How Families Can Eliminate Debt And Save More Money.

The Honestly Adoption Podcast - Season 9, Episode 79

Stressed out about finances again?  Wish you could save more money and eliminate debt?  Is that even possible for families who have many children and are in debt from adoption, cars, or other major expenses?

Welcome Back!  We are kicking off Season 9 of the Honestly Adoption Podcast with an incredible episode! Brian and Cherie Lowe join our hosts, Mike and Kristin Berry, to talk about why eliminating debt can help bring peace to your home, your heart, and your marriage and share some practical strategies for how you can do this even in a large foster or adoptive family.

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What I Learned From My Visit To A Brothel

Sometimes we have to allow our hearts to break over the reality that many children in our world are vulnerable and highly susceptible to abuse, trafficking, and modern-day slavery. May these honest words spur you on and motivate you to love even deeper than you already do…

I saw them. I saw so many girls. Some boys too. I saw them at all ages and stages. I saw the under 21s. I saw the over 60s. I saw the ones who didn’t speak English. I saw the ones who were desirable to groups of people due to their size and even disability.

At one time they were children who didn’t have a family to fight for them and ended up in the sex industry. And dare I say, I saw my children in the future, except for the grace of God. Statistically, this is what the future would hold for children like yours and mine if they had stayed in the system and were only known as blurred out faces.


Most Americans who are victims of sex trafficking come from our foster care system. It’s a system that leaves vulnerable children to be preyed upon by pimps. Internationally it happens too. Orphans are prime targets to be trafficked. They have no one. No skills. No one to fight for them. Children have been known to vanish from orphanages. It’s easy for them to go unnoticed when there are no records. It’s as if they never existed.

This is who I saw at the clubs, porn convention and legalized brothels of Nevada.

I’m not saying all these women were trafficked. But 20% of the clients we served were. And that’s just the ones we knew about. Even if this was a path they chose of their own free will, not one child wakes up one day and says, “I want to become a sex worker when I grow up.” For various reasons, they have all been desensitized to this life.

The first time I visited a brothel, I scratched my head in terrified and horrified disbelief. What is a girl like me doing here? Then, what is a girl like that doing here? But the more I visited, the more I looked forward to it. What I found is that they really were very much like me. They were women. Moms. Some had custody. Some didn’t. Some of them were wives. We shared stories about our kids. There’s always a story to share there. And I felt like I was getting a break from my daily trauma momma life, yet still engaged with the population my heart ached for.

This organization I volunteered with exists solely to give value to these women. That’s it. We didn’t preach to them. We didn’t encourage them to get out. But we did let them know if they needed a dentist, a doctor, counseling or anything else, we could help get them those services. Regardless of what the world tells them, these women have value. We took our usual cupcakes, makeup and hair supplies and helped them get ready for their day.

One day, there was a lot of whispering and gathering of the girls as they anxiously talked with the social worker. Another worker’s boyfriend beat her up badly. And since she was beat up, she couldn’t work. Since she couldn’t work, she couldn’t stay there. She had no where to go. So she went back to stay at her boyfriend’s place. They knew she was in danger. They asked us to help. Several attempts were made to reach her, but she never returned the calls.

A couple months passed and I received a text. She died and it was being investigated as a homicide. I was shocked. I knew of many families with tragic circumstances surrounding the loss of their loved ones. But none because of murder.

So we made another trip, but this time, it was to give honor and value in a different way. We took pink balloons and our usual cupcakes and attended the memorial service for a precious life cut short. They shared stories, displayed pictures of her and planted a tree on the brothel property in her memory. There were 12 people who attended the funeral. The smallest funeral I’ve ever been to. The saddest funeral I’ve ever been to. No family. Only workers and other associates of the brothel.

At the end, one of the girls walked up to sing a song. I remember thinking, “I wonder what song she will sing?” I was thinking something secular or even unusual. And then these words rolled out of her mouth:

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,

That saved a wretch like me. 

I once was lost but now I’m found,

Was blind, but now, I see.

And then the tears came. To me. It was the most beautiful version of that song I have ever heard. And not because she had a professionally trained musician’s voice. It was the song.

We’ve all heard the song. But you’ve never heard that song until you’ve heard a sex worker sing it at a sex worker’s funeral.

In that moment, under the big Nevada sky with the snowcapped mountains in the background, I was standing in an unlikely match, and yet here we were, all the same. We weren’t there to provide makeup or hair services or resources. We were just a group of people, all in need of grace. What started as the saddest funeral I have ever been to, ended up being the most beautiful funeral I have ever been to and one of the most memorable moments in my life.

