Friday, June 30, 2017

How Can You Help?

We've already discussed babysitting and respite care, but what are some other ways you can help with the foster care crisis WITHOUT becoming a foster parent?

MEALS - Do you know a foster family or is there an agency in your area you can contact to bring a meal? I cannot tell you what a blessing meals were to our family! I had NO idea just how crazy our lives would be after 2 month old twins were placed with us. When offers from friends to bring over meals started coming in, I was more than happy to accept...and let me tell you, this is one of the BIGGEST ways you can bless a foster family.

DONATE - Ask the foster family if they need anything. Perhaps you have something you aren't using around your home that the foster family can have or borrow. A friend gave us a baby bed she had in storage. Another gave us a baby rocker and others gave us clothing or diapers. My children are older so I had forgotten just how fast infants outgrow their clothing. We were so blessed when my husband's co-worker donated TONS of clothing. These twins are set for like the next year on shoes and clothing!

OFFER to HELP - Call up a foster family and see if they need anything from the store. As a foster parent, there are lots of rules and you pretty much have to take your foster children everywhere with you. Gone are the days of asking an older sibling to babysit for a few minutes while you run to the store and it's just not feasible to call up an approved babysitter every time you need to run a quick errand. Offer to take their older children to/from their activities. Offer to keep an eye on their kids during the church service, rock a fussy baby, or entertain a bouncy little one. We were blessed when friends offered to give our kids rides to school in the morning so I didn't have to get out so early with the twins. We even had families offer to chaperone our kids on school field trips because we were unable to attend. That was HUGE blessing and our kids didn't have to miss out on the fun with their friends.

CASA - Maybe you don't have time to open your home to foster children, but perhaps you have a little time to become a CASA volunteer. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. They speak on behalf of children in foster care and represent the child's best interests. Our CASA volunteer has been a lifesaver for our sweet twins.

ENCOURAGE - It's easy for foster families to grow tired and weary. A simple text, phone call, or letter can help brighten their day and let them know that you are thinking about them or praying for them. Swing by their house to say hello and hug their neck.

Knowing they have not been forgotten makes all the difference.

Friday, April 28, 2017

While We're Waiting...

The road to becoming a foster family isn't an overnight thing. It takes time...lots of time and patience. Sometimes there are snags and bumps in the road which make the process to finish even that much longer.

So, while we were waiting for everything to be finalized, we signed up to babysit and for respite care.

 Babysitting a foster child(ren) is a short term thing you can do for a foster family. It usually entails just a few hours with NO overnight care so a foster mom can run a few errands while kid-free or a dad can spend time with an older child without chasing a little one around. It very much like regular babysitting.

Respite care is more involved. It can be a few days to a few weeks and usually includes overnight stays. It's an opportunity to give a foster family a longer break or take care of their foster children if they are not able to bring them along. We had the pleasure of helping a foster family out with their precious little one for 3 weeks while they visited their grown children in China. After T-baby went home, we had the pleasure of doing respite care for just a few days for another sweet little one whose family was recovering from a sickness they did not want T-man to get.

 Respite care is an awesome way to 'get your feet' wet in regards to foster care. You don't have the full-blown responsibilities yet, but you have enough to get a taste of what fostering is all about. For many, it can be a springboard into full time foster care.

Perhaps you haven't been called to full-blown foster care, but maybe, just maybe, you have been called to babysit or to do respite care. There is certainly a need for these things and doing this for a foster family would be such a blessing.

Monday, April 24, 2017

And so it begins...

We were licensed around October 2016. 

The process to become a foster family began long before this tho. God began working on our hearts years before getting us ready to take the leap into the foster world. The need for foster families is so great. There are children out there who needed someone to love them, care for them, stand in the gap for them, and perhaps even be their forever family. We couldn't let one more day go by without doing something to make a difference. 

Sure, we could sit back and let others do the work, after all, maybe being a foster parent wasn't MY calling...I had 2 busy kids to care for and they were finally at the age where they were fairly independent. I actually had time to get the house clean (and keep it clean), meal plan, cook, take on a few hobbies, and even read books again. I was comfortable...very comfortable...except for that small voice growing louder with each passing day telling me...'but I didn't call you to be comfortable'. 

I felt like something was missing and slowly my comfort eroded away and was replaced by the feeling of urgency and the need to DO something. ...So, my husband and I began to go through foster care training. We started making needed changes to our home to get it ready for fostering. And right at about 1 year after attending an informational meeting, we were officially a foster family.   

So, what about you? Is God calling YOU to do something? Maybe it's not fostering, but be sure, God HAS called you to make a difference in the lives of others. So, get out there are do something :) 

All the Little Starfish

So...if you haven't heard, we are now an official foster family...hence the name of my new blog. If you've ever heard the starfish story, then you'll know exactly why I chose this name. And if you haven't, then please see the picture below for an explanation.

No, foster families can't save every child, but we CAN make a difference in the lives of these precious children and, hopefully, in the lives of their bio families as well by sharing the love of Jesus Christ with them.