As we recently wrapped up our “God And The Family Series” we closed with a message about spiritual adoption by God, and how physical adoption is beautiful picture of the spiritual adoption we have as believers. Much of the sermon (found HERE) dealt with how it is our duty as believers and as the church to care for “the least of these”. Our church has several families who have been through the adoption process, and several others who have fostered or are currently fostering children in their home. It is such a blessing to know that Redemption Church has families that are already caring for children in need.
This blog is written to help us understand some tangible ways that we can be a part of the foster/adoption process, even if we can’t take the full step of fostering or adopting in our own home. We reached out to multiple families within our church and their responses are compiled below:
“Every instance is different, so be sensitive to the need of the particular family/child involved in the process. Our fostering opportunity came quite suddenly when my wife was traveling. Our Sunday School class came over and helped us get our home ready for the new child. There are many rules and guidelines that the state has in place for the protection of foster children and while they may not all make sense to you, they have to be followed.”
“If you want to help, but do not have interest in actually having a child in your home long term, there is the option to become licensed to what is called “respite care”. This is when you take a child into your home for a weekend or week (maybe longer depending on the circumstance) to give the full time foster parent a “break”. This was a HUGE help to us when we were fostering our children because we would sometimes want to go away for a date weekend and because of these foster parents, we were able to.”
A couple of thoughts on fostering in general:
Here are some ideas of ways people can help families:
- Offer clothes, gift cards, school supplies to the foster families (ESPECIALLY when they get a new placement! Many times when kids come to a family, they had very little clothes and have other needs like school supplies). **The state does provide SOME funds to help with this as well, but sometimes it’s not enough.
- MEALS. When a family gets a new foster placement, it is just like having a new baby (sometimes crazier!), so having a meal train set up is super helpful. This is challenging, because the family often finds out 24 hours in advance of when they will have a placement, but having people readily available to provide meals is a blessing.
- PLAYDATES. Whatever the ages, the foster children want to be involved with the foster family’s life and the people they know. Having playdates with them if you have kids their age is awesome!
- CHECKING IN. It is so encouraging to have people text, call, or ask the parents how things are going, and to have someone to “vent” to when things were hard.
- PRAYER. Having people pray for parents as they go through the foster care and/or adoption process is HUGE.
What could we do as a church?
- Give each child a backpack with school supplies or teddy bear/blanket in it provided or paid for by the church.
- “Sponsor” a child for Christmas (if local Utah foster care agencies allow that). An individual or group could pick a child with a Christmas list and buy something on the list for the child and then have the social worker deliver it.
- Write cards to the kids and the foster parents encouraging them and wishing them well.
- Have a “going away” party to show the kids how much they are loved.
- Check in with the foster parents after to see how they are doing/if they need anything. Some offer to do meals at this time as well.
Hopefully these items will be helpful as we seek to be the hands and feet of Jesus to children in need of care. Please pray about how God can use you to be a part of this!