We are ALL in need of grace. We are all considered wretched at one time or another in our lives. We have all been lost at some point in our journey. We all have been blind and can’t see through our circumstances. We all want this grace that is sweet, this grace that saves, this grace that finds us, this grace that makes us see. We All need that kind of grace.

So let’s continue to fight this fight and love big. Not as saviors. But as those who have received grace and now want to give grace.

Question: What are your thoughts or feelings after reading this story? Share with us in the comment section below. You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Thank You For Not Being A Foster Parent!

Sometimes you encounter odd situations on the foster (or adoptive) parenting journey. They can take your breath away, deeply wound you, or leave you dumbfounded. We encountered a situation like this recently.

Last night Mike and I met friends for dinner. We share the common bond of parenthood, marriage, church, hometown community and foster parenting. During the first course, we talked about the stupid thing we did as young adults. By the main course, we lamented the ever growing need to monitor our students’ technology and the ins and outs of teen dating. By dessert, our conversation turned to foster care. We shared stories about little ones who haven’t slept in months as well as enthusiastically long prayers given by pre-schoolers at dinner time. We shook our heads at the hard parts and belly laughed at the funny bits.

Why You Shouldn’t Be Ashamed Of Your Wounds!

We desire to hide our deepest wounds. And rightfully so. We’ve been taught that wounds equal failure. As parents we fear the words “I told you so,” if we revealed our struggles on this journey. But what if our wounds didn’t equal failure? What if they did something bigger than we could imagine?

I know what you want to do, dear parent.

I know because I’ve sustained the same cold blows from this journey.

You want to hide.

“You’re Not My Real Mom Anyway!”

The day came. I knew it would. Just didn’t know when or what the age would be or what circumstances would bring it up. Even though I knew it would eventually come, it didn’t make it hurt any less.

He was my first baby and has been my son since he was 3 months old. We’ve had our ups and downs. Some quite painful. The diagnoses. The therapy. The raging tantrums. The many broken things. The IEP meetings. The side talks with teachers.

What Every Foster Parent Wants To Tell You (But Probably Never Will)

This is a guest post by our good friend, Rachel Lewis. She is a foster, adoptive and birth mom. After a 5-year battle with secondary infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss, she now has three children in her arms and a foster son in her heart. She is passionate about helping women feel heard and understood when building their family gets a little bit complicated. You can read her wonderful blog at The Lewis Note. She also offers a free resource, ‘Your BFF Guide to Miscarriage: 5 Ways to Comfort a Friend Through Pregnancy Loss’ here. Connect with Rachel on Facebook, or join her private Facebook group Brave Mamas — a support group for anyone who had to struggle to build their family. 

Ever find yourself banging your head against the wall as you try to gain understanding from outsiders? Ever wish someone could put into words everything you’re thinking as a foster parent? Thankfully, this post does just that.

For starters, we’re pretty tight-lipped. And not always by choice.

Foster parents have ALL the responsibility of being a “real” parent (hello 2 am feedings!) without any of the rights. And that includes the right to share our child’s story.

This particular limitation is to protect the privacy of our foster child. Which I absolutely understand. But it also means foster parents bear the brunt of our children’s stories, and have few people we can share them with. Are we freaked out about a visit because we *happen* to know that dad has a history of violent behavior? Probably. But all we can say is, “I’m nervous” and we can’t always share why. Are we dealing with the repercussions of a child who experienced starvation and neglect and are struggling to manage ALL the issues that come with food? Yep. And you might look at us and wonder why we are being so hypervigilant on the issue. Trust me, we wish we could tell you.

How This Whole Adoption Journey Began For Us

The Honestly Adoption Podcast - Season 8, Episode 78

It’s our Season 8 finale of The Honestly Adoption Podcast and today we’re talking all things new book, and how the Berrys began this whole adoption process in the first place…

We will be finishing up Season 8 of The Honestly Adoption Podcast by celebrating this week’s book launch for our very own co-founder and host, Mike Berry. Guest hosting on the show today is Matt McCarrick, who interviews Mike and asks all the questions you’ve been dying to know about the book, the launch, and where this all began.

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On The Darkest Days, There Is Hope!

On our adoptive and foster parenting journey, we’ve had lots of dark days. Sometimes many more than days of light. The amount of times we’ve felt like giving up and laying down are simply uncountable. But we’ve found unending hope…

Photo courtesy of

“Your son has FASD!”


“This hearing is continued. And we’re reinstating visitations.”


“Hi, I’m your son’s principal. Just wanted you to know that he’s in the office again for punching another student and cussing out the teacher.”


“Ma’am, we caught your daughter stealing again. We have no choice but to press charges.”