In today’s episode, Britt talks with Ashley Ensley about fostering and adoption and the roles that these have played within her own family and life. While telling her own story, Ashley shares the ups, downs, ins and outs of what fostering and adoption looked like in her own life as a single woman and part of a married partnership with her own biological kids. Ashley provides insight and takeaways in how the foster system works, including reunification.
Ashley Ensley is a Southwest Missouri native who is married with five kids, two of whom were adopted through the foster care system. As lifelong believers in Jesus, she and her husband, Jeremy, followed the call and fostered for a total of 10 years, opening their home to over 40 children along the way.
In this episode, Britt talks with Ashley about:
-Foster Care and the Foster Care System
-Reunification: the main goal of Fostering and what that looks like
-Adoption and the effects on her life
-The Importance of a Support System within a Family
-The affects of fostering on biological children within the home
-Her experience with fostering teens and misconceptions around fostering teens
Resources & Suggested Ways to Support Foster Families and the Foster System:
-Google your local county & foster care for trainings and resources
-The Karyn Purvis Institute
-Get registered as a Respite Provider for your local Foster Care System to provide Foster Parents breaks
-Provide meals, supplies, donations (clothing, school supplies, etc.) to Foster Families and Foster
“There are always going to be people in your ear that are going to be negative about your dreams, your passions, your desires, and even things that you feel that God has called you to do. And pushing past those can be really hard, especially if it is someone that you really respect and love.” - Ashley Ensley
“Your goal is to help support a family, not really to build your own whenever you go into fostering.” - Ashley Ensley
“I think whenever people who think about foster care, and people who foster, they think ‘Oh, they really have a heart for the kids.’ But it needs to be more than that, it needs to be a heart for their parents as well and there needs to be a willingness to show them the same sort of grace to come alongside them and say ‘How can we model what strong family bonds look like so that we can help you have some sort of better life as well?’” -Britt Nikel Smith
“The system is not set up to break generational trauma. When the things are not fixed at the root, they’re just going to keep growing.” - Ashley Ensley
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Keep cultivating common ground and common grace!