Homeschooling and Foster Care | 19

In today’s episode Leslie interviews Joe and Meghan Tucker about homeschooling and foster care. You’ll be encouraged as they share their story in their heart to show Christ’s love to those who so desperately need to see it. This is a great follow up to last week’s episode, Hospitable Homeschooling, which is linked down below!

Leslie (00:00):

Hey there everybody. Welcome to the Homeschooling Family Podcast. Here we discuss just about everything that comes into play when you’re a Christian homeschooling family. I’m Leslie nunnery, and on today’s podcast, I’ll be talking to Joe and Megan Tucker about homeschooling and foster care. You’ll be encouraged as they share their story in their heart to show Christ’s love to those who so desperately need to see it. This is really a great followup to “Hospitable Homeschooling”, which we talked about last week. For God can use your willingness to open your home this way in such incredible ways. I guarantee you’ll be encouraged as the Lord opens your eyes to the needs of others and how you can be part of meeting those needs and pointing them to Jesus. So let’s dive right into our conversation with Joe and Megan.

Leslie (00:52):

Hey there everybody. And welcome back. This weekend, we are going to be looking at another [inaudible] that I think a lot of us have probably considered and prayed about that. But I’m not sure that enough of us have gotten over the hump of fear. So we’re going to be talking to Joe and Megan who are foster parents, and I’m going to just let them introduce themselves to you here for a second. And then we’re going to talk to them about their experience as foster parents and how that has affected their family life, their parenting, their homeschool, and I’m sure even more fingers that they see from this. So, Joe and Megan, thank you so much for joining us.

Joe (01:36):

Yeah, absolutely. It’s our pleasure. Thanks for having us.

Leslie (01:39):

Well, you’re very welcome. Can you guess just a little bit of insight into your family, you know, where are y’all from? How many children you have, how long have you homeschooled? That would be very interesting in this.

Megan (01:51):

Yeah, I am Megan Tucker and we live in the Nashville area. Um we have three boys, sixth grade, third grade and kindergarten. And we’ve been homeschooling for seven years now. Six or seven years. Yeah. And um,

Joe (02:05):

Yeah, I’m Joe and, uh, I also live in the Nashville area.

Leslie (02:10):

[laughs] That’s so nice you live together! That’s a beautiful thing.

Joe (02:14):

Yeah, we, um, we, uh, been married since 2004 and um, yeah, we, uh, homeschooling has been an incredible blessing to our family and um, and to our children,

Leslie (02:29):

How did the Lord first lay on your hearts or put in your minds the idea of fostering and then, you know, kind of where did that, that little spark of thought take you?

Joe (02:41):

We, like so many ways in my life. You know, you, you think that, uh, you know, your plan for things is one way and, uh, and then the Lord shows you otherwise. And that, that has been the case with us for, for foster care. We, we always thought that adoption was going to be part of our story. And adoption has a big place in our family. Meg’s sister, she and her husband have four biological children and then five children that they have either adopted or fostering themselves. And because our children have, uh, have been around that. And we’ve been around that, that’s kind of the road that we thought we were going to go down. And, um, we went through three or four different adoption scenarios through, uh, agencies internationally through private adoptions, internationally,

Megan (03:38):

Even were placed with children. We had a couple of placements. The doors kept closing.

Joe (03:44):

Yeah, the Lord just kept closing those doors. And, and we were heartbroken. We, we didn’t understand what was happening and, um, because our hearts were set on that. And then, um, a movie actually acted as a, as a catalyst. Um, there was a Christian movie that came out a few years ago, called the Drop Box in our small group. Um, we went to go see it together. We’ve hosted a small group in our home for a number of years and it was on the, we all decided we wanted to do. And if you hadn’t seen the movie, it’s a story about a gentleman in Taiwan who started a ministry where the mothers of unwanted children can, can literally drop those. non-AP not actually drop them, can drop them in a drop box at his homes and know that they will be loved and taken care of.

