The Mail-Journal Published the following article in the 6/28/2017 issue:
Syracuse couple launches Foster 4 Him ministry
By RAY BALOGH Staff Writer
Matt and Dawn Bowers have a vision “to bring hope and heal- ing to the orphans by inspiring the church to mobilize and wrap around foster families with love and support.”
To that end, the Syracuse couple is launching Foster 4 Him, a ministry designed to “identify the families inside the local churches who are willing to step up to foster and encourage that same church to wrap their arms around the family and the children in love and support,” said Matt.
The statistics bear out the need. According to the Bowers’ research:
- One in five children who “never find a family or a home” will become homeless
- 71 percent of women “who never find a home” become pregnant by the time they are 21 “and repeat the same cycle”
- 50 percent of foster families who do not receive church support will “burn out” and stop fostering within one year
- 97 percent of foster families will succeed with church sup- port
- Indiana has more than 16,000 children waiting for placement
- 31 percent of Christian parents have considered foster care but only 3 percent actually do it. “Where is that other 28 percent going?” asked Matt.
“The inner circle is the child, then the family, then the church,” said Matt.
“Not everyone is called to be a foster parent,” said Dawn, “but everyone can do something. The church owns the problem.”
“When a new child comes into a foster family, the church can bring in meals or new toys,” said Matt. “If Aunt Millie is good at making strawberry pies, she can make one for that family.
“Some people can help with transportation or lawn care. Or they can take the foster child for ice cream when they are taking their own children. There are so many practical ways to provide support.”
“Many of these children have nothing,” said Dawn. “They need clothes, toys, personal care items, baby beds, backpacks. Some church members can step in and be grandparents. And the church can help them celebrate their birthdays.”
In short, “we are extending the arm of Jesus to these families and children.”
The Bowers’ future plans include “identifying struggling families and intercepting them before they enter the system.” In other words, “we want the church to be the church.”
Matt and Dawn speak from personal example. They are foster parents themselves and have taken in children from “traumatized backgrounds.”
“Sometimes these children are picked up at midnight by police. They are ripped out of their family’s home and shipped to an office with strangers for a couple hours,” said Dawn.
“The big thing is when a child comes into our home we show them their own bed and own little space. We make the food they like, even though most of them can’t eat at first, they are so traumatized. They can’t go to sleep at night, so we read them books, rock them and let them cry.”
Fostering parenting is “messy, hard work,” but “it is an honor to walk with the kids in their darkest hour,” Dawn said.
“We want to have our comfortable life. But we are trying to call people out of that. What else are we here for?”
“This is eternal,” said Matt.
For more information, call (574) 518-0504 or visit www.foster4him.org