the Stone and the Oak

A journey into bible education with the depth of the of the oak the accountability of the stone

Christian, foster mother, and hair stylist, Jenn Thatcher, in her salon. She is holding a Starbucks green tea.

This is Jenn.

Her drink is an iced green tea with no sweetener (because she is healthier than the rest of us).

I first met Jenn in a women’s Bible study and I was immediately drawn to her heart for the Lord, her knowledge about the Bible, and her willingness to speak openly and honestly on any subject. Those who know Jenn know the last one to be her superpower.

Jenn and I bonded quickly, and—always game for an adventure— she jumped into help me advertise His wear:

Single foster mother, Jenn, sitting on a bench wearing a hat with a “His” logo on it.
Jenn is posing in front of a colorful downtown Fresno building in a “His” shirt, making a goofy face.

I love so much about this girl. I love that she doesn’t take herself too seriously. I love the way she punctuates her brutal-truth statements with bursts of laughter. And, on brand for today’s topic, I love the way she loves foster children with all that she has.

I know you are going to love what she has to say about fostering children as a single mom.

Jenn never thought she would be a foster mother

I am a third-generation foster parent, but I never thought I would say that. My parents fostered, but I wanted to forge my own path. Of course, God started planting seeds for fostering along the way.

The first seed that was planted was running into my foster brother when he was a fully grown adult. He expressed gratitude for everything my parents did for him even though he didn’t recognize it at the time.

The second seed came with a hard swallow of humility. I was at Target, and a child was screaming and tantruming and causing a big scene. My gut reaction was to think “get ahold of your kid, lady.” When I finally laid eyes on the caretaker, I saw that she was an older woman. First dose of guilt— I had just judged a struggling grandma. I decided she needed a hand, so I went over to introduced myself and started helping her get to her car from the register.

The kid was really having a hard time. He was throwing things out of the cart, and at one point, he tried to dart off in the parking lot.

As we were walking to the car, I asked if these were her grandkids. She said “no, these are my foster children.” Oh my heart. God, I’m such a jerk. Please forgive me I prayed quickly.

She explained that the child had just had a visitation with his biological parents which of course means that he was struggling with very difficult emotions. I felt the need to pray with her on the spot.

As I was praying, my own mom came out of Target to join us, along with another stranger who joined in. Four women had our heads bowed and prayed for those kids. When we were praying, the little boy who had been tantruming was still and silent.

Foster seeds begin to take root

At the time God was planting seeds, I was running a singles ministry at my church. In my singles ministry, I crossed paths with some people who were fostering kids. I was starting to be curious about it, so I asked them a lot of questions and started touching base with some fostering agencies. Around the same time, I was applying for a seminary-level program at a local church (12-month residency). I wasn’t sure which path I should go down— residency or fostering— so I prayed.

And God made me sit tight for awhile about it. I was waiting and wasn’t receiving answers. Fed up, I decided to vent to a friend on the phone about not receiving God’s guidance.

Within 10 minutes of hanging up, I received a call from the church with the residency saying they lost my application. And then later the same day, I received a call from Valley Teen Ranch that I could become licensed to foster kids within three months. I hear ya, God! So my fostering journey began.

Now, I have a biological daughter who I have always prioritized with when entering into these decisions. In fact, there were some years when she needed my undivided attention and so I had to pause fostering to make sure her needs were met.

Nevertheless, I have had ten foster children since opening my home to children, and I have been unmarried for all of it. Now, I have a tribe of course. I couldn’t do it without my family and friends.

Watching God work in this foster journey

A have a few favorite memories from this journey. I had a little boy who loved to sing. When he was first placed with us, my daughter and I would hear him singing rap songs complete with wildly inappropriate lyrics. I remember the song “Bust Down Tatiana” as one in particular that I was shocked by.

But coming into my home meant being a part of a Christian way of life. We took him to church, played worship songs, and prayed with him. About three weeks into his placement, my daughter and I heard him singing in the bathroom again. But this time it was the Christian artist, Lecrae. I witnessed God change the song in his heart.