Speaker 3 (04:45):

And that prompted something in us to say, why are we focusing on the needs of people in far away places? Not that that isn’t important, but there are children that are in our community that, that need love. And, uh, and that need families that can provide stability and structure and, and, and all of those things that we take for granted. But there are people in our own communities or small children who are doing without that. So there’s a ministry at our church. It started our church, it’s now its own organization that cares for the children of women who were incarcerated. And we had some friends who were part of that ministry. In fact, our middle son’s best friend was a child who was, uh, cared for through that ministry. And, um, and so that’s, that’s where we wound up.

Leslie (05:37):

Having this conversation is actually affecting me more deeply than I thought. So I’m like over here, choking back tears, hoping my voice doesn’t crack because the needs are so great. And God has given us all so much. Now I’m sure that even though you were familiar and already kind of hardwired towards adding to your family through adoption or through another way like that, I would still think that that looking at foster care, looking at, at caring for these children, there had to be some fears, some concerns, some things that you really had to talk about as a family, what were some of those that you had to address and, and how did the Lord overcome them? And what have you seen of them now that you’re actually walking this road?

Megan (06:24):

Some fears of mine personally were how do you have this baby in your home? And then eventually have to give it back. And, you know, it could be here for three months. It could be here or there’s different placement times. Ours is a longer placement with three or four years. How do we love this baby? But yet remember, Hey, it’s not our baby. We have to give it back to its mom. You know, when she’s better and doing well. Another fear was, Oh, what’s this gonna do to our boys? How is this going to affect them? Is it going to be positive? It’s going to be negative?

Joe (06:55):

Yeah. Yeah. Um, but it’s interesting. I don’t know that it would be fair to say mainly to the first thing that Megan mentioned that we have got, had some epiphany that resolves that, but rather we feel like we are called to love Lily, the little girl, and we’ve had other children. We’ve had seven children in our home over the last two years. Willie’s the longest term placement that we’ve had, but we are called to love Lily in spite of what it may cost us, um, and the pain or, or whatever difficulty we run into. Now, it just so happens that whatever pain there has been has been exponentially outweighed by blessing, but like, like so many other things in life that the Lord calls us to, he doesn’t answer all of our questions before He expects us to step out and take action. And, uh, and so that’s what we are choosing to do.

Joe (07:58):

But as far as our boys go, you know, and please chime in chime in of course, what we hope for our children is, is of course, for them to leave our home loving Lord and, and for them to be able to take care of themselves and be self sufficient and have strong character. But, but I think, right, right in that list, we hope that our children leave here understanding that a life centered around themselves is an incredibly shallow life. And that if all you ever do is what’s comfortable and what you can pretty much guarantee is going to feel good and you don’t give of yourself to others, then you are missing out on the most incredible blessings of this life. Not just those that the Lord gives, but the blessing of relationships with other people. Yeah.

Megan (08:57):

Preach it!

Leslie (09:01):

I want to just a few more practical questions. How does participating in a fostering ministry bringing children into your home? How does it affect how you parent your boys? How does it affect how your homeschool? Just kind of give us a look at practically, how has this affected your family?

Joe (09:21):

I think that, I mean, you are, are, I’m gone most of the time during the days. And so she’s the one in the trenches. So

Megan (09:29):

This particular placement that we’ve had, I was just telling him, I don’t know if it has affected us any differently than it would have biological or biological child. Um, she’s the easiest baby we’ve ever had. She’s much better baby than my own boys, where it has been easy now, knock on wood, you know, whatever the next one is that might be totally different. But this particular thing has been easy. It’s been relatively easy.

Joe (10:00):

I think it’s just a matter of how you approach things. We had a placement early on with a little boy who, um, older use a tool. I say older he’s two, but was raised in an environment with no structure, who came to us with some pretty severe, well that’s relative, but he had some behavioral issues. He was, uh, you know, calling Meg names. He was hitting our children the first week, but all he needed was structure and some discipline, um, not in a negative way, but just like we all crave structure and discipline. And so I think like so many other things in life, it’s just a matter of how you approach it. If you want it to be a problem, chances are it’s going to be a problem if that’s what you’re expecting, but if you’re expecting good things, then usually things turn out. Okay. And, um, so I think that’s been- Now, don’t get me wrong. There are days when I’m at work and I get text messages from Meg. Meg said, I’m done. I can’t do this anymore. You know, but that was true before we, before we had Lily. So I think that’s just part of the reality, not only us being a family that has embraced homeschooling, but just part of parenting. And we have frustrations, we have bad days, that’s just part of the deal.

