No one can walk this journey of foster care alone. They shouldn’t have to either. However, the natural trajectory for foster parents is to at some point find themselves feeling alone and isolated in their unique experiences. They wonder if anyone else around them can fully relate to what they’re walking through and support them in meaningful, understanding ways. Your church has a powerful opportunity to mitigate those feelings of isolation by creating opportunities for foster families to be reminded that they’re not alone by connecting them into meaningful relationships with other foster families. So, why is relational support so crucial for families who are opening their homes to children? How do we as church leaders ensure that foster families never feel alone on their journey? What structures can we put in place to connect them with others who have shared experiences? Are there opportunities to collaborate with other churches, organizations and agencies in our community to expand the opportunity for foster parents to find the relational support they ended? Questions like these, among others, are important ones for us as church leaders to consider as we take steps towards becoming more actively engaged in foster care.
In episode 5 of The Fostering Church Podcast, the Jasons talk with Carly Souza, a foster and adoptive mom and the Director of Fostering Hope at Hope Church in Las Vegas. Carly and her team consistently serve hundreds of foster parents around the city by offering opportunities for them to be together, encourage one another and find the support they need to thrive on their journeys.
Carly beautifully articulates the importance of the relational support pillar in any church-based foster care ministry and provides very practical insights on how to implement similar structures in your own ministry context. After listening to Carly you will walk away feeling encouraged and challenged to take your next best steps towards relationally supporting families in your church and around your community.
“Sometimes we can overcomplicate some things in terms of building out systems and strategies of ministry, but also sometimes it can just be as simple as creating a space for people to be together and know that they are not alone.” -Jason Johnson
Meet Our Guest
Carly Souza was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada and has a passion to see her city come to Christ. She was raised in a Christian home and made the choice to follow Jesus in the 2nd grade. It was during that same time she had a close friend that was adopted into a forever family and Carly has had a heart for adoption ever since. Carly married the love of her life, John, at 23 and she playfully refers to him as her “boyfriend”. Together they have been blessed with seven children (ages 9, 10, 11, 13, 15, 16, & 17), five of which they adopted through the foster care system.
Carly worked in management and new hire training at a Fortune 100 company for seven years before embarking on the exciting adventure of being a stay at home mom. A few years ago God called Carly back into the workforce and she is currently the Director of Fostering Hope at Hope Church in Las Vegas.
Carly is very active in her community and is passionate about recruiting and supporting foster/adoptive families in Las Vegas. She loves to vacation with her family and enjoys going to new places and experiencing different cultures while seeing as much of the world as possible. Carly lives every day of her life in anticipation of meeting her Heavenly Father and hearing those sweet words, “Well done”.
Meet Our Hosts
Jason Weber and his wife, Trisha, have been speaking up on behalf of the marginalized for the past 24 years. Jason has written and helped to produce several books and other tools, including Farmer Herman and the Flooding Barn, a 2018 ECPA Christian Book Award finalist and the newly released Until There’s More Than Enough. Jason writes a regular column for Fostering Families Today magazine and is the host of the More Than Enough Podcast, which highlights the work of national foster care advocates. Jason serves with the Christian Alliance for Orphans and helps lead More Than Enough, a collaborative movement facilitated by the CAFO community. Jason and his family live in Plano, Texas.
Jason Johnson is a writer and speaker who encourages families and equips churches in their foster care and adoption journeys. After 14 years of church-based ministry and church planting, Jason currently serves as the Director of Church Ministry Initiatives with Christian Alliance for Orphans. In his work he speaks and teaches at churches, conferences, forums and workshops on church-based ministry strategies and best practices as well as encouraging families that are in the trenches and those that are considering getting involved. He has authored 3 books: Reframing Foster Care, Everyone Can do Something, and ALL IN Orphan Care and he blogs regularly at www.jasonjohnsonblog.com. Jason and his wife, Emily live in Texas with their daughters.
Suggested Resources for Relational Support Groups: