Ginger Berg was certainly busy before she decided to foster and later adopt children in need. She had three kids already, and a busy job teaching. But something touched her heart when she heard someone give a talk at her church about fostering and adopting. She felt called by God to adopt. Her husband was not immediately on board. But Ginger held her intention close to her heart and prayed every day that God would touch her husband in the same way.
Her husband also heard someone in church and felt moved to adopt too, so they started their fostering and adopting journey. They are now a family of 8! And the book that Ginger wrote about her family "The Patchwork Family" -- originally intended just for friends and family -- eventually was published at the urging of her family and friends. The first book ("The Patchwork Family") told her family's story from a bio kid's point of view, when a new sibling comes into the family.
She wrote a second book in the Patchwork Family series, "Lavender's Story," which was published Sept 8th, 2023, and it is the adoption story from the adopted child's point of view. Both of these books are available on Amazon.
Based on a real family
"These books are about my own family. The first book shares about how Nick loves his quilt because each patch represents a member of his family. Their love stitches them together like patchwork. My Patchwork Family is a beautiful story of a family sewn together through foster care and adoption."
Her family's story is inspirational and speaks to the fact that we all have more love to give than we ever thought possible. Their journey as a family has not been easy, but it has been so worth it because two children who really needed "forever homes" now have them. Ginger hopes her books help spread the word about the good people can do by fostering and/or adopting children in need.
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Original music "Saturday Sway" by Brendan Talian
Hello, you've reached The Storied Human podcast hosted by me Lynne Thompson. Each week I share a story, either an interview with someone fascinating, or a short solo from me. I love your stories, and I learned so much from them. Hopefully you will, too. So welcome. If you are new here, I'm so happy to have you. If you are a returning listener, many thanks. So here it is the next episode of the story, human. Hello, and welcome to the story human. I'm Lynne Thompson and I have as my guest today, Ginger Burke, who has a great story to share with us. And I know you're gonna love it. So welcome, ginger. Thank you. It's so exciting to be on your podcast with you. It's so good to have you. I'm so grateful for that Facebook group, because I meet the coolest people that want to be guests. And it's just so nice. Yeah, and I get to find people I would never have found otherwise and hook up with podcasts that I didn't even know existed. That's the fun part. Yeah. And I just love sharing my story, obviously. And so I love any opportunity, I have to just share that. And we're all about that on the story, human. So where do you want to start? Because I do. Yeah, um, so let me just start. So God about got to think about 10 years ago, I called my family to foster. And we eventually eventually adopted actually take it back. It was about 11 years ago, and it started the calling started. And so growing up, I had not really thought too much about foster care or adoption. Specifically, I had some friends that weren't like super close, because they kind of lived far away that I were adopted, and a few people in school and stuff like that. But it wasn't a huge part of my childhood. And so when I got married, we had three kids biologically. And when our youngest was really young, I was at an ice cream social at church. And there was this amazing woman in our church. And they were in the process of adopting from overseas and this was their third adoption from overseas. And she was just sharing at the ice cream social, just how God called her family to adoption in that process. And I remember I was just sitting there, like, I think it was mid bite of ice cream. And I just knew, like, everything in me knew like I'm supposed to adopt and like a hit me. So out of the blue that I was just kind of in shock and awe. So I came home. And I told my husband, I was like, Babe, I I'm pretty sure we're supposed to adopt. And his response was no, we're not 100% totally against it. And I was like, okay, so I told God, I prayed. And I was like, Okay, God, if this really truly is what you've called her family to I want you to tell Dustin himself, I don't want to, I'm not going to bring it up again. Unless he does, because I truly want it to be where we're called together. And not that I badgered him into doing what I think we're supposed to do. So maybe once actually went by and I still just had this deep calling, longing. I don't even know how it's like just, I knew, like within with everything in my being that we were supposed to. But he hadn't brought it up. So I was like, just continued praying every day. And then there was one day I actually stayed home from church because I had really bad sinus infection. So Dustin, and the three kiddos went to church. And he came home from church, and he propped on the bed. And he goes, babe we're supposed to adopt and like, I know it was in I had not Yeah, and he goes, Yeah, the sermon today they were talking about, they're reading in the Bible. And I should know the verse. I don't know it, but