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What Tori Hope Petersen Wants You To Know About Being ‘Fostered’

The foster care system gets mentioned in discussions by people who have little to no knowledge of its reality. Tori Hope Petersen gives a firsthand account of the system and how it shaped her in her debut memoir, “Fostered.”

Petersen is a wife, a mother to three, and has also been a foster parent. She is also a former foster youth and foster care advocate. Over her years in the system and working with the system, her faith and passion have given her the strength necessary to serve these less-than-fortunate children.

Petersen took the time to talk with The Federalist during a short break from helping her younger sister move in. The sisters spent their early days together in foster care before being separated. This year, they were reunited and Petersen welcomed her sister into her home where they now live together. During a follow-up conversation, Petersen’s son hung out on the side while enjoying a bowl of spaghetti as the two sat in the summer sun. It was apparent her family is her everything.

Petersen talks about her upcoming book, “Fostered,” and how her journey through the foster care system and faith journey have shaped her.

Fostered” will be available for purchase on Aug. 30, 2022 on Amazon or at Barnes and Noble, Walmart, or Target.

Why did you initially decide to write “Fostered”?

I wanted to write the book because I wanted youth in foster care to understand that they weren’t victims, that they were victors, that they could overcome the hardest things that were set up against them through Christ. As I wrote the book, and as I began to write on social media, I realized that I was educating foster parents, child welfare workers, lawyers, people who worked in the child welfare space, and just people who have an interest in foster care. I didn’t intend for the audience to be what it is now. I just really wanted to write a book that was kind of like the book that I needed when I was in care. Now knowing my audience is broader than I anticipated, I now hope that the book encourages people to step into the hard parts of foster care and to love those around them in an unbridled, fearless kind of way. As people read, they will see that’s what was done for me by others.

What is your experience interacting with your audience who’s learning about your story and about the foster care system for the first time through your story?

It’s mostly just from my social media platform. When it comes to social media in general, the people who read and probably take the most from my posts are just the general population and people who have been interested in foster care, but I think have been scared. I get a lot of messages and I mean, it’s just like, so amazing, so many messages of people saying, “We’ve been interested in foster care for a long time. We’ve been scared or we haven’t done it because X, Y, and Z. Because of your post or your story, we’re getting involved.”

One of the themes that you taught and touched on in your book is just the importance of strong mother and father figures and a strong family. Could you talk a little bit more about that?

I don’t even know what to say about it. It seems so obvious that when we have those supports, the kind of unconditional love that parents give at home, that’s what a strong family is. Then, we don’t go searching for it in other places. When we don’t have to go searching for it in other places, it feels like there’s more stability around our self-worth and who we were created to be. And research shows there’s so much that supports this. I just think that a strong faith and family is really the foundation of a person, but that doesn’t mean a person can’t be strong if they don’t have a strong family either. That’s why it’s important that we have strong communities.

In your book, you recount when you met your father’s side of the family and you felt that sense of community even though you hadn’t really known them up until then. That, along with other things that you touched on in the book, was a very emotional and personal moment. What was it like revisiting those memories?

There were moments that it was hard, but honestly, it was so healing. When people say writing memoirs is cathartic, I didn’t really know what that meant. I always used to have this recurring dream that I was locked in someplace—in the post office or my house or jail—and I couldn’t get out and my mom was yelling at me like how she yelled at me when I was a kid. I’ve had that dream since I went into foster care, probably at least once a month. After I finished writing my book, I had that dream where I was locked somewhere and my mom was yelling at me, and I walked out. I’ve never had the recurring dream since, and I feel like that encompasses what this book has done for me. It’s just been healing. I think that’s kind of what counseling does for us. It helps us process things, and I think that’s what the book helped me do in a deeper way than I already had. It helped me process things all over again.

Unfortunately, not everyone can make that same peace with the past, and some people don’t even have the resources to rehabilitate their minds after traumatic experiences. This is especially true for children in the foster care system. What’s one of the biggest changes you would like to see in the foster care system going forward?

Every foster kid has a file, and that file follows them everywhere they go. It usually says the worst things that have ever happened to them and the worst things they’ve ever done. We know that first impressions are so important, right? Like when we go into a job interview and we have a bad first impression, we think, “Oh how do I fix that?” When a kid has a file, they can’t fix that. It’s just the same things that get brought up to the person that they want to form a deep relationship with. They never get a new start. They never truly get a new beginning. I think how we see children is so valuable for how they’re going to see themselves. I think that we need to do something with the file so that children don’t have that following them around in a way that plagues their identity, because healing really begins and ends with identity.

