not to Say
“Oh, I get it ___(a story of a pet you’ve adopted)___.”
“You’re such an angel.”
“I could never do that, I’d just get way too attached.”
“I can’t believe those kids are in foster care; they’re so clean, polite, or so adorable, or so smart.” as if the word foster is the opposite of these words
“God gives special kids to special people.”
“God will not give you more than you can handle.”
01:31:12 How you can get involved in Embrace Oregon
1:32:42 The Big Reveal Segment
01:35:39 Kathleen’s Wrap Up
If you see someone and they seem to be doing just fine, the kids they are fostering are doing great in Sunday School, or playing with your kids, or just in general being around you, it doesn’t mean that at home it’s not a WHOLE NOTHER BALL GAME.
Please make sure to check in with your friend. Just because on the outside she seems to be holding it all together beautifully, she just might need your help.
Take her to coffee
Offer to do practical things for her: laundry, meals, grocery shop, clean a bathroom
Offer respite care
Offer to transport her other kids to their practices
Offer to be a nonjudgmental listening ear