it talks about just the spirit of adoption and being adopted into God's family. I'll have to look up the verse later. And he said, as they were reading it, I just knew, I just knew that we were supposed to adopt. And one thing that's really amazing about that is I don't know any of your listeners if you have adopted and just knowing parenting kids from trauma, which adoption is only needed when there's some sort of a trauma is it can be really, really difficult. And so and having that clear, clear calling both of us individually, just made it so much easier to like know, yeah, this is hard right now, but this is what we're supposed to do. And when one of us would falter, when it would get really hard and we'd be like, I don't think I can do this anymore. The other one would just kind of remind me to remind each other remind ourselves remind this is this is what God's called us to. We both know this is what in fact, there was one time to be totally honest that both of like we were both just like I just don't know, I don't know if we can keep doing this. And so finally that we came to The decision, we either have to say we were wrong. And God didn't call us to this, which neither of us could say, because it was so clear. Or we have to agree that this just really sucks right now. But this is what we're supposed to do. And God's going to give us enough to get through, he's not going to make it easy, but he's gonna give us enough to get through it. So there's a lot of faith involved when you hit those rough patches. Oh my gosh, yes. And one thing that makes it easier is God truly does show up in ways that just helps you keep pushing through like, there was one time we were fostering a sibling set of three. So we had six kids, grade and younger. And I don't remember why I had to take the kids to Walmart to I don't remember if somebody broke something or something like that. But we had to go to Walmart to get something that day. Like it was one of those like time sensitive, like we had to go. And the trip to Walmart will just say was less than peaceful. Like it was just anyways. And we were not like really struggling financially. But we were also trying to really watch her budgets. We were trying not to eat out because the family of eight costs a lot. But I remember calling Dustin and being like, I know we're not supposed to be spending money on this. But like I can't the thought of going home and cooking. Like I just want to give up. I can't do it. Like can I please just go through a drive thru on the way home. And he goes, Well, funny story. My mom is here with enough beer rocks for all of us. His mom lived an hour and a half away. She didn't she didn't just stop by. And so it was just God. He was just so kind in that it took her own, you know, when she made the bureaucracy, like he knew before I did that I was gonna hit a point where I couldn't, like I was done. And he provided just enough just some beer anxious dinner, like just enough to be like, I like I got you like, yeah, it's gonna, I will be there for you. And so that those kind of moments like and I looking back at those, you have to really kind of like remind yourself, like he has shown up, he has shown up, he's gonna show up. Like he's consistent. He's proven himself. That's a beautiful, just a beautiful sentiment. And it speaks to when you live in faith. And when you have faith. That's when you notice those things. And you don't notice those things if you're not like centered. And I really love that you both agreed and you're we're a team and you pulled yourself through. But let's face it, it's hard to feel like cooking dinner when you have two kids. It's a big deal. Yes. And you have a full time to you your assistant principal. I am. Yeah. So I was a high school math teacher for 17 years. And then last year, I went into administration. So I'm starting my second school year as an assistant principal this year. So how do you do all that? Because that sounds like a lot. Well, like I tell people, when they when people say like, you're a Wonder Woman, I was like no, not because let's be honest, some days I don't do it. Well, like if we're gonna be totally honest, there's days that it's not good. Like, I come home and I'm grumpy with the kids or I go to school, and I don't, I'm not focused. I don't you know, I don't have energy. So, I mean, I think all you can do is and the reason that I'm still working full time is my husband. and I both really feel like I'm also called to, you know, education in, in this case, being a middle school assistant principal. And so I just, I guess I just have to trust that God knows what he's doing when he calls me and times when I get frustrated. And I'll tell my husband like, that's it. Like, I'm just gonna quit, I'm just gonna quit and I'm gonna, I don't even know what but I'm just done education just too hard right now. And he'll let me kind of do my rant. And then he'll be like, but you know, you're called to do this. And I'm like, I know, I just I don't want to be right now. Like, right now I want to go work a job where you just clock in and clock out. And not that they're really that easy. I mean, every job has its things. But no, in that moment, I'm like, I just want a job where you don't have to be always thinking about it, you know? And so involved, I mean, it's just middle schools are really special time it takes special people. I actually subbed a little bit at a middle school, and I actually really loved that age group. But