I took my camera to the Restore House opening last night, but I didn’t take pictures. Well, I took about 3. It was a beautiful night. The store was packed. The backyard was full of picnic tables, live music, fried pies and kids running everywhere. I got to catch up with new and old friends. My grandparents came out, but left before I got to tell them ‘goodbye’. Grandpa & Grandma – you should have said ‘bye’…we can discuss that at donuts tomorrow morning:)

The Parkers have a cute old truck near the front door. There was a sign encouraging creative pictures…with a prize to be given. The Parkers won’t let me win prizes in their contests because they think others will think the contests are rigged. BUT I want to win something from their store. Actually, I want to win one of everything from their store.

I took advantage of a pumpkin and a pregnant sister. I had issues figuring out how to hold my ‘belly’.

IMG_0518My sister is thinking, “Seriously Ashley, I don’t have time for your ideas.”

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

I’m carrying a little high.

IMG_0520I don’t know how to be normal for pictures. My go-to pose is to fake a yell, which is odd if you know me. I make this face zero times on a normal day. Only for photos. This is why I say behind the camera.IMG_0521The girls were not amused by our antics.IMG_0522This one was my favorite. We are twinning. This is us all the time…matching in some way. This was not a pose, Chris just snapped this while I was trying to figure out how to hold the pumpkin. Converse. Rolled jeans. Cardigans. Twinning.

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetMy nephew should be making his debut any day now!!!! I am just a bit EXCITED!!!

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  • Nicolette - Such a sweet post! Loving the progress pictures of trying to get the pumpkin in place!


  • Sandy C - Ha! So fun. I hope to visit the Restore House one day soon. The girls watching you both is good stuff too :)

  • TiffanyM. - What a hoot!! :-) Sisters are the best! I just had a sis give birth to a little boy several days ago. Babies are just wonderful!

  • Carol - Love A’s expressions in these pics!

  • Carrie - So many cute sets of sisters in these! I love it. All the way down to the arm temp tats and how Firecracker’s outfit matches your sister’s. :) So cute.

  • luisa s - Where did your sister get her pants? I love the color!!!

  • Cass - I’m cracking up – “I took advantage of a pumpkin and a pregnant sister.” This feels like one of those “once in a lifetime” moments. (:

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - AAGH! Lesley is so beautiful! I can’t wait to see pics of the little man!

  • Jo Moseley - I keep coming back to this post. Ashley, you are a hoot! The relationship between you & L is wonderful. But.. the faces of “the cousins” are hysterical! Every single shot gets better. They look like they wanted to NOT be there with their Mama’s. I’m afraid that this sweet photo shoot is gonna come back and haunt you in just about 10 years! Wish I could be there for Thanksgiving 2025!
    You Rock! Hugs ~ Jo

I think I might have the greatest women and men reading my blog – I love they way you guys come out of the woodwork on important issues. Thank you for sharing your stories yesterday regarding foster care and asking questions. Chris is going to follow up with some of the questions and I might have him write a post with more information. I just love your hearts!


It is already the end of September! October means fall. I am not ready for fall. I will wear my flip flops and shorts…with a hoodie…and pretend summer is just around the corner. Tonight I’m headed to my friends’ store grand opening. It is going to be a great night celebrating dreams coming true.

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These are the current children at my local Tulsa shelter. Most are there because of a shortage in foster families available to welcome them into their homes.  This list just has 43 children on it. The list changes daily. Sometimes younger kids. Sometimes babies. Often sets of siblings.

Sometimes we think of foster care as an overwhelming issue. One so great that it doesn’t matter if we get involved or not. Could just a single family make a difference?


The list has 43 names – that is not an overwhelming number.

Last week, I watched Chris and his team gather pastors from the 10 of the largest churches in Tulsa – putting denominational differences aside – for one cause. They came together to see that no child is waiting on a home but rather that in our city there would be a surplus of available foster families waiting if and unfortunately when children need a safe home.

