I really don’t know what to say about the intense need for foster and adoptive parents in our country today. It is real. There are kids going from home to home and eventually aging out of the foster system with nobody. Nobody to support them. Nobody to love them. Nobody to watch them graduate or call for advice. Nobody to eat Thanksgiving dinner with. Nobody. Can you imagine? They are too troubled or too delayed or too black or too traumatized or just too old, so nobody wants them. Nobody loves them, and they know it. What is going to happen to them? Who is going to touch their lives? If not me, who?
You all know that I don’t sugar coat the difficulties of fostering. Every foster parent I’ve met agrees that you never fully understand what you’re getting into when you begin the process. But maybe you’re willing to make that sacrifice and want to reach out and fill this need for long term foster homes. When Midge was transferred to a neighboring county, two separate county workers told me that they don’t remove kids from their homes as quickly in that county, and they give them back sooner, because of the lack of foster homes. Children are being left in unsafe places and returned to unsafe people because not enough of us are stepping up to share the burden and tangibly love these kids. What can I do? How many children can I help and how soon can I start?
Can I be a foster or adoptive parent? Watch this video for inspiration.
Can I be a mentor for a teen who has nobody to support him/her? Watch this video, and see if you can keep your eyes dry when the girl talks about how nobody came to her high school graduation.
Can I be a support to a family on the brink of losing their kids? If you can give a temporary loving home to a child whose parent is trying to get back on their feet to support their kids, watch this video about a groundbreaking program called Safe Families for Children. The average stay is 40 days and there is no drawn out state certification process to go through.
And if I can’t do any of those things, what can I do today?
- Can I talk to a foster or adoptive parent and ask them how I can help them out?
- Can I give them a night of free babysitting to reconnect with their spouse?
- Can I write funny notes on a package of diapers and deliver them to a foster family I know, to cheer up mom with each diaper change? (Thank you to my little sister, Amy! Those diapers are making me smile daily.)
- Can I call a local fostering agency like ours, Olive Crest, and ask them to introduce me to a foster family in my area who needs support?
- Can I offer to get certified as a babysitter and drive their foster child to visits for them once a week?
- Can I go a step further and get certified to do respite care for foster families who need a vacation?
- Can I give financially to a family who is taking in a new foster or adoptive child and has a lot of new expenses?
- Can I help a family who has just taken in a sibling group or a special needs child and are in that difficult adjustment period when life as they know it is drastically different?
- Can I offer them money to get a mother’s helper or offer to help them myself during the first few months of difficult transition for family and kids?
- Can I donate to a foster organization that runs group homes for foster kids?
- Can I make a simple phone call today to get that ball rolling?
Can I make a difference? If not me, who? If not now, when?
ice cream cones on memorial day in our backyard with foster kiddos