I know it's not for everybody. Kind of intense. Yeah, kind of intense. So I really admire that you keep all those balls in the air and we all know how hard it is, again, even with just one or two kids. So how does your husband help out like how do you how does your home life go with all those children? That's make it clear you had three If you're all and then you adopted to write, yes, yes. So I now have kiddos that range. So I have a 16 year old son, he's my oldest. I have a 15 year old daughter, a 14 year old daughter, a 12 year old daughter, and then a nine year old son. So I definitely could not have transitioned to administration while they were younger like it, there's just no way it would have any wrong would it have worked because too crazy, right? Junaidi there's just too much. Now they're pretty self sufficient in the morning, like, I wake them up, make sure they're up, but they can pack their lunches, eat their bread, you know, like they can do all that stuff in the morning. That's good. Yeah. And same thing like after school. Yes, they might need help with some homework, but like, overall, they can get home, they can unpack their backpack. So that is one thing is God's timing was definitely, you know, perfect. Yeah. My husband's amazing, I could not do any part of just our my life without his support. Obviously, we both have flaws, but he, he's just so amazing and supportive, and he's good. When I sometimes struggle with the kids, I get mom guilt. And I won't always stand firm on boundaries of myself, like I well with rules. But when it comes to like, myself, like trying to protect some of my own sanity, sometimes I'll start feeling guilty. So I'll let them kind of go over the boundary. And he's really good with being like, no, that's not okay. Like, they can give you that time, or they need to let you finish, or they talk and stuff like that. So that's amazing. And then he's just really good with, we look at the schedule, and we see who's got to do what and, you know, thankfully, he has a job that's a little bit more flexible than mine, as far as if you'd use to come in late or sometimes he can work from home, things like that. So that's kind of how, how we all make work. You sound like a great team. And what I really like is that you said he, he'll come in and say no, no, you know, this is a boundary you need to keep. And I think that's such a great, my husband's like that, too. And I always thought what a great example for our children, to show the father honoring the mother and defending the mother, you know, and you've got to be that close couple. And that's how it starts. And I think some people get that wrong, you know, and they, they, it's easy to get that wrong. You're so in love with your children, and you want to give them everything. But it's really wonderful that you're a team and that you present that way that you respect each other to your children. Yeah, that really touches me. Yeah, that's really great. Yeah, it's always kind of funny when they try to play us against each other because it never works. With a lot of flaws, but that's not it. So like if I find out that dad had told them no already, and they're asking me like, I don't know, it's like five negatives to go with that. So you wanted to go to a friend's house and you're grounded for a week? Because you just tried to play I'm sorry. You gotta back each other up. Yeah. Because it won't work if you don't, right? No, no. And the kids have to know that we're a team like, yeah, I love that. So how did the patchwork quilt come about? I do love that name of the, the patchwork quilt family of your book. And I love that. Did it come from one of your children? Did they did they call it that? So not exactly. So when our so our 15 year old daughter, she was the last one that we adopted. And her story is actually more specifically talked about in the second book that's about to come out. So she and her two biological brothers who actually lived with us for a year when she was in kindergarten. And then they ended up going back into the system. And then many years later, is when we found out that she had been separated from her brothers in the system. And and she was in need of a of a placement. Her brother's had found someplace but she was in need of a placement. And I am so sorry. I just forgot what question you asked. I was just, I just, I was trying to transition to talking about the origin of that. That's family name of the book. Yeah. After she came to live with us. She had already had her parental rights severed. So we knew that adoption was our goal. And we wanted her to feel secure and know that this was her forever family like her place that was safe forever. And so we within just a few weeks, we did family photos together with all of us. And I made this little movie slide show of kind of each of the kids and us and how we all were together. All came together like a patchwork quilt. And so it was just kind of something for us and for her. And then I said I wanted to write it in like a book but originally I just meant for it to be for our immediate family, just something for her to be able to hold on to and see that she was forever Hear this who said it's we're all together now kind of a thing. And so as I was writing it down, and I had one of my really good friends who is an English teacher proofread it, and she actually was the one that encouraged me, like, you need to share your story, you need to publish this. But I mean, this was a