43 on a list. 10 pastors representing over 150,000 members.

There is no reason our city should not have a surplus of waiting foster families. The same is true of every city.

A significant number of those waiting to be placed in a foster home are teenagers and sibling sets. Often teenagers cannot be placed in homes that have younger children. Chris let out a rally cry for empty nesters…for those that have empty homes, but so much more to pour out and offer. Those who have gone through the trials and joys of parenting and are uniquely equipped to offer a home, love, guidance and mentorship to teenagers.

I didn’t take any pictures. I did take it all in…the beauty of so many leaders in my city linking arms and saying, ‘not in our city.’

I have a feeling last week was a turning point for my city. For children in my town. For families. For empty-nesters. For churches.

And it is so exciting!

(letter from an Oklahoma foster child)


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  • Emily | Gather & Dine - So powerful Ashley. I will remember this. I don’t feel like I’m in the season of life when I can take on foster care right now, but the burden for those kids is there. I’ve thought before how I’d like to foster parent when we’re past this stage of small children or once the kids are grown. My fear was that I would no longer be a “fun” parent. This letter shows how silly that thinking is and puts things into perspective for me. Thank you.

  • AndreaB - Amazing! That letter brings me to tears – oh to be able to provide those most basic wants and needs to every child. Love, the most free and easy gift to give.

  • Audrey - My husband and I began fostering two years ago. There’s many times when I think “I can’t do this” and the comment I get the most from others is “I could never do that”. God has provided time after time and I’ve learned to just take it one step at a time. There’s so many unknowns in foster care, so for me who likes to plan, it really pushes me outside my comfort zone, but it is worth it, the kids are worth it.
    Just when I think “I can’t”, God shows me He has other plans. When the call comes in at 11:00 pm and your kids are starting school and your husband is leaving on a business trip and every logical thought tells you now is not the time to take in a child, your heart says “yes” and it all works out. Fostering is not everyone’s calling, but don’t let fear stop you from considering the possibility. We all need to be loved.

  • Dawn - Will be praying for this movement to catch on like wildfire! We had a similar event of local churches gathering to “foster hope”. It was encouraging to see lots of people set up. Our local DSS actually had to stop taking adoption applications because they were so full!

  • Tiffany - Hi Ashley, Just wanted to say that I have tried to foster but in Pennsylvania the child needs their own room and I only have extra space in my daughters room. But I will keep trying, thanks for the motivation and inspiration!

  • Erica Baker - Incredible. Our churches here in DC are rallying together in a similar way for a campaign called DC127. Glad to see other cities are feeling the fire too. Once my husband and I have the space (darn DC apartment prices) we are looking forward to joining!

  • Cherith D. - As a foster momma, thank you for using your platform to encourage people to step out of their comfort zones. The journey isn’t easy, but oh, so beautiful!

  • Tina - Hi Ashley! Such a moving letter. At this time our family wouldn’t be able to foster a child (5 young kids and no extra room, which is required by the state), but still would like to be able to make sure that every child in our city has a place to call home. Other than prayer, do you recommend some other ways that families can help indirectly?

  • Emily - Oh my goodness — that letter just broke my heart. We are in the process of moving out of our shoebox apartment and into a home that will have a sliver of guest space, after the dust has settled and my own children have transitioned through the move, I’m going to research being a foster parent. I have always had a special place for children in upheaval and your cause just keeps my desire to help going strong.

    In the meantime, I’d love to help in other ways. Perhaps you could do a compilation post with resources and/or ideas for people who aren’t in a position to foster or be a CASA, but who would still like to ease the burden on these children.

    Thank you for sharing, and Chris deserves extra thanks for organizing and giving a strong voice to those who are so often brushed aside.

  • Tracie - Oh that list made me cry! My dream is to be a foster parent. When I moved across the state I got 2 ferret’s. In WA you can’t have ferrets and have a license. I have one left and my daughter graduates in over a year. My empty nester self will jump on the wagon for sure. This breaks my heart

  • Elizabeth - That letter…heart wrenching.

