17 Jun A Lifestyle of Stewardship
“Our responsibility is to provide for them above and beyond, and give them tools to be healthy.”
John Ryan and Bethany Seaman began fostering in 2012 and learned through their first placement how vital a healthy, stable environment is for the kids in their care. They found early on that a healthy lifestyle is linked not only to a physical change in their kids, but an emotional one as well. This started them on a journey to understand health and its influence on their child’s emotional, physical, and mental stability.
Growing up, John Ryan and Bethany were both raised to be conscious of their health, eating well and working out. When they got married they maintained their normal routines, not needing to evaluate their choices until they began trying to have a family. When the Seaman’s didn’t become pregnant as quickly as they hoped, they were motivated to understand and address some of the changes they could make to support the process. As they researched, their lifestyle of health began to change, and eventually the size of their household as well.
The Seamans’ first foster placements were two young children; a girl who was malnourished and a boy who was over-eating and hoarding food to cope with the trauma he had experienced. Since the Seaman’s already sought a healthy lifestyle, they unintentionally introduced their children to healthier foods, starting with fruit smoothies every morning. Slowly the kids’ cravings began to shift and after about eight weeks, they saw a dramatic change in their emotional and physical stability, as well as, their sense of security. They began to crave good, fresh food and their foster son’s hoarding eventually even decreased.
Since their first placement, every child for whom they’ve cared for has gone through this “regimen.”
The Seamans have seen a dramatic shift in their foster children’s mental, emotional, and physical health. In fact, they have even noticed a transformation with their personality. John Ryan and Bethany passionately believe that health and nutrition are important for kids in foster care because it offers stability in a situation that is broken. Their bodies cannot cope with trauma when they are not eating good food and they also can’t choose for themselves what is best.
John Ryan and Bethany have seen for themselves that giving their kids a healthy lifestyle will ultimately provide them a better opportunity to have a stable life. However, they are quick to say that they don’t judge or point fingers at people and families who aren’t the same; instead they want to offer practical steps based on what they’ve learned. Some of these steps include starting with healthy substitutes when kids first come into their home, such as offering them smoothies each morning. John Ryan and Bethany drink a green smoothie (full of veggies) in front of their kids who then also want one because they see their parents drinking them.
The Seamans agree that their relationship with the Lord has changed as their view of health has shifted.
It has given them a new perspective on stewardship and how that correlates to health in general. Ultimately, they want to honor God and their relationship with creation by eating the good things that He has given us.
Suggested resources provided by the Seamans:
Fed Up: a documentary on Sugar consumption, childhood obesity and ADD. You can watch it on Netflix here.
Food colors and their effects articles: Are Artificial Colors Bad for You? Food Colors and ADHD
Mood and Depression: Antioxidants and Depression, Plant-Based Diets for Improved Mood and Productivity