very, very personal thing. It was my family, it was our story. So at the time, I wasn't quite yet ready to share it with everybody makes sense, as you know, you with your podcast students, you put it out there, and then people can judge or evaluate it, they can, you know, tell you what they think about it. So it took me a while to decide that I did want to share it. And then it was a matter of do I want to try to find a publisher? Do I want to self publish it? So it was a pretty long process of going from that slideshow? To actually having a book in my hands that people could buy? How long did it take about? I think it was like three years, I'd have to go estimated by people who go through with this because it's not a short process. Did you self publish? Or did you find a publisher? I did. So I spent about I think like six months not super strenuously, but looking for agents or publishers. And I never heard back. I guess I heard back from two or three that just said I don't do like this genre. I do more like this genre, which I appreciate at least hearing back from them. They didn't want fiction books, you know, and mine's a nonfiction since it's based on her family. And so after, you know, a while, at first, I was like, well, maybe my story just really shouldn't be out there, then like, maybe this is everyone saying, we don't really want your book. But then I have just such amazing supportive friends that they were like, No, that's not necessarily what it means. Like, it just means that's not what you're supposed to do. And so then I've, I've found in joined some amazing Facebook groups about just children's books and self publishing and finding printers. And I was able to find some really good resources there. And my printer was so patient, because she did way more than her job description, because I was like, I think I want to print with you, but I don't know what I'm doing. And so she helped me understand how to do a Kickstarter. So I could raise the money to print the books, and really connected me with a lot of good resources. So and then one of the coolest things is one of my best friends did the illustrations. She's an art in college. And so I love the fact that my illustrator is a part of our church. She's a really close friend, my daughter's babysit for her kids. I mean, like, so I wouldn't, I wouldn't want it any other way with my book. It sounds great. Like it worked out. Now, what's the step? Now? What's the first one about? So the first one is told from the perspective of my oldest biological son? Okay. I wanted to do that. Because I feel like a lot of times the kids in the families that foster and adopt, I don't feel like people really hear their story or their comments. So they're in my kids are, they were always amazing. And like, as soon as kids came to live with us, it was 100% We love you. I mean, obviously, they felt like siblings, but there was never standoffishness or we don't really want you here, which I think is huge. In order to make the kids feel welcomed, valued, you guys set that vibe to like you set that, like you model that, you know, that acceptance. So the kids, you know, they pick up on that. And it was so devastating for them when the kids left too, because they, I mean, they loved with their whole heart. And so we all you know, would mourn. And so I just wanted to kind of share his perspective and his story. And he actually always wanted a little brother. And when we adopted our youngest, you know, he he finally got his forever little brother. And so that's kind of the perspective and the story of that book. And then it talks about how after that we ended, we adopted, you know, our oldest daughter as well. And then just kind of talks about how her family came together, you know, just like a quilt. And then the second book is told from my oldest adopted daughters perspective, so it talks more about her kind of journey through foster care and adoption, and you know, becoming a forever part of our family. And so, I'm going to be totally honest, I have a hard time getting through her story without tearing up just because of all that she went through. So it's Yeah, but it can be rough. Yes, yeah. Stories. And she has a lot of trauma from not only before She came into foster care, but also, you know, between the times that she lived with us and just things that happened there. I think one of the hardest parts about doing foster care is when the kids leave your house, you don't know you don't get any updates on them. Like, you know, you don't know anything. He talks about that part. That's so sad. You're expected to just say goodbye. And that's it. So we didn't even realize that for years she had been needing a placement, we found out totally, it's totally a God thing that someone from our church went to help you change a light bulb in someone's house and recognized her and was like, Hey, look who I saw, like on Easter Sunday, out of the blue. He just came up to me at church. She was like, look who I saw it. And there it was. And I'm trying not to use names to protect her. But it was like, there was my daughter, but she was four years older than when she left my house. But I recognized her. And I'm just like, so then we we called her caseworker that she was with and just sort of like, is she doing okay, how she doing? And they're like, she's really not, we can't find her long term placement. She's just having to do like nights at him. So like, pretty much every night or every weekend, she was at