  • Devon - Thank you for being a voice for kids in foster care!

  • Holly - For anyone even thinking about fostering, you should consider starting the process as soon as possible. It takes awhile to get licensed. (6 months for me in MO) There is lots of paperwork and hoops to jump through, but it’s so worth it! I’d encourage you to jump in and do it. There’s never a perfect time.

  • Brady W. - okay, okay, OKAY!! I get it, God! I GET IT!!

    My husband has been talking about doing foster care for several months now. I’ve been resisting. Him and God have been persisting. EVERY time I start doubting it or thinking we shouldn’t do it, God does SOMETHING to let me know to keep going. And I finally GET IT. So thanks for following God’s prompting to post this because it’s helping me follow his prompt to foster.

  • Michelle - This brought me to tears… Thank you for sharing this and just for you.

  • Lauren - Oh wow, as I sit here nursing my own baby, that list from the foster child brings me to tears and breaks my heart.

  • Lisa - I foster…currently have 2 and waiting for a 3rd. To those who say they could never do this, I say, how could you not? Just try it.

  • Sarah - Ashley! I have loved watching the 111 project take flight. I’ll be honest with you, I keep feeling like this is an area God is pushing me towards but I am a single 28yr old. Honestly, I don’t know how I would do it. I travel every so often for work and my parents are in Dallas. Do you have any encouragement for advice for the young singles that feel led to take action?

  • Diana - That list is heartbreaking! We’ve been waiting to adopt for 18 months now but hard to figure out if foster is where we are supposed to be. I don’t think so right now (which is why we haven’t pursued it). Hope more cities can adopt this practice (and it sounds like others are from the comments!)

  • Andrea - Thanks so much, Ashley! We’re working towards adoption from China right now, and in the future would love to foster. Its difficult where we live with the requirements for home size and finding time to go to all the classes with my husband. Someday we will do it, though! Have you heard of http://www.safe-families.org – I have some friends who do it, more like temporary foster care for moms & dads who just need some time to figure stuff out and don’t have anyone to turn to.

  • risa west - We’ve talked about being foster parents when we’re empty nesters. We’ve also talked about taking on the older teens and being a home they can come home to after they age out, hopefully do some college, get jobs and kids of their own, for holidays and just throughout life. We have a long way to go as we’re expecting our caboose but I’m hoping to be a part of CASA once the little ones are old enough.

  • Kameha - Yes! Please give those of us who are unable to foster at the moment another way to help!

  • Julie - My husband and I got our foster license about 1 year ago. After 6 months of not getting a call (due primarily to the fact we were in a foster-to-adopt program – so more specialized)we learned about a program called Safe Families. I know that Safe Families does not exist in every state; however I would encourage those who are interested in foster care but may not have enough room or may not qualify for foster care for another reason to look into it. It is basically foster care/orphan prevention. We work more on a short-term basis and take kiddos in whose situations are heading towards foster care but aren’t quite to that point. So we had two boys last month stay with us. Their sweet momma needed psychological treatment and they were homeless. They had no other support systems. They did not cross the line to foster care, but they were heading there. So we took the kids while momma was able to have a needed hospital stay and then find a place for her and her kids to stay. Safe Families works with the parents to provide resources. It is a Christian ministry and churches try to provide support as well.
    I love foster care for what it can provide for the child (I hate that it has to exist though)
    But I love Safe Families for what it can provide for the whole family, when it is appropriate!
    Sorry this was so long just wanted to encourage others who may think foster care just won’t work for them.

  • Holly - Sarah – I’m a 31-year old single foster mom. It’s just important to have a support system around you. You will meet other foster parents in your training classes, and they can become a resource for you. Also, you can search out foster parent groups in your area. I’m involved in a FB group that shares resources (clothes, beds, toys, Halloween costumes, etc.), but also is a place to talk about issues, and ask questions. You can do it!

