Richard Oden is an adoptive parent, a foster parent, a veteran and, now, an author. Oden’s book, My Full Life Circle, Squared, comes out on November 11 and focuses on the trials and triumphs he has experienced as both a foster parent and an active member of the military in Bagram, Afghanistan.
Oden grew up in the foster care system, moving through nine different foster homes before being adopted by the family of his childhood best friend, Wes Oden. It’s exactly this background and the difficulties that came along with it that made him so goal-oriented.
Oden overheard people’s remarks about him as he was growing up: “That kid doesn’t have a chance. He won’t amount to anything.” That’s a hard thing for anyone to handle, especially a child, but he turned the negativity into motivation.
“My attitude was, ‘I’ll show you and this world that this kid, although dealt a bad hand that he had no control over, could be a productive member of society and so much more,’” Oden says.
And that’s exactly what he did, as evidenced by My Full Life Circle, Squared.
The book outlines Oden’s achieved goals one after another — his college degree, his wife, his impressive list of financial endeavors from a young age, his high school football career — but especially focuses on his role as a foster-adoptive parent and as an active member of the U.S. military.
Oden wrote My Full Life Circle, Squared while serving in Bagram, Afghanistan in 2014. This was at a time when his pregnant wife was at home with their three foster children, Elijah, Kentrell and Gabby, who the Odens were hoping to adopt. Oden takes his readers from his childhood and what he can remember of the homes he was placed in to the Afghanistan desert, where he grapples with missing his children and his wife.
All throughout the book, he gives credit to God — everything happens according to His will, says Oden. He believes that his blessings aren’t coming to an end anytime soon, either. Oden is already planning his second book, which will be called From the Foster Care Club to the Couple Comma Club (1,000,000): My Journey with God. He’s not a millionaire quite yet — but if things continue to go as well for him and his wife as they have been, he anticipates reaching that point somewhere along the line.
In the meantime, Oden will continue to educate about foster care in order to help kids just like him.
“As a little boy I would often ask God why he put me in foster care,” he writes in My Full Life Circle, Squared. “I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He put me in this situation so one day I could, indeed, inspire, encourage, motivate, and minister to others.”
My Full Life Circle, Squared will be available for purchase on Odem’s website as well as through Barnes and Noble and Amazon. Some of the proceeds from each sale will be donated to foster care and military charities.
To learn more about the Odens, you can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.