Leslie (11:18):

Right. And that’s why God put you together so that you can lean on one another during those times. Well, I know that in another video that I saw that your church did, you talked about how your boys were really, really involved in, in how you ministered both to the moms and to the little ones. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Megan (11:40):

Um, when, before we brought Lily home from the hospital, they did not want a girl. They did not want anything pink in the house. They did not want to have two parties. And now they fight over, gets to hold her and who gets to give her a bottle and who gets to take her outside to go play. And, um, they, you know, ask us all the time. When are we, when do we get to go see her mom? They get to go with us to person to visit her mom. And it’s really neat to see the interaction between this sweet woman and our kids who we would have never had any connection here. If it wasn’t for this ministry. I don’t know. It’s interesting to see them pray without us asking for them to pray for her every night before they can pray for ms. Michelle. And I don’t know, it was just really neat to see, definitely kind of teaches you.

Joe (12:33):

And so many times our children and I know this true for every parent say, and do these incredibly profound things that provide you with these moments of clarity. And we have had those over and over again, where if things, uh, we are frustrated or we’ve lost focus and, and, uh, and they say something and it snaps us right back. Um, and that has absolutely been the case in the case here. Um, you know, he’s taking our three young boys to prison on a Friday night. Um, it, I think it has been incredibly beneficial for them to see again, the people right here in our minutes are living it, you know, you see certainly very compelling and, uh, you know, stories about things that are going on in other places we have learned. And it’s given us a whole new empathy about an entirely different culture that exists right here. People experiencing a totally different reality and for our children to be able to see that and see the consequences of decisions, you know, we hope we’ll make an impression, not just in terms of their own behavior, but in fact, that’s secondary. I think, to developing a sense of empathy for people like the, like Lily’s mother who grew up in an unmentionable circumstances, it has certainly given us a new sense of empathy. And I think it has for them too

Leslie (14:07):

Well. Yeah. We haven’t even found with some of the different ministries that we’ve been involved in with some of the mission trips and such that we’ve been able to take that as you’re able to broaden their horizons and large their borders make them aware of needs outside themselves. Just like you talked about before we just, as a people have got to start looking outside of ourselves more, and this is an amazing, real quick before we head out, how, how would you encourage families to kind of start moving if this is grip someone’s heart, like the drop box, gripped yours, start praying about it. What are some practical steps that may be a good kind of research path to go as they are praying about how the Lord would have them proceed with this?

Speaker 3 (14:57):

I want to answer that question, but I want to something you said that I think is really important, and that is about living lives that are outside of ourselves. You know, I think the church is dropping the ball in a lot of ways when it comes to the needs of mothers who make the right decision and bear their children. You know, I think that a lot of people in the church, a lot of believers say that, and this may be a little controversial, but I’m going to say it anyway, because I think it’s true. We say that we’re pro-life. But what we really mean is that we’re pro birth and that the church, and especially, I think men in the church need to be willing to lead their families towards standing in the gap with- for women who have made the right decision. Um, and, and we need to stop talking and we need to start acting right. And, and, and acting doesn’t just mean, uh, being politically involved or pro it means pitching in, standing in the gap. And another thing I’ll say is that these women, most of the time, these mothers have never had a healthy relationship with a man in their lives. They ask questions of the women in these caregiver relationships when the husband isn’t around…

Megan (16:18):

You mean he doesn’t hit you? You mean, Oh, you mean he doesn’t do bad things to your kids? That’s all they know. And it’s eye opening for me going, Ah! We gotta do something here. We gotta, yeah.