a different place. And that was like, oh, no, no, no, no, we're not doing that she needs to come. To find her again. Yeah. So. And I'd like to the different viewpoints of the books. It's really cool. I especially like that you start with your bio son, because we don't usually hear that, that side of the story. And then we get to see the other side with your oldest adopted your oldest daughter. That's wonderful. So what's the first book called? So first books called? It's just called my patchwork family. Okay. And then the second book is lavender story. So it's called My patchwork family lavender story. So it's lavender is not her actual name. I used student names in the book. And so there's a reason for each one that I picked in. So in the book, she's called lavender. And so it's about her story. That's lovely. And your friend illustrated that one, too. Yes, yes. Beautiful. She did such a good job on both of them. I just feel like it came together perfectly for you. It's it. And one thing I really love is that she my daughter was old enough, she helped decide what part of her story she wanted to share, which was really important to me. Yeah. And when we met with our Illustrator, Mikayla, you know, she was there, too. In fact, I kind of took a backseat and let her kind of help decide what kind of illustrations and then obviously, sometimes it was like, there are some books, some pages are just so obvious, like what you want on it, and others are like, I don't really know. So then we kind of brainstorm together, you know, what do we want to put on on this page? So it's a lot of work, in addition to everything else? I'm not sure like, how did you do that? Were there long nights, or sleepless nights or sometimes. And it's interesting, because, like, you're all kind of write it, and then you let it sit for a while. I mean, it's actually good to let it sit for a while. And then you'll pick it back up. And there's certain things that you're like, oh, man, I can't believe I wrote that. Like, that's really good. And then there's other things that you're like, Oh, I can't believe I wrote that. That's not very good. And you, you know, kind of tweak it and then you let it sit for a little while, and then you pick it up. So it's not. It's not something that you necessarily do like every single day. And with it being a children's book, the amount of writing is a lot less than like, if I was when I'm thinking of deadlines. I know there's always deadlines. And that kind of like is a little crazy. Right. Well, one nice thing about self publishing is there's no deadlines, because you make your own deadline for writers. So and that's one thing up with Makayla, you know, she has a lot of little kids, my illustrator. So one thing that was really important to her was that there wasn't strict deadlines because she, she's got a life. She's got kids, she you know. So for me, I was just like, Okay, here's what we want to do. So you start start painting and let me know when it's done. And during that whole time, I was totally content to just wait because I'm not in a big rush. Like, whenever, whenever it's ready, it's ready. And that sounds like a sane way to do a book honestly. So I think if you I don't think I could do it. If it was you need to have this book done in like a month that would be too much and on top of everything because I need to be able to have that freedom to not write for maybe like three months or not even look at it for three months and then pick it back. Well, I just can't believe that you did all that and I think they sound I just think people probably ability will love reading them, but also will learn so much about the process and maybe be inspired to foster or know something, they'll pass the knowledge on to someone else who's perfect for fostering and learn more about the whole process. And that's always good. And I love that it's from the perspective of the children. That's really special to me. So people will be, you know, they'll be thoughtful when they read that, when we have to just opens up discussion because as a kid, like I said, I never knew anyone that was in foster care. I know there was people that are I mean, it's not a new thing. But you just don't even now. So this opens up those conversations and gets people thinking just about maybe, like, maybe somebody will be like me, when I was eating ice cream, just be like, Oh, my gosh, I'm supposed to do that. So maybe my book will help someone be like, Oh, that's what I'm supposed to do. Or if not, it might help them have more understanding and empathy for families that do. Do foster care, you're gonna get to the real stories out there, because we hear we hear both, we hear these great uplifting stories, and then we hear horror stories. But we need to hear reality, you know, and what it's actually like. That's really good. Because, I mean, one thing that's true B is it's not easy. So I feel like I have to always be upfront when people come to me that want to foster and I'm always like, yes, if especially if you feel God calling you to that, yes. But you also need to be realistic. You can't go into it thinking like I've heard some people say, well, they'll be so lucky to have me. They're just gonna love me and always be thankful. No, that's not realistic. These kids are great. Yeah, these kids have had trauma. Yeah, they don't trust you. Yeah, when ripped away from their family, some of them like they're not know. So I think there needs to be a realism to