Building Resiliencies in Teens

By Angela Quijada

A Foster Care Alum

How do you feel about your resilience? Can you look back and see how mentors and other adults in your life helped you build your resilience? Now consider how a child in foster care may struggle to develop the level of resilience they need to lead confident adult lives.  Today's article is written by a foster care alum with words of encouragement for teens in foster care and the adults in their lives. 


This Is Us: and the Depiction of Foster Care on Television

By Jordan Upton


NBC’s hit show “This Is Us” brings experiences of adoption and foster care to mainstream audiences. The show has been praised for its accurate portrayal of the issues from many perspectives - adoptive parents, adopted children, foster parents, children in foster care, and the parents whose children are taken from them and placed into foster care.

In the first episode, the viewer is introduced to Jack and Rebecca, who are expecting triplets. When one child is stillborn, the couple finds out that another baby had been surrendered at the hospital that very day. They see it as a sign they are meant to adopt the baby and still have three children, triplets celebrating the same birthday. Viewers follow Jack and Rebecca’s storyline as they become Randall’s adoptive parents. Their trials aren’t sugar-coated for easy consumption, but show “real tensions that exist”, says Jason Weber of the nonprofit Christian Alliance for Orphans. Early on, Rebecca explains her struggles connecting with their adopted son by saying, “I grew the other two inside of me; he feels like a stranger.” The honesty in these scenes draws emotional responses from viewers.

Randall’s storyline as an adopted son doesn’t shy away from his inner struggles between fully accepting and being loyal to his adopted family, and his quest to find his biological family.

In season two, the show begins to tackle experiences of foster care. The show highlights Randall and his wife’s arguments, hesitations, and ultimate decision to foster in a way that reflects real life. Viewers are introduced to their first foster daughter, Deja, and see flashbacks of her story: multiple foster homes, carrying her only belongings from place to place in a trash bag, abuse from former foster parents. These scenes are heartbreaking and even more tragic because of their accuracy. 

It Is Okay To Be Angry

By Michael Olivieri


Foster Focus Magazine

Have you ever been angry and had someone tell you to just stop it? How did that make you feel? Did it work? Many children that come to us through the foster system have good reason to be angry, but that doesn't mean the way they show the anger is acceptable.  How would you have felt if instead of being told to stop how you feel, you had been taught how to direct or use your anger in a healthy way?  Meet Michael Olivieri, and the story that is his to share.  


The Opioid Crisis: Causing Thousands of Children to be Left in the Foster Care System

By Jordan Upton


The opioid crisis has been ravishing communities for years and continues to build. CNN reported that in 2016 more than 63,000 overdosed on opioids, which is an umbrella term for prescription medications such as oxycodone and hydrocodone, as well as synthetic or modified painkillers such as fentanyl. This number is more than those who died of breast cancer (41,070). These staggering numbers are leaving thousands of young children without families, who ultimately are forced into foster care.

As NPR reported in December of last year, Indiana, for example, had their child welfare agencies strained for resources after they jumped from having 2,500 children in their services in 2014 to over 5,500 in 2017. This is only an example showing one state in the country that is facing this dilemma. And, while the opioid crisis has been labeled as a public health emergency, funds are not being allocated to assist in the areas of child welfare services.

This flooding of children into the foster care and adoption agencies is causing strain on the services themselves, the employees, and most importantly, the children who are put into these unfortunate circumstances. 

Blanket Buddies

Clarice Holland, Marlene Thomas & Betty Chandler.JPG

Several ladies from the North Raleigh Church of Christ (representing their Keenager’s Group) met at the home of Sharon Anguish in early March to make blankets for AGAPE of NC.  The ladies had a good time of fellowship and working together to complete the blankets.  These blankets will be placed in cinch bags and given to AGAPE for incoming foster children.  We love all our volunteers and all they do for the children in foster care across North Carolina.  Thank you, ladies!  


