How can you get involved?
- Fostering a child or children is not an easy task but its worth it. Foster parents are on the front lines of the community’s battle with child neglect, abuse and poverty. This battle can take a toll.
- It is VITAL for a foster family to have a support structure in their life if they are going to be successful. This structure can be family, friends, church or a combination of them.
- We have to get out of the mindset that its someone’s else problem. Yes its true that everyone has not been called to be a foster parent but we ALL can do something.
- As the saying goes “It takes a village…”
- Showing support to a foster family is a HUGE blessing to them and to you. There is something that is so special about helping out a child.
PRACTICAL WAYS TO SUPPORT FOSTER AND ADOPTIVE FAMILIES
Foster care is an important way for families to help care for vulnerable children in their community. There are also thousands of families who have committed their hearts and resources to being foster parents. Very likely, someone in your own neighborhood is a foster parent! Here are some practical ways to help support these families:
*Background checks are vital and an overarching cornerstone especially for one on ones and a must for any overnights.
- Give attention to BIO or Foster kids – Take kid out to do something special. Come help put kids to bed. Be grandparent figure or Aunts/Uncles.
- Gather Supplies Make care packages – As any parent knows, a new addition to a family involves some specific gear. See if you have car seats, diapers, baby supplies, toys or clothes to lend to a family who is fostering. Many times, a child is quickly placed with a foster family – they may be awaiting adoption or reunification with their birth families. Regardless, the fostering family may need some extra help gathering the appropriate supplies to care for these children. See what you have or what you can gather for these families.
- Organize Play Dates – Check with the family first, but there are many opportunities to show up and be supportive. If you have children around the same ages, see about arranging play dates! This gives the children time to play and also allows the foster parents some adult company or have a break.
Provide Respite Care – If the option is available in your state, look into the process of becoming a respite care provider for foster families in your community. This will give foster parents an opportunity to rest and re-charge. ( Background Checks are required for this role)
Bring a Meal – As with many busy families, finding time to cook and clean can be difficult. Check with a foster family to find out what they like to eat, when they typically eat dinner, and bring them something that they can all enjoy! This frees the family up for some quality time with each other.
Pray – Prayer is a vital component to supporting foster families. A great way to do this is by checking in with the family regularly and praying specifically for the needs they share with you. Place prayer reminders on your refrigerator, mirror, in the car, or wherever you look most often. Invite others to pray with you also!
Give financially to Those in Process of Adopting
- Conduct Dedication Ceremonies – Most churches celebrate Parent/Child Dedication ceremonies during the year. Do the same for foster families. When they bring in a new placement pray for them in front of the church and have the body commit to support them!
- Host Date Night Childcare – Once a quarter or every semester (or even once a month) the church can hire certified babysitters for a Friday or Saturday night and allow foster families from the church and community (hint: outreach!) the chance to go on a date!
Other ways to show support: Lawn care, babysit so parents can go out, house cleaning, laundry, transportation, groceries, going with them to a court appointment to give them support.