have, yeah, you have to be bigger than that. You have to, like, have that faith for them. And that eventually, they'll, they'll get it and be grateful, but not, not right away. I don't mean to compare a dog to children. But we did recently adopt a greyhound. And it was really hard. And people were like, Oh, it's so nice. And I was like, Well, no, I wouldn't recommend it. Unless you have tons of patients. And you really love animals, and you really are patient with them. Because they literally come to you with with dogs get PTSD. And they literally come to you with PTSD. And it's so sad. And I just can't imagine what it must be like with actual human beings in our house, you know. And you reminded me a little bit of when I was, I think I was a teenager, and we had a 12 year old girl come and spend two weeks with us. They had a Fresh Air Fund program through our church. And she came from Newark, and we live, you know, we lived in a pretty, we still do live in a rural part of New Jersey. So she was like in shock. You know, like the just how the forearms and the corn and we had a pool. And I remember just sort of opening it open my head like not all kids have the same upbringing. And I think that's so good to expose children to. So I'm hoping that your books do that for others. Yeah, this is great. I want to read them. I gotta order this. So you can order them on Amazon. And the second book right now is available for pre order. September 8, my other book you can already you know, get fantastic. Now, did you ever think that you would be doing all this? No. In fact, I never. So being a math teacher, I don't know, you know how you tend to put yourself in a box. So math teachers aren't creative is what everyone always says. artsy, they're not creative. So it's kind of just cool and interesting to have that which is totally kind of in contrast to all of my math background. And like, obviously, as an assistant principal, most people don't view that is a super creative job. It's more of a like, you know, implementing and you know, stuff like that. But so it's kind of nice to have that creative outlet, and find that side of yourself. Yeah, I probably lots of people are creative, and they don't get it that they are like we do tend to box ourselves. I see people thinking creatively all the time. Like I think math teachers can super be creative. Like they can approach a child who doesn't get a problem and think of a whole new way to explain it to them. Like that's creative. And somebody else brought up like, a woman will say, Oh, I'm not creative, and you'll go into her house and it's so beautiful. And all the colors are so beautiful. And her her rooms are so warm, and I mean, that's creative. So there's so many ways to be creative. I'm actually a writer. I'm a tech writer and a creative writer and I I see it all the time, like people think they can't write. But um, like you can write, you can, you can think you can write, you know, everyone, here I am saying everyone has a story. But it's really true, everyone does. And they don't, we do tend to think of ourselves as you know, we're math people, or we're English, like when I was in school, it was definitely that way. And yet, we all have different talents that we discover, as we get older, like I, I did really well in college in formal logic. I got A's in formal logic, it just made so much sense to me. And I was like, wow, I thought you had to be like a math person to be good at that. We're just so much more than we were taught. I think there's a spectrum. Yeah, and I think, unfortunately, a lot of us, as soon as we start to struggle with something in school, and I saw this all the time in, in the classroom, if students ever struggled with math, they just told themselves, Well, I'm just not good at math. Right? Instead of realizing that, even as a math person, there are types of things in math that I still struggle a little bit with. I haven't quite fully gotten my brain 100% wrapped around, you know, whereas then there's other parts that like, I got, I understand it, I know the ins and the outs, and like, I see how all of it connects and all of that. And I think a lot of times, it's like, as soon as we start to struggle, it's just, oh, I just am not a whatever person like you're struggling with, instead of just continuing to push through. I've seen that a lot. I hope that's fading, I hope people are a little more, you know, younger teachers are a little more open to not encouraging that when I was young, that was really the way it was, in fact, I remember my teacher, I was saying, Oh, I can't do this division. In my head, we were learning long division, or I can't do this multiplication, always in my head. And she's like, that's okay. You can write it down. Like she was just ready to like, let me off the hook. It was fifth grade. And I think back and I say, well, she shouldn't have let me off the hook. She said, she should have said, Why don't you try practicing that because that will be great if you could do that in your head. But we just weren't taken seriously, if we didn't instantly, you know, if we weren't instantly good at math. And the funny thing is, years later, when I had my kids, I could help them with their math, as long as it wasn't like advanced algebra. And I was pretty good at it. And so I thought, why don't we say this about ourselves? You know, I always said, Oh, I'm not very good at math. I got B's in math, like, that's pretty good. You know, I got A's and everything