School and Foster Youth

By Chris Zollner

Foster Focus Magazine


Educators with foster children in their classroom could be faced with extra challenges that without more training leave the teacher, child, and parent frustrated.  As a teacher and foster parent, Chris Zollner speaks with knowledge of the subject and this article from Foster Focus is full of good suggestions and advice.  


Raising Resilient, Compassionate Children

from Fostering Perspectives by Angie Stephenson

insights from the work of Dr. Brene Brown

It's a question all parents ask.  How can I help my children (including foster children) be the best they can be?  And the answer may surprise you; it's you! Or as Joseph Chilton Pearce put it, “We must be what we want our children to become.” Take a moment to read and contemplate this article's parenting advice and with faith and prayer may we all be more resilient and compassionate.  


Is Fear Controlling You?

By The Blessed Momma


Do you want to foster but haven't because you're afraid?  Do you feel called by God to parent a child in need of a stable home but fear holds you back?  Fostering is a big decision and investment in the lives of others and sometimes we feel the tug of fear.  But with God, faith, prayer, community and blog articles like this one, we can overcome the fears that hold us back.  


His Other Mom and Dad and Why We Love Them: His Biological Parents

by The Blessed Momma

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In this article, The Blessed Momma, does a wonderful job with a touchy subject.  As she said, "This is usually the “forbidden” topic…nobody likes to address the messy parts of this journey. The heartbreaking reality of biological parents losing children. But you see, birth parents are a big part of foster care."  We don't often find such honest and touching articles on this aspect of foster care but when we do we want to share it.  


Backpack Blessings

by Beth Storms

Beth became one of AGAPE of NC’s volunteer backpack distributors in late April 2017. She made her initial delivery of our first response backpacks, filled with a few essentials and expressions of love, to the Wake County Department of Social Services last May. In early June, Beth decided she wanted to do more and volunteered to help with recruiting backpack distributors to other NC counties and coordinating the collection of donations. 

Once AGAPE launched its summer backpack donation drive, I worked closely with their staff, learning as I went. It was emotionally overwhelming to experience the generosity of brothers and sisters in Christ as I stood on my long, deep front porch “unwrapping” boxes and bags full of donations from all over the state — then sorting and preparing the items to be re-packed into our AGAPE first response backpacks.


AGAPE requested and received small stuffed animals, coloring/activity books, toothbrushes, toothpaste, washcloths, tissues, blankets, and notecards for children entering the foster care system. From the collection of some items to the sending notes of encouragement, it was apparent that children had also participated in many ways.

As August came to an end, six ladies from the Raleigh Church of Christ joined me and an AGAPE staff member for our first backpack “pack party,” which resulted in 190 backpacks being assembled! We have received monetary donations this Fall to purchase more items and our backpack inventory continues to grow with newly donated items. So, we will be holding another pack party soon.

Gifts to AGAPE’s backpack ministry are truly a blessing to the children who receive them. And it has been a blessing for me to serve with AGAPE of NC again. As I think about what has happened the last 6 months, I sit in awe of Him even more today than yesterday, knowing He orchestrated it all. 

Note: AGAPE thanks the members of the following churches who donated during our backpack donation drive this past summer and since: Biltmore Church of Christ (Asheville, NC); Cary Church of Christ (Cary, NC); Concord Church of Christ (Concord, NC); Deep River Church of Christ (High Point, NC); Hickory Church of Christ (Hickory, NC); Lexington Church of Christ (Lexington, NC); and Brooks Avenue Church of Christ, Lifepointe Church, North Raleigh Church of Christ, and Raleigh Church of Christ (Raleigh, NC). AGAPE expresses appreciation to individual church leaders, AGAPE staff, and volunteers who coordinated the collection, storage, and delivery for our Backpack Ministry! 

Your Children and Foster Children - the Pros and Cons

From The Spruce


This article is an honest look at the pros and cons of fostering and or adopting from foster care. Remembering that the children in the foster care system are usually in state's custody for reasons beyond their control – usually abuse and neglect. These issues have an impact on a child's behavior as well as on their mental state. Being prepared and knowing that these issues can be brought into your foster home is key to a successful transition for the foster child and your own children.



