Foster Children Are Not Victims Of Their Genes

"...but masters of our fate..."

Jamie Schwandt April 29, 2017

“We are not victims of our genes, but masters of our fates, able to create lives overflowing with peace, happiness, and love.” – Bruce H. Lipton

Foster children live in a cycle of failure. They typically leave the system with poor life outcomes. The system fails them, just as their biological family failed them. After living around failure, they start to feel as though they are a failure. Those feelings then turn into deeply ingrained beliefs. They believe they are genetically engineered for failure.

We have to stop this. We must show foster children that they are not the victims of their genes. But how? The answer is something no one in foster care is talking about. It is a breakthrough in science called epigenetics.

Cellular biologist and inspiring author Dr. Bruce Lipton shares with us that our beliefs literally change who we are through epigenetics. Epigenetics reveals that we are masters of our genes. The authors at provide a simple explanation of epigenetics–in its simplest sense, it is the science of how genes are turned on and off. Our genes are activated or shut down (turned on or off) depending on different needs and interactions within our environment.

Epigenetics is proof that people can change. We can show children how to “unlearn” who they used to be. Dr. Joe Dispenza explains in Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself, “When you do not recreate the same mind on a daily basis, you prune away the hardware that is related to the old self.”

Here are five powerful ways we can use the science of epigenetics to help foster children break the cycle of failure.

Epigenetics proves nothing is impossible.
1. Epigenetics proves nothing is impossible.

“We are the programmers of the code. DNA activation is our software upgrade.”

Explaining concepts by way of an analogy or metaphor is a powerful way to learn abstract ideas. The website is a unique way for people across the world to share ideas. Here are a couple of them.

• “If you consider your DNA as the text of an instruction that explains how to make a human body, epigenetics is as if someone’s taken a pack of highlighters and used different colors to markup different parts of the text in different ways.” – Cath Ennis

• “Genetics is like the blue prints. Epigenetics are like post-it notes on those blueprints (usually telling you to ignore that part).” – Justin Ma

Our genes respond to the environment (which acts as a stimulus). The authors at provide the following analogy: Imagine our genes operate like an assembly of gears. The environmental forces (imagine the domain for which a foster child is living) flip the switch. The switch then activates the motor and gears.

This analogy provides us a solution. If we control the stimulus (the environmental factors) we can then change how the motor and gears operate. This means that we can control how we see the world. In this analogy, the switch is the key to the system. Here the switch is your beliefs. Your beliefs control your perception and determine your new potential. This could lead to the following: change in environment = change in belief = change in the future outcome of a child.

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Become self-aware.
2. Become self-aware.

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”

In quantum physics, we find that the act of observation will change the phenomena being observed. This is termed the observer effect--proven through the wave function collapse via the double slit experiment. This experiment is mind-bending and I encourage you to research it. However, we will not focus on the experiment itself; instead, we will focus on what the experiment demonstrates.

A quantum object exists as both a wave and a particle. The object will not manifest into reality until it is observed. Once observed, it then becomes a particle. Essentially, the act of conscious observation collapses the wave-function allowing us to produce the effect. We change the behavior of an electron from a wave to a particle. In layman’s terms, we create the effect by simply observing it.

What does this mean to you? Simply put, stop living on autopilot! The act of observation, being consciously aware will literally create your reality. When we make a conscious attempt to become aware, we start to think about what we are thinking about. This is called metacognition. Dr. Dispenza provides the following advice on becoming self-aware. Teach your foster child to use this advice.

• When you become more aware, you become more attentive.
• When you are more attentive, you become more conscious.
• When you are more conscious, you start to notice more.
• When you start to notice more, you awaken from an unconscious mind.
• When you awaken from an unconscious mind, you start living in a conscious world.

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Your past is your future.
3. Your past is your future.

“Don’t be upset with the results you didn’t get from the work you didn’t do.”

Your thoughts and actions five years ago created who you are today. This is because you are still living with the same thoughts, emotions, and behaviors you were living with five years ago. So, if you change your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, you can then change your past. Make sense?

If you keep living the same way you have always been living, then how can you expect to change? If you fail to change your daily routine (your input) then how can you expect to change the future (your output)? Remember, your output is determined by your input. If we never change our input, how can we ever expect to receive a different output?

In essence, if you change your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors now, you will change the person you will become in the future. By changing who you will become in the future, you will change the person you were in the past.

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Emotions are chemical imprints of past experiences.
4. Emotions are chemical imprints of past experiences.

“You are where and who you are because of who you believe you are.” – Joe Dispenza

Dr. Dispenza informs us that we neurologically encode environmental information into our brain and body. He found that we can remember an experience better because of how we remember feeling at that moment in time. Our emotions serve as a chemical imprint of our past experiences.

Think of your own life. What past experiences do you remember in vivid detail and which moments do you have a difficult time remembering? We remember those experiences that touched us emotionally; both the good and the bad. I vividly remember the life-changing birth of my daughter and marrying my best friend and beautiful wife. Yet, I also clearly remember my father committing suicide, receiving a phone call about the death of a friend killed in Afghanistan, every detail from the day I was placed into foster care, my mother attempting suicide, and my mother being physically beaten by different men. I can even recall the location of the furniture in the living room during one of those beatings – I was 9 years old.

By understanding the importance of our emotions, we can use this information to help foster children understand the significance of their experiences. We can help them understand that if we change our outlook on those past experiences, we can then change our brain.

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Embrace your superpower!
5. Embrace your superpower!

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand

Lastly, the only way to benefit from epigenetics is to firmly believe that we are control of our own destiny. Foster children need someone to show them how. They need an enriched environment, one which provides them the opportunity to learn and become better.

Who and what we focus on, or place our attention on, is who and what we will become. Our attention is where we place our energy. Once this is understood, we can then create a new and better self.

Epigenetics proves that foster children are not genetically engineered for failure. In fact, they actually possess a superpower. Foster children have an inner fire that will never burn out. This inner fire is their superpower. We just need to show them how to flip the switch!

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Jamie Schwandt

Dr. Jamie Schwandt (Ed.D.) is an author and former foster child. He is a TV show host, motivational speaker, lean six sigma master black belt, statistics professor, and a major in the U.S. Army. Dr. Schwandt is the author of the books Finding Your Hero (2015) and Succeeding as a Foster Child (2014). He is the host of the inspiring TV show Dreaming Big and is a fitness expert with a unique mindset for positive growth. You can find his published work here, his website, Facebook, and Twitter.

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