How TBRI Helps Us Surrender Control in Foster Care

Anyone who serves in foster care knows you must be willing to surrender control. TBRI is one tool that can help.
By Emma Sugita
March 21, 2024 • 3 min read

During any foster care journey, there is a pivotal moment when we must relinquish control and allow God to guide our steps. This surrender is not an act of weakness but a profound demonstration of faith and trust in God’s wisdom and sovereignty.

As Christians, our call to foster is not just about providing physical care. It’s about surrendering our plans to God and allowing Him to use us as vessels of His love and compassion.

In this blog post, I’ll briefly explore how letting God guide our call to foster care aligns with biblical teachings and the principles of Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI).

But first, what is TBRI?

What is TBRI?

TBRI stands for Trust-Based Relational Intervention, an approach designed to address the complex needs of children who have experienced trauma, abuse, or neglect. Developed by Dr. Karyn Purvis and Dr. David Cross, TBRI emphasizes building trust, establishing healthy relationships, and providing structure and support. It integrates principles from attachment theory, neuroscience, and child development to promote healing and growth.

TBRI uses Empowering Principles to address physical needs, Connecting Principles for attachment needs, and Correcting Principles to disarm fear-based behaviors. Learn more about these foundational principles.

By prioritizing safety and connection, TBRI aims to create a nurturing environment where children can thrive and develop secure attachments.


How TBRI helps us surrender control in foster care


TBRI’s “Empowering Principles” emphasize the need to help children recognize their need for a sense of control over their lives.

When you empower someone else, especially a child, you have to give up the power you possess.

In other words, you surrender.

Similarly, anyone who serves in foster care faces a pivotal moment when we must relinquish control and allow God to guide our steps. This surrender is not an act of weakness but a profound demonstration of faith, trusting in His wisdom and sovereignty.

As caregivers, we recognize that ultimate control lies not in our hands but in God’s providence. Surrendering control to Him allows us to operate from a place of trust, knowing that He is orchestrating the outcomes for the well-being of the children we serve.

Scripture is replete with examples of God’s faithfulness and His ability to work through ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things. In Jeremiah 29:11, God declares, “For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah reminds us that God has a unique plan for his people. This includes foster care and all the ups and downs it brings. By surrendering our plans to God, we open ourselves to His divine guidance and provision.

Engaging in foster care with a reliance on God’s guidance also requires us to cultivate a spirit of humility and obedience. Proverbs 3:5-6 instructs us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Our understanding is limited, but God’s wisdom is infinite.

Relying on God’s wisdom is an act of faith and obedience. It requires us to let go of our agenda and trust that God’s plans are far greater than anything we could imagine. As we surrender to His will, we can find peace and confidence knowing that He is faithful to fulfill His promises and lead us every step of the way.

Surrendering control is not a passive act. It’s an active expression of faith. In James 4:7, we are exhorted to “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” This is very active! James emphasizes the importance of submitting to God’s authority and resisting the temptation to rely solely on our strength.

In the context of fostering a child, this means surrendering our fears, doubts, and insecurities to God and trusting that he will equip us with everything we need to fulfill his call on our lives.

When we surrender to God’s guidance, we embody everything TBRI is about. This frees us from serving ourselves to become vessels through which God’s love and compassion flow, creating a nurturing environment where children flourish.

Open yourself up to God’s direction

Answering the call to engage in foster care is a significant step not only for the children we serve but our own lives. When we surrender our plans to the Lord, we can follow his divine direction and provision. As we embark on this journey, let us remember the words of Proverbs 16:9, “In their hearts, humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”

May we continue to trust in God’s guidance and walk confidently in the path He has set before us knowing that He is always with us, guiding us with His love and grace.

Emma Sugita

Emma is the Training and Licensing Director at Christian Heritage. She is a certified TIPS MAPP instructor and TBRI Practitioner. Emma's passion is educating and teaching others through felt safety and trust.