Joe (16:31):

There is- to me, this is a burden on my heart that, that men in the church need to lead and they need to, um, they need to, as I said, I don’t mean to be redundant, but we need to step up and stand in the gap and, and stop talking and start acting. Um, and I think that leads into what you were saying. Um, the ministry that we’re a part of is, is called a Jonah’s journey. And, um, I would venture to say that there are probably other ministries, maybe they don’t do the exact same thing, but that, yeah, there are Christian Foster care agencies I’m sure all over the country. I’m not as up to date on that as maybe I should be, but I would encourage you to talk to people in your church or other bodies, um, who have a passion for orphan chair and for foster care and ask those folks to get you plugged in to ministries that are meeting this need in your community. The need, or the ministry set ups may be different, but the goal and, um, is the same. And, um, yeah, that would be, that would be my encouragement.

Megan (17:39):

And if you’re in the Nashville area, I’m going to give him a plug. John and Stephanie is in desperate need of caregivers if you’re in the Nashville area or in Mississippi.

Joe (17:46):

Um, I would also say that you don’t have to go from zero to 100. We didn’t start out asking for a permanent placement. We weren’t sure what this was going to look like or how-

Megan (18:00):

I was more into that idea than I was, and do respite here. Why don’t we just try short term? Yeah.

Joe (18:08):

And so that’s what we did. We pitched in for awhile with, with families who had permanent placements, who had, you know, family vacations, they needed to go on where the children couldn’t come along with them, or, you know, just other extenuating circumstances, medical emergencies, those sorts of things. And we would, we pitched in on a short term basis. And then we realized, okay, yeah, this is, you know, we, we need to, um, to settle into doing something longer term. So-

Leslie (18:35):

Wow, well that, those are great, great tips. And give us a lot to think about, as, as you’re talking through this whole thing, just Jude 22 has gone over and over in my mind. And if some, having compassion, making a difference, and that’s a passage that God has impressed on my heart for years, and I’ve studied and gone through, you know, what’s that compassion mean? And that’s like a literal moving to where you can’t stop it. You have to do something. And I hope and pray that by watching this video that many of us will have to do something and that we will make a difference in that way. So Joel and Megan, thank you so much for spending time with me this evening. Thank you.

Joe (19:15):

Absolutely. And I, you know, I would say to any, um, any family that is, um, is considering this, or, or wants to talk more about our experience. I mean, you’re welcome to look us up on social media. I’ll be glad to talk to any men who, um… And I do not have all the answers don’t pretend to, and I know Meg would fit into the same box for ladies, but anybody who wants to talk more, feel free to reach out to us. We’d be glad to talk.

Leslie (19:41):

Well, I can help make that connection too. So if you would like to talk to them, let me know if you can’t find them and I know how to run them down. So I’m also, I’ll also make some, or drop some links in, in the resources below so that you can find your own as journey. I will see if there is maybe a laundry list of Christian Foster care agencies. I know miracle Hill does a lot in our apartment. So, you know, we’ll, we’ll see what we can find as far as resources to get you on your way. But thank you so much. This has been, this has been a challenge. This has been a blessing and that you guys have enjoyed it as much as I have. So Joe and Megan have a great evening and we will see you guys next week.

Leslie (20:27):

Thank you for listening to the Teach Them Diligently podcast. We believe that every family is called to teach them diligently. So we’re here to help. We would love to get to know you onsite at one of our many events each year and throughout the year, when you become part of the teach them diligently three 65 community, go to www.teachthemdiligently.net/podcast, to get more details and resources to encourage and equip your family while you’re there. You can also pick up the show notes and additional information from today’s show. It’s our daily prayer that God will encourage and equip your family through, teach them diligently. And we’d love to hear from you, send us a note or share your stories with us on social media. With the hashtag #weTTD. God is doing great things within his families all around the world. And we would love to celebrate that with you. We’d also love to have you join us by subscribing to our podcast, and then sharing it with a friend who could use a little encouragement as they to follow God’s plan for their family. Hope you have a fantastic rest of your day. And I look forward to visiting with you again real soon.

 

Joe and Meghan are parents to four children. Meghan lists in her a blog a few of her favorite family activities which include eating Chipotle and target runs with her kids!

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