Poor conditions in the foster care system are a big part of the pro-abortion argument. What is your response to that?

My response is that any real social justice advocacy or any real social justice movement, it aims to end the suffering, not the potential suffering.

What do you hope your readers walk away with after reading through “Fostered”?

My greatest hope behind the book is that youth who read it, parents who read it, and people who read it understand the value that each individual has, that there’s a purpose and plan for their life, and that no matter what they’ve been through, God loves them. And knowing that, they love others. People and God loving me is my motivation to love others the best I can. I want that love to just continue. I think it goes back to that piece of identity that no matter where you come from, no matter what’s been done to you, no matter how you were conceived, you have value, you can be loved, you can love. There’s a plan and purpose for your life. I just want people to know who God is and who God has created us to be.


Elise McCue is an intern at The Federalist and student majoring in multimedia journalism and professional and technical writing. She also reports on the Southwest Virginia music scene for The Roanoke Times. You can follow her on twitter @elisemccue or contact her at mccueelise@gmail.com

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YouTuber Demolishes Dutch National Broadcaster’s Abortion Propaganda: “Facts Don’t Care About Your Feelings”

The pro-life movement in the Netherlands is experiencing a resurgence among its youth. In response, a Dutch National Broadcaster NOS published a slickly-produced mini-documentary to persuade young people to change their views on abortion. A young Dutch Christian YouTuber responded with a video shredding the false claims and manipulation in the NOS’s ad.

The Pro-Life Resurgence in the Netherlands

Since 2016, the ‘March for Life’ in the Netherlands has grown enormously, attracting consistently over 10,000 participants (before the COVID-19 pandemic struck). This is despite stringent opposition in a country that is considered one of the most socially progressive in the world.

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Researchers from Tilburg University found that Dutch young people between 20 and 40 are more likely to be pro-life than the older generations. This is despite abortion being fully legalised in the country since 1984, almost four decades ago.

Tragically, young people in the Netherlands have no memory or experience of their country before the murder of unborn babies was made legal. Now, almost 30,000 babies are killed each year in the country.

In response to the rise in pro-life young people, one of the Netherlands’ government-funded public broadcasters, Nederlandse Omroep Stichting, produced a blatantly ideological mini-documentary clip attempting to explain and dissuade young people from their pro-life stance.

The video claimed to present the “truth about the abortion debate”, while actively stigmatising and maligning young people who disagreed with the dominant pro-abortion narrative.

Young People Leading the Pro-Life Charge

But Carel de Lange (a.k.a. The Thinking Dutchman) was quick to call out the broadcaster’s blatant propaganda.

De Lange has degrees in both science and philosophy, and, last year, he started uploading videos to his YouTube Channel, The Thinking Dutchman, where he presents “thoughtful commentary on anti-Christian content”.

In response to the NOS documentary, he uploaded a video entitled “The Real Truth About the Abortion Debate (Response to Dutch Documentary)” in which he systematically debunked the NOS propaganda piece.

Throughout his video, he showed that the NOS documentary was guilty of Bulverism — a term coined by C.S. Lewis to refer to a particularly dangerous rhetorical fallacy.

De Lange also demonstrated that the anti-life side was sloppy with — and sometimes outright inaccurate — in their usage of terminology and that they consistently let people’s feelings get in the way of the truth. He borrows the now-famous line from US cultural commentator, Ben Shapiro: “Facts Don’t Care About Your Feelings”.

Some in the pro-abortion camp argue that, while unborn babies are humans, they cannot be considered “persons”. De Lange also responds to this claim.

You can watch the full video below:

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In his concluding remarks, de Lange argued that the “mini-documentary is a manifestation of the post-truth culture we live in”.

“The focus is not on the truth about abortion itself, but on people’s beliefs about it. The makers of this video are guilty of Bulverism because they assume that the pro-life side is wrong and then they give psychological reasons as to why more and more young people become pro-life. This is completely backwards because you must first show that someone is wrong before you start explaining why he is wrong.”

Thank God for people like Carel de Lange as well as ​​Eva Vlaardingerbroek, whom Bill Muehlenberg highlighted in his recent article. These Christian champions continue to fight in spite of the fiercest opposition.

If they can do it in one of the most anti-Christian western countries in the world, how much more should we be courageous in standing for righteousness here in Australia.

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Photo by Colin Maynard on Unsplash.

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Communism is a Fashion Accessory for the Young Woke

Teen Vogue’s recent article on abolishing private property is utterly wrongheaded. The columnist has no concept of basic economic principles.

