Episode 9

Developing a fostering mindset, part 1

When you’re doing hard things like fostering, developing a healthy mindset is everything.

We’re talking about developing a mindset that will best serve you in your marriage and when you’re fostering.

Understanding how we think is vitally important because our behavior, decisions, reactions and emotions all come from it

  • Personality styles play a huge part in our mindset and our character

Some key mindset and character traits that have served us well.

Now before we get into these, we’ve failed at every single one of these. These are things to focus on, practice and have as goals.


Definition - Process of submitting to someone or a circumstance and being detached from desired outcomes

What holds us back?

  • Wanting control of people or outcomes/situations/expectations

What it looks like in practice

  • Acknowledging the outcomes/expectations that you desire (especially strongly) and that you don’t have control over
  • This is a mindset practice not a checking of the box thing
  • And it’s some of the hardest things we can face when we know it’s causing pain or problems to your child or family
  • But in it, there’s great opportunities to grow into a more surrendered and trusting person of God and practicing relinquishing control


A. bio parents’ influence or behavior that drags stuff out

B. pursuing adoption in a circumstance like COVID delaying things

C. Not having control over mandates like visits, phone calls, etc. that seem to make things worse

D. Where kids go to school

E. Vaccinations

F. A process taking a long long long time

G. Surrendering to hard circumstances such as a child’s behavior


Definition - the quality of being kind and generous.

What holds us back?

  • Our own selfishness
  • Time/ effort/ my own desires/ my picture of what my life is supposed to look like
  • Fear
  • Fear of getting attached
  • Fear of the unknown
  • Fear of failure/ messing someone up/ messing up own family
  • Disappointing others (family members) because it’s not what they want for you.
  • Control
  • Fear-based control of outcomes and feeling out of control when you can’t
  • Staying in control of your life/your picture

What it looks like in practice

  • Acknowledging your specific struggles and working/processing through them
  • Realizing these are personal struggles and choosing to not let them hold you back
  • Fear hates information. Get more and more information from experts and people who’ve done it so you get smarter about stuff
  • Focusing on the need of children, the impact you’re having and finding joy in your generosity

Trust in God

Definition - believe in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of.

What holds us back?

  • Control
  • Fear
  • Weak faith
  • Lack of practicing your faith in the context of doing something hard
  • Not knowing God well enough
  • Your upbringing and experiences with your parents

What it looks like in practice

  • Acknowledging what’s holding back from walking in faith and making a different choice
  • Being okay with not seeing what’s in front of us
  • How many times have we seen God move and we forget?
  • Journal your God moments to build your faith


Your best decisions come from your best thinking and the more you practice, the better decisions you’ll make even in the hardest circumstances.

Join us next month for part 2 of Developing a fostering mindset.

If you enjoy this podcast, rate and review it wherever you listen. It helps other fostering marriages find it.

And follow us on Facebook at Fostering Marriage.

About the Podcast

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Fostering Marriage
Keep your marriage strong when fostering kids

About your hosts

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Joel Fortner

Joel has been married to MaryBeth since 2010 and began the fostering journey in 2019. They have a heart to serve married couples who've chosen the fostering journey. He and MaryBeth have 2 biological kids and 2 foster kids (and 2 dogs) and make their home in middle Tennessee, where Joel serves as a leader and coach with Chris LoCurto and team.
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MaryBeth Fortner