The Heart of a Child

by Kia Carter

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Meet Meredith. She is an amazing 10-year-old girl who loves to sing, dance and help her community. She is also not letting her age dictate what she can do. The Lord has given her the heart to help foster kids and she is not letting her age detour her from doing the work that God has called her to do. Meredith is currently a foster sister to 3 children — ages 4 years, 2 years, and 4 months old. She has seen firsthand that most foster children come into care with very little, usually, a trash bag filled with clothes that are the wrong size, or dirty clothes in bad condition, or at times nothing at all.

So, Meredith decided that she wanted to do something to help foster kids in her community by starting M’s Stand, a lemonade and cookie stand, purchasing items from the proceeds and donating them to AGAPE of NC.

She gets up every Saturday morning to set up and work M’s stand for 4 hours. Her goal is to raise enough money to buy kids in foster care some of the basic items that they need when they come into care — items such as socks, underwear, clothes, and toiletries.

1st Timothy 4:12 says, “Don’t let anyone think less of you because you are young. Be an example to all believers in what you say, in the way you live, in your love, your faith, and your purity.” At 10 years old, Meredith is an example of what it means to take seriously Jesus’ call to all Christians to care for the “least of these.”

To be sure, God has not called each of us to do the same things when it comes to taking care of orphans in their distress, but I do believe that God has called each of us to do something. Meredith is doing her something. What something has God called you to do? 

Young, Single and Adopting

By Focus on the Family Issue Analysts


Millennials are an asset to the foster care system.  This story by Focus on the Family shares the stories of several millennials that are fostering.  One is Rachel Mills, a 23-year-old Minnesotan, who saw the need several years ago and knew she couldn’t ignore it. They write "It didn’t matter to her that she was (and is) unmarried, young enough still to be on her parents’ insurance and without a college degree; she simply “knew that having a very young mom who tried her hardest would always beat having no one,” she tells Citizen."

The number of children in foster care in North Carolina is high.  Don't think that being a millennial means you can't foster, because you may be just the one a child in foster care needs! 

It Should Just be Called Care

A Story of Foster Care and Adoption

by Erica Asbury 

I was five years old when they left—two boys, both crying. The boys hugged all of us and then got into a car with a woman we did not know. I asked my grandmother when they were coming home. She told me they had a new home with someone else. Although my sister was only three at the time, she says she remembers when they left too. We were all sad for days and days and I asked for them every morning...only to be told they were with their new family.


I had heard the term “foster mother” many, many times, but being so young I didn’t really understand it. And this experience left me confused. After all, those boys called my grandmother “Grandmommy” just like I did. I eventually realized that although my paternal grandfather had died when I was an infant, my grandmother was full of life and she loved children. There was always another child at her house! We just called them “cousins” growing up.

When I was in first grade my parents told us that my father had been adopted from foster care. There was that term again, but still no explanation (probably because my focus at the time was on what “adopted” meant). I remember feeling sad for my daddy when he showed us a picture of a woman he said was his birth mom. She had dropped him off and never came back.

Any child hearing that story might feel sad; however, my dad was very upbeat as he told us. He was three months old when he went into foster care and was adopted by my grandparents when he was twelve years old. He smiled so much when he talked about how lucky he was to be adopted—that my grandparents “fell in love with him and chose him!”

When I was 17, my father sat both my sister and me down to tell us the entire story. He named people we had known throughout our lives and said they are our family through love. We knew my mother was one of 13 kids on her side of our family, but as l child, we were never given an of an official count for the number of siblings my father had. I understood 4 women were his sisters. Also, there was a neighbor who said he was my father’s best friend sometimes or my father’s brother at other times. (My daddy usually called everyone brother.) My aunts and uncles on my father’s side were much older people and they gushed over both me and my sister. There was always a lot of love.

My father then explained his family through biology. Much to our shock, several people in our lives were my father’s actual biological siblings. He had researched and found his biological mother and all her children. For roughly ten years, we had been sitting next to them at barbeques and birthday parties. His birthmother was the lady who, as we complained, stared at us too much.