  • Jenn - oh my heart. i read that letter and just want to hug me a kid. thank you for sharing this. i hope to one day be able to foster or help out some way with foster care.

  • Emily H - Thank you, Ashley, for continuing to share the need for foster families! I am 23 years old and the oldest of 5 children. My parents started fostering three years ago, and without hesitation, everyone in our family would say that fostering is the best thing that has ever happened to us. Yes, it is often heart-wrenching and patience-trying, but the reward and privilege of caring for these children in the most intimate way, far overshadows the challenges. I have since moved out from my parents home, and I wanted to share with another commenter (Sarah) who was wondering how she could be involved as a single woman. Many cities have group foster homes, where they need volunteers. Another need is for respite care, for the foster families to be able to have a short break (state laws may vary on this, but in my state, non-licensed individuals can ‘babysit’ for short periods of time), this can be a HUGE encouragement and much needed support for the foster families. I too can’t wait to be in a position to foster, but for now, these are two ways as a single woman, I can still be involved.

  • Nicole L - I love reading about foster care because it is a continual motivation to me. I am in the process of convincing my husband that we can do it and the more I read about it the more I want to be a part of it! That list is heartbreaking. It’s such a simple list and surely we can all provide those things to a child who needs them!

  • Analene - What an awesome approach to a very real problem. Those children are the Church’s responsibility anyway, not the governments. Thank you for what you guys are doing!

    There was a town near where I grew up, and driving through there were big billboards paid for by one local church saying they would adopt every baby in their town who’s mother decided not to abort – and they did. What an incredible and tangible to minister to those who need Jesus’ very real hands in their life!

    Praising Him because of you~

  • Kristin S - “my own comb”

  • Kim B. - oh my gosh. the power of that letter and your list.

  • Chris Campbell - Emily thanks for commenting! We need to hear more from foster families to combat all the negativity surrounding it! In some states single individuals can foster, one of our good friends is a single foster mom and has fostered dozens of teenage girls and currently has 5 in her home here in Oklahoma!

  • Chris Campbell - Sarah thanks for sharing and thanks for being a foster parent!

  • Chris Campbell - Julie thanks for sharing about Safe families. They have just come to Oklahoma and it is definitely a new program we want to get going here in Tulsa. I know of several families in other states that have been a part of this and it is a great option for churches to consider and I think it is so much more of a positive experience when biological families are asking for help!

  • Chris Campbell - Kameha, thanks so much for your comment. Here would be a few ideas on how to be a resource to foster families. I think taking care of our existing foster families is one of the best things that we can do! – http://www.111tulsa.org/resources/ check out specifically the Foster Family Support Ideas.

    Beyond being a foster parent or supporting a foster parent here is some great ways to be involved. I would echo others comments with strong consideration for volunteering at the following
    1. Local shelters or group homes (find out where kids that go into custody in your area go, in most states it is a shelter or group home). At our local shelter there is a volunteer process and kids need tutoring, activities, and resources even though it is funded by the state.
    2. CASA – this is a great place to volunteer if you have the time. Through CASA you are a court appointed advocate for children to insure that things are being done in their best interest.
    3. Support a Case Worker – in most cases there is a case worker employed by the state or a private agency that is responsible to see that a child is first in a safe place then secondly is being advocated for. This is one of the hardest jobs on the planet so anything we can do as a community to see that these case workers are successful is so important. Sometimes it is a huge blessing just for these individuals to know that you care but I am sure they would love lunch, coffee, a card or even access to your church to be able to advocate for needs that some of their families or children might have.

  • Chris Campbell - Love Safe Families Andrea and we are excited about their expansion into our state!

  • Chris Campbell - Diana thanks for your willingness to adopt. We still have lots of needs for adoptive families in the US. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to encourage you in this process.

