how to adopt

Find Your Inner Talent

It all started when she was eight years old.

She said, “... When I was eight, I got to start vocal lessons with a very big, performance vocal coach who taught by a guy named Seth Riggs … who made Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder … I did my vocal coaching for 10 years … At eighteen, I moved to Nashville, ready and confident to prove what I have learned …”

When did you first recognize your special talents or gifts? What are you doing with them today?


EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS:

  • On Purpose: Combine your passion with a purpose

  • On Music: “It saved my life and it became my life”

  • On Growth: Don’t be afraid to ask for help

  • On Personal Development: Be yourself


Want to Connect with Amy?

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Keep Moving Forward

Transitions.

She was in 63 different foster homes between four and 21 years of age.

63 different placements, a number that is simply unimaginable to most, if not all, of us.

She said, “The experience going through 63 foster homes was a tough one to swallow because I knew what I was entitled to … and I also had to face the fact that there are going to be times that the people who are responsible for providing services to you, providing care to you, don’t love you …”

But, despite all of the challenges and the constant transitions, it was through the foster care system that Felicia Wilson ended up meeting a foster parent who changed her life for the better.

A foster mom that helped Felicia embrace her own identity, and feel comfortable in her own skin.

A foster mom that helped Felicia realize the importance of accepting the cards she has been dealt with in this lifetime and figure out a way to play them to her advantage.

A foster mom that helped Felicia develop confidence in her own abilities, which led her on an unexpected journey of starting, “Fear Everything & Rise,” a platform to better prepare young people affected by foster care with the tools necessary to grow and live prosperous lives beyond the child welfare system.

I asked, “If you were given one word to describe your foster mom, what would that word be?”

She said, “Loving … As a kid growing up not having that stable mother figure in your life … being a kid that went through 63 foster homes … I’ve always wanted that simple hug … I always wanted to know that someone accepted my flaws … I wanted to know that no matter what decisions I made, right or wrong, at the end of the day I wouldn’t be judged … I wanted to know that if I fell short of anything I tried in life … somebody would still accept me and love me the same…”

If YOU were given one WORD to describe either of your parents, what would that word be?


EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS:

  • On Independence: With freedom comes great responsibility

  • On Growth: Push yourself outside of your comfort zone

  • On Letting Go: Let your wall down and let others in to help you

  • On Acceptance: Accept the cards you’ve been dealt in this life, and learn how to play them


Want to Connect with Felicia?

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Embrace Who You Are

He had three different names before he was three months old.

He said, “The first name I ever had was Jeremy Jones… In the foster homes … I was Toby … Now my given name, Aaron Parchem…”

For Aaron Parchem, silver medalist at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, adapting to new environments was not an option, but rather a necessity.

It is a skill that not only helped Aaron Parchem during his early childhood years, but also during his time as a figure skater.

He said, “In skating… when I tell people that I was a figure skater for the first time, you get kind of a blank look like, ‘Is this guy messing with me?’ … I’ve come to expect it and that is what it is … I don’t look like a figure skater … I didn't even when I did it … I am a straight, black male in skating… When you’re unique, you’re going to elicit unique responses…”

Embracing his identity and surrounding himself with giving people were the only ways to break through some of the remarks Aaron had received along the way as a figure skater, a profession that has taught him life lessons that cannot be replaced.

Look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, “Am I happy with who I have become?”


EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS:

  • On Challenges: “People rise to the occasion when they’re challenged”

  • On Empowerment: Live in the service of others

  • On Support Groups: Find people who’ll support you no matter what

  • On Self: Develop a good understanding of who you are on the inside (feelings, values, and tools that you can use to accomplish your goals)

Seeing is Believing

“Anything is possible if you believe in yourself.”

He said, “I didn’t want to be a Catholic nun, but I wanted to be the Executive Director… I wanted to be the person who was able to make things happen for children… So, at 12 years old I started signing my name, ‘Nathaniel J. Williams, Executive Director.’”

He consciously thought of the end result, felt what it would feel like once he did achieve the end goal, and spoke it into the universe every opportunity he was given.

12 years later, his dream became a reality.

“Executive Director,” a title that became a part of Nathaniel J. Williams’ identity, and has been a part of it ever since.

As I was once told, “Seeing is believing.”

For Nathaniel J. Williams, it was no different.

In fact, one could argue that it is through visualization, Nathaniel J. Williams was able to acquire all of the positions he has had throughout his life including direct care worker, foster parent, nonprofit and for-profit organization founder, talk show host, and international motivational speaker.