Envy used to be one of the deadly sins. But it is no longer a sin, it’s a virtue. And it’s no longer called envy. It’s now called “social justice”.

Teen Vogue featured an article entitled: “Abolish Landlords. Housing is a Human Right” by which the editorial team really mean, “Give Us Your Place to Live Rent-Free”.

Teen Vogue - cancel rent

Communist, er, columnist Kandist Mallet wrote:

“While we’re working to abolish the police, we must also work to dismantle what the police were put here to protect: property. What is more evident of the legacy of settler colonialism and its violence than the idea of the ownership of land?”

Ignoring the fact that it’s disingenuous to argue against the abuse of indigenous people’s property rights while simultaneously arguing for the abolition of property rights in general — reading this, you couldn’t be blamed for thinking: “Wow, there’s free stuff up at the offices of Teen Vogue! Ignore security and the hipsters pedalling at their cycle desks, they want you to have that iMac Retina 5K.”

I’m not sure how Teen Vogue’s advertisers feel about the magazine encouraging its readers to eschew possessions, but if Kandist Mallet feels so strongly about abolishing the idea of private property, why doesn’t she lead by example and reassign her property to the collective?

Oh wait — Kandist doesn’t own any property!

Suddenly “abolish the police” makes sense.

Property Wrongs

Kandist wants to abolish police who, by her own admission, are the only ones standing between her greedy hands and your hard-earned property.

She writes:

“We need a housing movement based on a rejection of the construct that any one person should own this earth’s land.”

Her use of the phrase “housing movement” is revealing. She is arguing for a world in which your house moves to her. “Give me your stuff” was always the goal of Marxism.

I’m not sure when Teen Vogue — which is supposed to be a fashion magazine for young people with a cervix — became the Romper Room edition of Pravda, but Kandist Mallet is a typical collectivist, by which I mean, lazy, envious and entitled.

Unwilling to work and save so as to own a property, she demands that others who have worked and saved have their properties taken from them and given to her. Because “fairness”.

Wait until Kandist finds out that state-provided housing for all doesn’t mean luxury condos with pools and gymnasiums, but three families per unit with bedsheets to divide among them and elevators that don’t work.

Cancel Everything

Warming to her theme, the Teen Rogue writer continues:

“We should cancel rent outright as this pandemic rages. And we should work toward a world where landlords no longer hold this sort of power over people’s lives.”

Good idea. We should also cancel rental car fees and work toward a world where Hertz no longer holds that sort of power over people’s lives.

We should cancel grocery prices so we can work toward a world where Woolworths no longer hold that sort of power over people’s lives.

And let’s cancel room rates at the Hilton because five-star hotels shouldn’t hold that sort of power over people’s lives.

When Kandist argues that one group of people shouldn’t have power over another group, what she really means is that no one should be able to deny her anything she wants.

Illogical Equation

Kandist promoted her article on Twitter by asking:

“If my rent money is paying for my landlord’s mortgage, shouldn’t I be part owner?”

No, Comrade Kandist.

Your landlord owns the property because your landlord took the risk to build the house and your landlord lives with the responsibility to maintain the house. As a reward, your landlord gets to make a profit.

For paying rent, you get to live in a nice place without any risk that property prices might fall and without any responsibility for rates or maintenance.

And if you don’t like that, you could always try owning something.

But using Kandist’s logic, if for some crazy reason I used my money to buy a copy of Teen Vogue, shouldn’t I be her editor?

She ought be careful what she wishes for.

An article in Teen Vogue calling for the abolition of private property just goes to show that communism is a fashion accessory for the young woke. Hopefully, it goes out of style soon — like before we get to the millions of state executions part.

The good news for Teen Vogue and its journalists is that jellyfish have survived for millions of years without a brain.

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Originally published at The James Macpherson Report.
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Photo by RODNAE Productions.

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Straight Talk About Casual Sex

Research shows that the consequences of casual sex are long-lasting and extremely damaging, even with the use of contraception. We owe it to our youth and their progeny to reinstitute the value of sex within the sacred bonds of marriage.

It’s not news to anybody these days — not if they watch any television or glance at the covers of the magazines lining the checkout counters at the grocery stores — that we live in a sex-saturated society where supposedly the majority of young people are “doing it,” more often than not without “benefit of marriage.”

The Playboy Philosophy and its derivatives are trumpeted by a thousand voices that glamorise casual sex, while most of the shrinking mainline churches present pitifully watered-down messages about morality that confuse rather than clarify.

Academic institutions, particularly the women’s studies programs, promote the idea that marriage is optional and young people are advised to “just do it!” The secular mantra, heard from middle school on up, is that sex will make you popular and happy; it’s great recreation that is free and fun.

