Foster Movement Podcast: Joanna

Listen as Joanna shares the heartbreaking details of losing her mother and the events that led her to foster care at the age of three. Over the years Joanna lived in group homes, with various foster families, and sometimes her biological family. Through each of the more than six placements she had, Joanna was impacted by each of these placements and unfortunately had a few traumatic experiences that profoundly affected her.

Joanna held onto hope that one day she would be able to be reunited with her father and live with him. She shares with us the journey of searching for her father and how that process changed things for her. Her story is a powerful testament to her determination to overcome trauma and hardship.

Then listen with us as Kayla shares some practical tips for parenting children from hard places. She acknowledges the trauma that children carry with them into homes and offers advice and stories to guide caregivers. Kayla brings more than 10 years of fostering and parenting experience to the conversation. Her words offer encouragement to those who are parenting children touched by foster care.

Download the free companion PDF to this series“Seven Insights about Foster Care from Those Who’ve Been There”–and share these types of insights with others in your community!

Key Quote

“I just didn’t really have the support that I think I would have definitely benefited from at that time as a kid. So it was more of just kind of trying to learn how to cope and survive with what I had gone through.”
Joanna Torres

Learn More

Here are the resources and/or organizations mentioned in this episode:

The Foster Journey: Often a Winding Road. Always a Trip

Free Download: Seven Insights about Foster Care from Those Who’ve Been There

Meet Our Guests

Joanna is passionate about kids being placed with families who will provide a safe and loving environment and wants to see new families be recruited, empowered, and equipped to provide for children in foster care. She hopes to help families understand the challenges that children in foster care face.

Joanna now uses her voice and her story to speak to the situations that children in foster care may be facing, but to encourage others to provide space for children to continue healing and growing. She is a founding Board Member of “Orphans and You Matter”, a nonprofit that looks to support and to provide for children who have been orphaned globally. She also works for a Olive Crest as a Program Supervisor for a Transitional Housing Program for foster teens. She works with teenagers who are in high school.

Joanna is a California native who lives in Long Beach with her husband, step-daughter, and two cats. She loves to be creative and spends her time painting, drawing, do-it-yourself projects, or hair and make-up for a wedding. Joanna hopes to write a memoir about her story and eventually publish her story.

Kayla and her husband, Ryan, have 6 children, 4 adopted from foster care. They spent 10 years as foster parents and have learned many of the things they share with families and churches in the trenches. They are co-founders of One Big Happy Home and are considered experts on childhood trauma. Together they have developed training materials and programs for churches, schools, and parents educating them on trauma and its impacts including their online training for churches; Becoming Trauma-Informed: Helping Kids Feel Safe at Church. Kayla is a Trauma-Competent Caregiver and the Executive Directory of Tapestry, a non-profit that supports and equips local churches and families with the tools and resources needed to help the families they serve. The Norths have trained and mentored hundreds of ministry leaders and trainers in the United States and Canada. They are both TBRI Practitioners and speak at churches, conferences, and retreats nationwide. You can hear them on The Empowered Parent Podcast and read their writing onEmpowered to Connect, and at One Big Happy Home. Ryan and Kayla live in Dallas, TX with their 6 children and 2 dogs, Snowcone and Elvis.

Meet Our Hosts

Jason and his wife, Trisha, have been caring for children from U.S. foster care since 2001 and have had the privilege of adopting their five children from foster care. Jason has helped to produce and write several books, bible studies, and other tools all created to serve churches as they care for hurting kids including the newly released children’s book, Farmer Herman and the Flooding Barn (BroadStreet Publishing). Jason writes a regular column for Fostering Families Today magazine and is the host of the Foster Movement Podcast, which highlights the stories of former foster youth and national foster care advocates. Jason serves as the National Director of More Than Enough for the Christian Alliance for Orphans and currently lives in Plano, Texas.

Most teenagers remember the day they got their license, or their sweet 16, or even prom night. For Diego the most prominent day he remembers is In 2002, when he showed up on Bishop Aaron Blake’s steps. Blake stopped Diego at the door and told him to lose any foster care mentality that he has. “You are not a foster child; you are ‘Engrafted’ into my family.” Diego, now a national recording artist, released his second studio album titled “ENGRAFTED” in 2014! Diego is the founder & president of B.I.G Records & Foundation. He and his “Pops,” Bishop Aaron Blake have joined forces and travel the country empowering the local church to create a culture of families prepared to accept the calling of orphan care. Diego lives with his family in the Dallas area.