else. So we were all very judgmental about ourselves, you know, we were a students. That's ridiculous. B is fine. When I think now they really focus on especially in education, the growth mindset, and it's more I can't do this yet. Oh, I like that, instead of I can't do this, or it doesn't make sense to me yet. Things like that, which I think can really change. Just the way you approach problems, you know, mindset, that on the end it? I mean, it makes it totally different. It makes it like, right? Yeah, I really do love that. And I think I just I noticed too, like the best teachers, the best math teachers had the most, at least in my children's school, often had the gifted students. And I was like, you know, the kids who struggle need those teachers, you know, they need them. And so I'm hoping that's changing, too. You know, that I had an absolutely amazing teacher that I student taught with, she was the type of teacher that everyone wanted, I don't know how I got so lucky. But one time, she told me that she, she was actually her math department chair. So she helped set some of the schedule and stuff. And she always told the teachers, you have to have at least one lower level class and at least one higher level class. Because if you don't have any higher level classes, you forget where they're going, or what they're capable of. And if you don't have any lower level classes, you forget how to help students that are struggling. And you have to be able to do both those things to be a good math teacher. And so I really, that really resonated with me. So I always was like, I need to have at least one class. In Kansas, we call them to your classes where they need extra support. Sometimes I had a parent or another teacher, and I always wanted at least one of those because you have to remember like how do I help students that struggle because even when you have like an honors class, just like with me, there's topics in that class that those students are going to struggle with, and it's gonna be different for every student, except to run into that thing where there's like, this just doesn't make sense. Yeah. I don't know what's happening. And if you haven't been practicing all those skills of like, how do I help the students that are struggling? You're not gonna be able to help them and that's going to make them feel even more like well, I guess I wasn't I I thought Oh, yeah. But I guess I'm not because that's a good point. Yeah, even at that level, right, there's some things you're going to struggle with. And I remember somebody, I don't remember which level my daughter was at. But it was such great advice. They said, She's, she's an aural learner. She has to hear just to say things and hear things. And so they said, It's okay, if she talks through problems, she shouldn't talk through the problems that she's doing them, we won't think she's cheating, she needs to talk. And the minute she started doing that, and heard herself talking through the problem, she did so much better. And I just can't even say enough about teachers, I just love them. And I was always super supportive, because they went to a little school and it was so teacher focused, the teachers were so happy there. And I just felt like my children got wonderful attention. I just feel forever grateful. I just, and they really love me because I, you know, I wasn't I never complained, I never told them what to do. I was just kind of in awe of them. And funny story, I have a friend who just retired and she taught algebra mostly to eighth graders and seventh graders, and she always had amazing patients with the ones that couldn't get it. And I told her one day I said, I really wish I could have had you as a teacher way back then. I said, I know we're the same age, but it would have been great, because that's just such a gift to be able to relate to those different kinds of students. And to really try different, you know, just to sort of say, Oh, I'm not explaining it in a way that you get it like, that is such a brilliant way to approach it instead of No, let's go over it again. Exactly the same way. You know, like, there's such, like I said, that's very creative. I think it's very creative. So yeah, I'm a big teacher, person. I love teachers, I admire them. And they've been so supportive to me as I was in the classroom a lot. I did, like art education, they had like a separate Art Education Project. And the teachers were all for it. And it was so lovely, that we were just talking about that today, we were out to lunch. And somebody said, remember when the eighth graders came and sang songs for the kindergarteners? Really, really cool to be in the same building, because that just builds up the eighth graders, they feel really good. And the kindergarteners are like oh my gosh, the eighth graders came to see us. And I think it was really special. And they my kids could walk through the halls and still see their first grade teacher and their kindergarten teacher and their second grade teacher and say, Hi. So in some ways a K through eight is pretty great. Yeah, it is if you're able to do that, yeah, district is way too big for that. But one thing I think, is our effects teacher has a project where the I think it's kindergarteners, but I should probably double check before I say for sure. They draw out like a monster like picture. And then she has her students make them out of felt. And then the students come up to the middle school, and they get. And so even with them being in