Another way I have watched God move during this journey is in a time I had to pass on a placement rather than accept it. To give context, I had a teen foster daughter in addition to my biological daughter. I was in a Genesis Bible study, diving deep into the story of Abram and Sarai and how they had to wait so long for the promise of a descendant. And as you probably know, they got tired of waiting on God to fulfill his promise and took matters into their own hands by using a handmaiden, Hagar, to have a son. But of course, God’s plan all along was to give them Isaac in their very old age.

Abram and Sarai’s story paralleled my own life at that moment in my desire to have a baby again, a boy, one that I could end up adopting after fostering. And in this season, right before COVID, I got a call for a baby boy. This baby was surrendered at the hospital meaning the parents would not be involved whatsoever and adoption was almost guaranteed.

I prayed “God, what do you want in this?” I felt tempted to take this little baby, but it wasn’t deeply in my prayers at that time to do so. I knew there were parents out there who had been praying, so I passed. The worker was surprised at my answer because he knew I wanted a baby. But I felt strongly that the timing was not right for this baby and I released that opportunity. Come to find out, a couple did adopt that little baby boy, and guess what they named him? Isaac. Only God!

And God is faithful. I currently have a 4-month-old baby boy who I have had since he was two days old. I wanted so badly for attachment with this baby, but I knew that I didn’t carry him in my body— he wouldn’t recognize my voice, he wouldn’t know my smell. I had to work hard to forge this attachment— lots of skin-to-skin and talking and singing to him. Now, the attachment is real. He looks at me the way I want my future husband to look at me.

Addie’s note: I’ve witnessed this little baby look at Jen. It’s absolutely precious. He lights up when he sees her face.

The hardest parts of foster care

One of the hardest parts of fostering is knowing how much these children want to be with their biological parents when they can’t. And I know I can provide love and safety, but I can never fully take the place of a biological parent. Having to explain this to small children is absolutely devastating.

But the hardest part of it all? Trusting God in the process.

Having a little infant while I have my biological daughter 50% of the time is not easy. Again, I support myself by working part-time running my own business. And this little guy is considered somewhat “medically fragile,” so he has some additional needs each day.

God is revealing my limits to me, which is humbling to say the least. He is revealing to me what full surrender looks like.

He has also changed the desires of my heart a bit. I always thought that future children would be biological children with a new husband, and I prayed for that. But I also prayed “Your will be done,” and he gave me this baby boy. His biological parents are open to adoption, and it seems like that is where this is headed.

The verse that guides my foster journey

The verse that I automatically go to when thinking about fostering is “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you” (James 1.27, NLT)

The first half of that verse is obvious— God wants us to care for orphans. Yet the second half of the verse applies to my journey as well. There are many people who could have corrupted my vision to foster. When I started my journey as a single foster parent, there were definitely narratives out there like “single parents shouldn’t foster. A baby needs a mom AND a dad.”

Yes, God’s ideal creation was for a child to be with his/her biological parents, but we live in a world broken from God’s ideal creation. There are many babies and children without their biological parents. Yet one safe person creates healthy attachment for that child. I can be that for an orphan. I could have let the world corrupt me in this journey if I listened to the naysayers.

And right before that verse, James also tells us to not just be hearers of the word, but doers of the word (1.22). Fostering is how I feel called to live out God’s commission in my daily life.

Resources for anyone wanting to learn more

I would highly recommend this book to any Christian considering foster care:

Foster Care Book for Christians: Reframing Foster Care by Jason Johnson

In addition, the best resources for learning about foster care are foster parents themselves. Reach out to one and ask them about their experiences and recommendations. It is also not uncommon for certain churches to have strong relationships with foster organizations, so touch base with a local church like that.

For those local to the Central Valley, City Without Orphans is an amazing organization for foster care. Check out their website here.


If someone were to ask me to describe Jenn, I would absolutely call her a doer of the word. I have been witness to it in how she opens her heart and her home to these kids who need the love of Jesus.

Thank you, Jenn, for being a faithful servant in His name.

with His love,


To connect with Jenn, please visit her two Instagram accounts:

Click here for her personal account

Click here for her business account (locals, she does amazing hair!)

One thought on “My Foster Journey: Caring for God’s Orphans as a Single Foster Mother

  1. Jennifer Thatcher says:

    Thank you Addie!!! I love you.

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