In this episode we visited with former foster youth and adult adoptee, Mercedes Russaw. Mercedes entered foster care at a young age and was adopted by her foster mom. She discusses the desire she had as a young adult to explore her biological family relationships and talks about the dynamics of how that impacted her relationship with her adoptive mom. With beautiful faith and clarity, Mercedes talks about the role her relationship with God has played in her understanding of her relationship with both of these important women in her life.
We are then joined by writer and foster and adoptive dad, Johnston Moore, who is the Founder and Executive Director of Home Forever. While Johnston and his wife Terri have come to be strong advocates for building relationships with biological family members of kids that have come into their home, they didn’t always feel that way. Johnston shares about his journey to understand the importance of these relationships and how God has used this in amazing ways.
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!
“I would say to adoptive mothers or fathers, don’t let that fear of your child digging into their past stop you from walking through that process with them because they need you there with them. They need you.”
Mercedes Russaw, former foster youth and adult adoptee
Here are the resources and/or organizations mentioned in this episode:
Home Forever, Richmond, VA (Home Forever): home-4-ever.org
To see the video of Johnston Moore’s talk at the CAFO National Foster Care Initiative Symposium that was used for this podcast, click here.
Free Download: Seven Insights about Foster Care from Those Who’ve Been There
Meet Our Guests
Mercedes entered the foster care system at two-years-old and was eventually adopted by her foster mom. Now a mom herself, Mercedes loves goofing around with her middle school son and enjoys listening to people and encouraging them to pursue their dreams. She is an active member of One Community Church where she co-leads the nursery team and is a part of the Missions team. She also has the privilege of leading a small group of women who attend church and serve the community together (and have a ton of fun). She loves taking things apart and fixing them. She is crazy about chocolate, bacon, the color purple, books, singing, writing and all things musical & creative. Mercedes is an IT professional and currently lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
John has been married to Terri since 1988. They have seven children, all of whom were adopted through the Los Angeles County foster care system. John enjoyed a career in Hollywood in film/tv production and as a screenwriter before becoming fully immersed in adoption and foster care ministry, first through his employment at Hope for Orphans, and now through Home Forever. One of the writers of the recent feature movie CAMP, John continues to write, mainly on issues related to adoption and foster care. John is a nationally-recognized speaker on adoption and foster care issues. He and his family (and former church) were featured on CBS’s A Home for the Holidays in December 2012, John and his sons appeared on the Dr. Phil Show in October 2012, and John appeared on the series “Raising Whitley” (Oprah Winfrey Network) in March 2014. John and his family reside in the Richmond, VA area.
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.