There is a mountain of media out there promoting a phony philosophy about the joys of casual, risky sexual experimentation; one need look no further than the junk advice featured in magazines like Cosmopolitan to see just how pernicious it is.

Even the relationship advice columns in many daily newspapers spread the expectation of sexual activity even for the youngest of our teens. This assault will not be neutralised until a brigade of those who know better find their voices to convince today’s Sex in the City generation of young women that only discipline and restraint — it is having an attitude that says, “I won’t mess up my tomorrows by fooling around today” — will open the gateway to achieving their dreams and ambitions.

The time for some straight talk about casual sex is long overdue. Every young person needs to know the following three truths:

Truth #1: Casual sex impairs the ability to establish a lasting emotional bond.

When natural human emotional responses are repeatedly denied, the person is hardened and the capacity to bond is weakened. Dr Donald Joy published groundbreaking research in the early 80s and has updated it periodically in the intervening years.

He chronicles the ways that intimacy produces bonding. His research indicates that human beings respond to sexual intercourse by bonding, and they are driven to make that bond permanent and exclusive.

Dr Joy reported on the work of a researcher at a hospital clinic in Detroit who worked with 1,000 couples for 10 years studying their marital problems and recording their sexual histories. He concluded that sexual intercourse is constructive only within marriage.

His evidence is overwhelming that one or the other of the partners in casual sex (usually the girl or woman) experiences immediate emotional pain even in the absence of acknowledged injury.

The experience of casual sexual intimacy produces memories that can contaminate future relationships and create lingering problems later on, when the person eventually marries. When the married couples in his research had problems, he said, “The pain in the marriages was rooted in their promiscuity.”

Truth #2: Casual sex leaves young people alone and lonely.

Counsellors tell us that sexually active girls are three times more likely to be depressed than their abstinent peers. Among the boys, sexually active ones are depressed twice as often. Sexually active teens are more likely than their abstinent counterparts to attempt suicide (girls 15 per cent to five per cent and boys six per cent to one per cent).

But the most telling fact is that the majority of teenagers, 72 per cent of the girls and 55 per cent of the boys, acknowledge regret over early sexual activity and wish that they had waited longer to have sex. So much for the cultural mantra that “sex is no big deal!”

On another front, replacing marriage with casual sex is especially harmful to young women’s long-term well-being. The marriage rate in the United States has dropped by nearly 50 per cent since 1970. In 1940, less than eight per cent of all households consisted of people living alone; now more than a quarter do. The number of unmarried couples living together temporarily in the U.S. is 10 times as large today as in 1970.

Truth #3: The so-called “Sexual Revolution” has produced dramatic increases in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Sadly, 65 per cent of STDs appear in young people under age 25, and fully 20 per cent of all AIDS cases are among college-aged young people. In the U.S., over 15 million new cases of STDs appear annually, a number that is triple what it was six years ago. Having three or more sexual partners in a lifetime increases a woman’s odds of cervical cancer by 15 times.

The National Center for Health Statistics analysed data from the 2002 National Survey of Family Growth and found two startling facts. Among young women who used contraception at first intercourse, the probability of giving birth at each age is roughly half that of those who did not use contraception. Further, the probability of a sexually active female giving birth approximately doubles between 18-20 years of age whether the young woman uses contraception at first intercourse or not.

A young person’s choices about sex reveal his or her attitudes about others. Is sexual activity merely fun and games? No. Treating sex as something casual can never actually make it a casual matter. The Scriptures raise the age-old question, “Can a man take fire to his bosom, and his clothes not be burned?” (Proverbs 6:27, NKJV)

Sexual intercourse can be an intense and pleasurable experience, but it is more — much more. Sexual intimacy triggers the strongest and deepest, most exhilarating passions in life. Its purpose is to bond a man and a woman into “one flesh” in the deepest intimacy that human beings can share.

Further, sex is designed to both create life and build a strong relationship to protect and provide for that life. Little wonder that the Creator fashioned the means of creating life in such a way that it is one of the most awesome forces in our lives and then linked it to marriage so as to signify to us, “Priceless. Handle with great care.”

It is impossible to ignore or dictate to nature. Young people need to choose carefully. Sex can never be free; choices always have consequences. We cannot expect young people to act responsibly when adults — whose thinking is sometimes clouded by their rationalisation of their own hurtful and toxic sexual experimentation — are irresponsible by not providing the best possible information to encourage self-discipline and self-control, which are the surest keys to young peoples’ long-term well-being.

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Originally published at American Thinker. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels.

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