different buildings, there's just that connection. And they actually have something you know, like to hold on to. And it's like I drew that. And so he's really cool. Like, I think anytime you can connect, yeah. And give them a chance to lead is really important. It's so good for them. And I remember my mother, who was a therapist, she talked about how moved she was that the kids that got into trouble with drugs when they got a chance to talk to younger ones, or when they were in therapy and talking about their younger siblings. They didn't want you know, they never wanted that to happen to them. And so to give them a way to be part of that program, she was just moved to tears by how much they didn't want them to go through that. Yeah, they really do want to protect, protect the younger kids. Yeah. And I love that connecting. I mean, I just think that's brilliant to like, Oh, here's your film version of the monster you true. Yeah. So yeah, it sounds like you have a wonderful education system. You sound you sound like you have a really good bunch of schools. Yeah, well, and I love the teachers in my building. I mean, they're all just so amazing and really relationship driven. So this is not actually the school that I taught in. I was at the high school and then I ended up moving to a different district in the middle school. And when the principal called me, just to tell me he wanted to set up an interview. I think we talked for an hour like I don't think I've ever done that. I was asking him questions. And when I got off the phone, my husband was like, you guys definitely are speaking the same language like whatever whatever it is. You guys are speaking it and I was like, yes, they have all these things in place to be a team and build relationships and really advocate and I was like, this is this is I really hope that this is the job I get. Even a job but I would. Well it's such a calling. That's what I always notice with all the teachers that I work with. They're just it's not Our job, you know, it's not a job, it's a calling. Like being a nurse job, we would have quit a long time ago. It would be horrible if it's just, you have to have that love and that caring that unconditional regard is what our principal called it. He goes that unconditional regard for the students. And we just had a young friend become an RN, it was really hard. You know, she had to go to nursing school and work. And I feel the same thing about nurses that it's such a calling. It's such a hard job, but they care so much. So that thank God for nurses and teachers, I wish they would pay especially teachers, you know, I wish they were able to compensate teachers better. Yeah, nurses to me both about my both. Yeah. I just, I just really admire people that go into those kinds of professions, because I'm not sure I could handle it. I've done tutoring. That's That was fun. But yeah, I don't think I was just from subbing I could tell that I, I just can't give enough to, you know, a crowd of children and want to give, you know, to every child, so everybody's different. But it certainly seems like you're where you're supposed to be. Now, is there anything else you would like our listeners to know, any advice or any, any. So I guess I'd like to get advice to anyone who's thinking about possibly fostering or adopting. If you are married, definitely, you both have to be on the same page, it is way too hard to do, it's too exhausting. If you guys are not on the same page. And if you have kids that are older, they need to be on the same page too, because everyone has to make sure that they're making those kiddos feel welcome and loved and part of the family immediately. Um, the other thing I would say is, make sure you have your tribe, make sure you have the people that are going to love on you help you and the ones that are going to speak truth to you. Because sometimes when things get hard, people that love you and are really speaking out of love, they'll tell you, it's just too hard, you need to give up. And it's because they see that you're hurting, but that you need the people that are gonna say, I know this is hard, and we're here for you. But you need to keep going. And so those are the kinds of friends that you really need to find the ones that they'll they'll be there for you. They're not going to lie and say, Oh, this is easy. What are you talking about? But they'll also continue continuing to also show up in real ways. You know, yeah, they're in real ways. Like I have friends that I can call, you know, when things get really bad. And they'll be here, you know, and so you need to have that or find that or even if it's not necessarily people in your community, find an online like, there's so many ways that you need to find people that you can be open and honest with but that aren't just going to tell you to give up when it gets hard. I think that's excellent advice. It does. It takes a village it's not just your family, you need support. Well, I think we've learned a lot more than we knew in the beginning, my my listeners and I, and I thank you so much for coming on. It's been really interesting. And I love your story. And I'll let people know how to contact you in the show notes. And I'll put info about your book. And we're right on time for ordering the second one. We can pre order and we can expect it September 8. Yes. Oh good. That's so good. Ginger, it was a delight. Thank you so much. Thank you for having me. I truly appreciate your time. It was great.