I’m excited today to give you a peek inside Fostered by Tori Hope Petersen! Tori has received over 700,000 likes on a recent Instagram post in which she shares her powerful journey of being conceived out of abuse, overcoming trauma, and growing up in foster care… but her story does not end there!
After a faith-filled track coach invested and mentored Tori in high school, she went on to not only become a Track and Field All-American, but also to join the 3% of foster youth who graduate from college. Today, Tori is a foster mom, adoptive mom, and biological mom, and works with nonprofits, ministries, and beyond advocating for foster care reform, adoption awareness, and help for vulnerable populations. She was also crowned Mrs. Universe in 2021!
FOSTERED by Tori Hope Petersen
GENRE: Inspirational Non-Fiction/Memoir
PUBLISHER: B&H Books
RELEASE DATE: October 18, 2022
If you’re wondering if God can truly move in the life of someone with all the odds stacked against her, look no further than Tori Hope Petersen.
Tori grew up in the foster care system, a bi-racial child in a confusing and volatile world. Growing up with a mentally ill mother and living in twelve different foster homes, nothing was in her favor. And yet, even with a minuscule chance of graduating college and a great risk of being homeless, jobless, and on drugs, Tori overcame every negative stereotype and assumption that attacked her identity.
However, Tori will tell you she did not overcome. Christ did. In the face of the storm, Jesus made a way for Tori to find profound hope, deep faith, renewed purpose, and a loving family, too. After so many years of being on one side of foster care as a child, Tori is now on the other side as a foster mom, adoptive mom, and biological mom. On top of that, she became a Track and Field All-American in college and now works with nonprofits, ministries, and beyond advocating for foster care reform, adoption advocacy, and help for vulnerable populations.
If you want to hear the true tale of an unlikely overcomer, this book is for you. If you want to learn more about the foster care system from a former foster youth’s perspective, this book is for you. If you want to better dwell in the reality of your own spiritual adoption by our Heavenly Father and better understand the orphan and the widow that He loves dearly, this book is for you. Ultimately, if you want to remember who God is, and what He can do through the most unlikely of people, Fostered is for you.
Moving forward, I didn’t mind as much attending church and reading devotions when Gigi asked. Neither the church nor Gigi was pushy about who and what I needed to be. If anything, I was pushy about what I needed of Gigi. My pursuit of the championship made me high maintenance. I needed running shoes, track spikes, warmer practice clothes, lifting gloves, healthy food, and a lot more. Without a grumble, Gigi got me what I needed to succeed in the sport I loved.
Gigi was unlike my other foster parents in that she never seemed selfish about money, and if she didn’t purchase something for me, she explained why, which made it clear to me she wasn’t just fostering me to build her bank account.
Gigi cared for me a lot. Though she slept hot and I slept cold, she bought me a space heater for my room. And when we discovered that it turned off after a certain amount of time, Gigi woke up in the middle of the night to sneak in my room and turn it on. She was sacrificial but not overbearing.
She patiently answered my questions about God and church and prayed over our meals, which compelled me to start praying, even though I didn’t believe much in whom I was praying to. Praying was more of a superstition, but I thought maybe I could make some kind of deal with God, so I prayed, “If You allow me to win state and get a scholarship to college, I promise I’ll give You all the glory.” I really wasn’t sure what that meant, but it felt like the right thing to say, and I heard something like it in church, so I prayed it every night before I went to bed.
At some point, I started reading the Bible I had received in the juvenile detention center. Why and how I held onto it throughout all the moves, I credit to God, especially because I have never been good at keeping track of my belongings. The stories of people suffering only to become blessings to others and to bring glory to God stood out to me. Job’s story was the most compelling to me because he had faith.
He hadn’t done anything wrong, but God took everything away from Job, only to bless Job with more when he remained faithful. Though I wasn’t faithful enough to be considered a Job, I did feel like I related to Job—like maybe family after family was stripped from me because God had something more for me, to bring Himself glory. Then there was Esther, who was an orphan, chosen to be a queen. She could have played the victim and held onto bitterness, but instead she used her voice to save the lives of many.
The words “for such a time as this” stuck with me (Esther 4:14). Along with the words in Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” As I learned these Bible stories and more, I slowly started to realize that my suffering could be a gift rather than a curse.
I see now how and why God ordered my foster care placements like He did. In my eleventh home with Sally, I witnessed Christians who proclaimed the name of Jesus but failed to reflect Him in ways that would draw me toward Him. In contrast, Gigi was a woman of God, who proclaimed the name of Jesus, and the way she lived her life drew me toward Him.
Throughout this time of reading Scripture and going to church, I understood that Jesus suffered, and through Jesus’s suffering on the cross, God was glorified and His love manifested. I realized that through my suffering in the crosses I bear, God too would be glorified and His love could manifest.
The worst thing that ever happened in the world, Jesus dying on the cross, is the thing that saves me and allows me to understand that God loves me. The worst things that happen to us can open our eyes to how much God loves us.
Compared to many other orphans and Christians who suffer persecution around the world, I understand my suffering is actually little. In my pain I began to understand that God is love and that Christ truly understands our pain, weakness, and suffering more than any person on the planet can. I came to understand suffering only when I came to understand the love of my Abba, and I only understood the love of my Abba as I came to understand suffering.
Tori Hope Petersen, Fostered
B&H Publishing, © 2022. Used by permission.
Tori Hope Petersen (named Mrs. Universe in 2021; Track and Field All-American) is a former foster youth letting her Abba be known. She is passionate about foster care reform, adoption advocacy, vulnerable populations, and seeing the love of God change people’s lives! Tori speaks across the nation sharing her powerful story, but her favorite form of art and communication is writing. Tori and her husband, Jacob, have the three sweetest kids: a biological son and daughter, Leyonder and Ezzeri, and an adopted adult son, Sar. Follow her on Instagram @torihopepetersen.
B&H Publishing is offering a print copy of Fostered by Tori Hope Petersen to THREE of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
What about you? What makes you want to read Fostered by Tori Hope Petersen?