We walk around feeling like we're expecting. We're not, of course, in the way meaning we aren't carrying a child for nine months. But we are so, so close to becoming an open home for foster care.
We will be taking in little ones, ages 3 and under. Most likely ages 2 and under. I imagine by June our world will have shifted, a new chapter started in our book of life. A little one should be in our care by then. I've started mentioning this in conversation as I meet new people. When asked about my family it feels strange to only mention Anna and Betsy, without also mentioning the little one who will be ours, even if just for a bit. During these conversations I'm often asked questions. It's easy to point fingers and say that more people should be involved with foster care, but the truth is many people don't know how to even get started. I had a conversation with a mom at the library just this week who wanted to help, but didn't know how.
That was totally us a couple of years ago. Do I think every single family should take in foster children? No. Many families are at capacity already, life handing them situations and scenarios that are enough. Taking in an additional foster child may just be too much and that is okay. But for those who feel called, who want to learn more, and who want to help-you can!
There are so many different ways to help with the foster care crisis (because it is truly a crisis that needs so many of us to step up and actually do something).
For example, my sister's family, my parents, and my mom-in-law have all volunteered to be our support families. This means they helped watch our kids while we did foster care training, and filled out specific paperwork to be able to watch our foster baby as well.
Many kind volunteers kept us fed with delicious food during our training. That's a way you could help.
You could also cook a foster family a meal, give them a gift card, or take some groceries by their house.
You could volunteer at a clothing closet, where foster parents can get what they need. Remember, foster kiddos are coming into a home on very short notice.
For those in Arkansas, you could look up The Call or Project Zero and ask what volunteer needs they have. The Call is the Christian organization we went through to receive our training. Project Zero is an organization working to match waiting families with waiting kids in the foster care system for adoption. In fact, Project Zero posts their needs directly on their Facebook page.
You could do a foster families laundry.
You could encourage a family by sending them a card, a scripture, or something fun in the mail.
You could mentor an older foster kiddo, especially one who is close to aging out of the system. You could help teach them life skills like how to use a checkbook, get a job, secure housing, etc. If interested in this, contact The Call.
You could love on the workers at DCFS (DHS) by taking them lunch.
Last, but certainly not least, you could pray. Pray for the families like us stepping out to love, pray for the children and teens who so desperately need someone to love them.
These lyrics haunt me lately-"So when you see me crashing,
And there's nowhere left to fall,
Will you lift me even higher,
to rise above this all?"