  • Chris Campbell - Hey Sarah! I would be glad to get you plugged in. I know you have so much to offer and just because you are single and travel there is still so much that can be done. I could really see you helping at the Laura Dester shelter or with 111! Feel free to email if I can help chris at 111Tulsa.org

  • Chris Campbell - Thank you Lisa! You are the ones we are cheering for! Do you have a good support network in your community?

  • Chris Campbell - Holly thanks for encouraging everyone with this. We often say filling out your paperwork and going through training is like the necessity to get a passport if you want to go overseas. You might as well get the passport so you can go when you are ready. In the same way, in theory most training should help you know if you are ready and able to foster and ultimately should help you be ready when you are ready!

  • Chris Campbell - Thank you Cherith for your work as a foster mom!

  • Chris Campbell - Hey Tina check out some of the other comments, don’t want to be redundant but also here is a link to a resource page with a lot of great ideas!


  • Chris Campbell - Audrey thank you for your ministry as a foster parent! Amen & Amen!

  • Deb Mills - Hi Ashley. My daughter regularly reads your blog, and sent this one to me. I’m writing a piece on foster care in our community and would love to reference your blog. Would you allow me to use the image of the letter from that child? If yes, please email me the image. So burdened by this. Debbie

  • Laura - Thank you so much for this post, Ashleyann.

  • Chris Campbell - Deb, emailing you now with the pic. Yes please use it!

  • Christina - What stuck out to me is that 29 of them are boys, most of which are teenagers. Young men that so much need a daddy or a least a male role model to help stop the cycle from continuing. May God raise up godly men to love and care for these boys as their own!

  • Jessica @My Ardent Life - This is an amazing effort. Kudos to Chris. We know several foster families here in GA and we have been interested in foster/ adopt for many years. We have a special needs 5yo, 4yo, and one on the way and we just aren’t sure we would be good for it yet. But then I read this list of things a child wants… And I think, I can do that. I somerimes yell but I always apologize. I’m impatient but I encourage learning. I’m not very organized, or wealthy, or ambitious but I am loving and I am trying to be better at all the other things. And God is welcome and worshipped in our home. So maybe we’re more ready than we think. In prayer for a change in OK. God is doing big things.

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh my heart. I have a dear friend that just opened their home and there is already so much beauty flowing out.

  • Nina - Oh, I cry now. Thank you for sharing this. And I needed the tears o come out.
    I am an English interpreter, and Friday morning I went to interpret at a meeting with the social services in a small town here in Southern Sweden, held for 10 newly arrived single (no parents or other relatives)children, all boys.
    These chidren under 18 are very much hated here in Sweden, with racism growing at a frightening speed. Somehow it seems to provoke the worst feelings in people, the fact that young people, predominantly boys, come here alone, and there are all sorts of rumours about how they are not under age at all etc.
    This morning they were asked to introduce themselves, just saying their name, country of origin and age.
    It seems like a pretty quick and ordinary thing to do, but it turned into a special moment. These boys have suffered so much, and struggled so hard to get to my country, and they are so young and vulnerable. Yet here they are, and start giggling when two of them have exactly the same name and last name. One boy says his age in years, months and down to the day, because his birthday is in six days. After that, a few more add that they too have only a short time to their birthday. And they say it so innocently and sweet, and I think of my own children and how these boys will not have any kin nearby on their birthdays.
    Thank God the women in the staff are really warm and professional, and the whole meeting feels respectful and good. But reading your note still opened up for the cooped up tears in my heart. My heart that would like to be big enough to house all lonely children in the world.
    Thank you for your wonderful blog.
    Nina in Sweden

  • Allison - what a beautiful person you are for advocating for these precious children
    I won’t be able to un-remember that letter

  • Ilse - My boyfriend and I have always wanted to be foster parents. Currently our home is quite dusty because we still have a lot of projects going on. But we are getting married this march after living together for three years and we feel like it’s time after that. We do not have a TV tough, so I hope the kid(s) can handle that!