What can you do today that will put you one step closer toward achieving your goal?


EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS:

  • On Traumatic Experiences: Embrace them

  • On Environment: “Your five closest friends are often going to be an indicator of how successful you’re going to be”

  • On Visualization: Think it, feel it, act on it

  • On Gratitude: Be grateful for what you do have, not focus on what you don’t have


Want to Connect with Nathaniel?

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Breaks, Breakthroughs, and Breakdowns

Where do you come from?
 
A question that some of us are fortunate to have an answer to, others not so much.
 
A question that sparks a story deep inside our hearts; a story that gives others hope to not give up when times get tough.
 
He said, “My mother… at 18/19 years old… had a six-month-old baby boy, $100, a plane ticket, a friend’s name in Chicago and she decided to start our life…”
 
Not the most ideal beginning, but sometimes the only thing we have is starting where we are, using what we have, and doing what we can.
 
For John Robinson, it was no different.
 
He continued by saying, “I believe people should overcome less.”
 
A motto that has become the guiding force behind his current work: to connect those who seek with those who raise their hand to give.


EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS:
On Family: A collective energy of those that care about each other
On Purpose: Focus on present-purpose
On Overcoming Odds: Trust yourself
On Growth: Ask yourself, “How do I?”


Want to Connect with John?

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Where There's A Will, There's A Way

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
 
A mindset that allows us to get through life’s toughest obstacles.
 
A mindset that allowed JT McCormick to overcome racism, poverty, and abuse to achieve the American dream.
 
A dream that taught JT the importance of not being defined by your past.
 
He said, “My name is JeVon Thomas McCormick. I’m half white, half black, I had no college degree, my father was a pimp, my mother was an orphan.”
 
A set of labels that would stop some, if not most of us, from going after our dreams.
 
But, JT McCormick was different.
 
He decided to use these labels in order to get to where he wanted to go.
 
He said, “I was whatever I needed to be in order to get to where I wanted to go.”
 
What’s stopping you from achieving the ideal version of yourself? 


EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS:
On Abuse: Learn how to avoid potentially abusive situations
On Perfectionism: Done is better than perfect
On Identity: “I was whatever I needed to be in order to get to where I wanted to go”
On Hardships: “If I made it through it once, I can do it again”


Want to Connect with JT?

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Become A Student Of Life

What defines a great leader?
 
A question that some, if not most of us, seek an answer to.
 
A question that more often than not will lead you on a life-long journey of trial and error in figuring out what makes you an effective leader.
 
For Jim Johnson, it was no different.
 
He said, “Leadership can be learned… Like anything in life you can become better at it by making it a study…”
 
A level of commitment to a process with no definite destination.
 
A level of commitment to becoming a student of life at all times.
 
A level of commitment that has led Jim to seek answers to the following questions in order to see the larger picture:

How do you influence people in leading them in a positive direction?
What are you all about as a person?
Are you going to lead by example?
Are you clear about your core values?
Are you going to find ways to add value to others?
 
“Start by trying to make a positive difference in one person”


EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS:
On Relationships: Learn to build trust
On Trust: “Do what you say and say what you do”
On Leadership: “You can become better at leadership by making it a study”
On Influence: Find ways to add value and help others become better


Want to Connect with Jim?

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Forgiveness

Abuse.
 
An act he simply couldn’t escape during his early years.
 
He said, “I grew up in a fear-filled, violent background. My father was physically abusive to me, my mom was as well… I didn’t know what a loving family looked like, but I knew from a very early age that what I was experiencing was wrong.”
 
An environment that made him feel unsafe.
An environment that made him feel as if he was constantly walking on eggshells.
An environment that made him afraid to make mistakes.
 
A set of experiences that made him go from victim to survivor to advocate.
A set of experiences that led him to write his latest book, “Killing My Father Then Finding Him.”
 
A book that started a painful, but much-needed conversation.
A book that gave others a voice and helped them understand that they’re not alone.
 
He said, “I had so many people contact me… hundreds of people contact me… some I knew, some I didn’t know… emails… I got a phone call… I got contact from people saying, ‘I grew up the same way, but I always thought I was the only one.’”
 
Everyone has a story.
Live yours.


EPISODE HIGHLIGHTS:

  • On Forgiveness: Learn to forgive because it’ll free you to tell the truth

  • On Judgment: Approach people wanting to know “who they are”

  • On Discipline & Punishment: “Discipline is rooted with love ... punishment is rooted with anger”

  • On Hardships: Don’t give up


Want to Connect with John?

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