Despite my father’s positive view, I admitted that it still hurt my 17-year-old heart to hear that all my aunties were foster or adopted. My father closed our candid conversation about his family by begging me and my sister to never talk to our grandmother about it because, as he lovingly reminded us, she was his real mother as far as he was concerned. And as time went on, my father allowed us to ask questions and see his birth certificate and photographs. 

My father was a committed volunteer, serving on both the board that reviewed child placement cases for more than 10 years and on the juvenile justice commission. He also located the 2 boys we remembered moving on from our grandmother’s home many years earlier. We were even able to visit with them as adults.

My dad made us promise to always love matter how they come into our lives. 

Hearing about my father’s gratefulness and witnessing my grandmother’s unconditional love for so many children over the years (from the 1950’s until the later 1970’s), instilled in me the need to also give back.

During the 3rd year of marriage, my husband and I applied for and became foster parents. Our first assignment was a 4-month-old respite placement. We adored him and did not want him to leave. The foster children who followed him into our home were harder to place teens with mental health issues and behavior concerns.

In each case, we actively and lovingly accepted these older foster children until we were forced to decline taking foster children due to health-related issues due to my own pregnancy. Then, many other unexpected life changes also took place, including the death of my beloved father. I relocated to North Carolina 5 years ago and, although I am convinced that I could not do it again, I have thought about returning to foster care every day. I would like to honor my Grandmom Mable for taking in all those children over the years. I would like to honor the memory of my biological grandmother who decided that my dad deserved a life she could not offer him. Most importantly, I would like to honor my own father who, in searching for what he thought he had missed, never lost sight of all the parenting, love and wonderful life he already had received.

I now know many people here in NC who have fostered and/or adopted children and that has increased my yearning to give back. I am now giving my support to the community of bonus parents and caregivers through AGAPE of NC. Foster care was not only the change that made my father’s life better, but it has helped make my life purposeful! 

Book Recommendation: Succeed Because of What You've Been Through

Rhonda Sciortino is a former foster child who emancipated from the child welfare system at age 16. She started in the insurance industry at 15 and started her own retail insurance agency at age 27. She has started organizations to help people and organizations that help abused children and dysfunctional families. Rhonda went from abandonment, abuse, and poverty to joy, peace, and financial prosperity. Rhonda desires to help others use the adversities in their lives as the stepping stones to their successes in every area of life.

Thank you for Salem House

by Kim Scott

Director of AGAPE of NC


In response to the needs of North Carolina’s young adults in the foster care system, AGAPE launched SALEM HOUSE — a home located in the Winston Salem area that caters to an independent living environment for young males (18-21 years old) aging out of foster care. SALEM HOUSE opened to accept young men from all over North Carolina in October.

We recognize the churches who contributed or pledged items/funds as a congregation or whose members made donations individually (Trust us, HE knows your names!):  36th Street Church of Christ, Vienna, WVA Friendly Avenue Church of Christ, Greensboro, NC North Raleigh Church of Christ, Raleigh, NC Raleigh Church of Christ, Raleigh, NC Oak Forest Church of Christ, Goldsboro, NC Roosevelt Drive Church of Christ, Jacksonville, NC

AGAPE cannot thank you enough for your help to get SALEM HOUSE up and running!

The young men who come to live at SALEM HOUSE will be going to school, finding jobs, and building lasting relationships as they transition to independent living. We trust you and others will continue support for the future of SALEM HOUSE and the lasting Change for Life this home will make in the lives of these young men!

...and AGAPE wants to build on this success! Females (18-21 years old) are also aging out of the foster care system in North Carolina and need help in their transition to independent living. So, stay tuned as we plan to open a similar home for young women! 

Teaching Kids Not to Say Bad Words


We have heard several foster parents talk about the challenge of bringing children into their home that use bad language.  There is the challenge to help this child learn appropriate words as well as other children in the home, especially younger ones, not picking up the same habits by repeating what they hear.  This article by Wayne Parker on addresses the challenge with some good advice.