I have recently written several posts on Foster Care and Adoption. While so many of you have been so supportive and expressed how you too have a heart to someday foster children or even adopt them, I know there are also some of you who have a true heart of compassion, but do not feel called to foster or adopt children.
Or, maybe life’s circumstances have kept you from following your heart and bringing additional children into your home. If that describes you, then this post is for you. There is still SO much you can d to serve children in need. Here are a few ways our family has been served in this amazing process.
1. Bring Meals. When someone you know has a baby, it is customary to offer to bring them a meal to help free them up from some of their daily tasks so they can focus on their new family member (temporary or permanent). Some of our friends did the same thing when we fostered our 2nd child. This made such a difference to us! Not only was I free from considering what to make for dinner many nights, I also was able to share our new family member with our friends and was able to introduce him to them. It brought so much joy to our family and provided much needed rest during this time of transition from a family of 5 to a family of 6.
2. Share clothing or household items. Often, when you are foster adopting, you receive a child at a moments notice. And, you don’t know exactly how old they are or whether they are male or female. Our first child we foster adopted was a boy and he came to us at 1 week old. We were so grateful for our friends and family who came to loan us a crib, a swing and a bassinet, clothing and so many other things we really needed. Our second foster child was supposed to be a 1 week old baby girl. We had NO girl things. Our friends banded together and within hours we had more pink in our home then one could imagine. Of course, then, we got a call the next morning that we would actually be getting a boy. So, we are saving those girl clothes in hopes of another little girl some day.
3. Get certified to be an extended care giver. Fostering and adopting brings a lot of joy to families. It also brings some stress. Our first little one had cocaine in his system. He didn’t sleep very much and when he did, it was for short bursts. When he ate, he also spit up, a lot. We went from a home of two parents and two teens to a home where we had a new focus, at least for the first 3 months while this cocaine dissipated from his system. We were all on board and we were in it together. But, there were times when my husband and I needed some time to be together and just think and remember us. We are so grateful for a friend who was willing to become certified with our agency to spend the night with our new little one and of course our older children as well. We had such peace of mind having her here and we were able to refresh and regroup. With our second foster child, we needed to go away to help my father-in-law after he was diagnosed with colon cancer. Another friend stepped in and went through the approval process and was approved to also be an extended care giver. This is a GREAT way to help an adoptive/foster family.
4. Babysit. Maybe being an extended caregiver sounds daunting. How about babysitting for a day or a few hours or a few minutes. Babysitting has been a lifesaver. Sometimes, when we would have visits with a birth mom, others have stayed with my children so I didn’t have to introduce even more chaos to an already potentially stressful situation. Imagine a 2 year old running around the room while you are visiting with a stranger and your new foster baby…potentially difficult. I think you get it. Babysitting is such a gift.
5. Treat their Foster/adopted child as a family member. Depending on the age of the child, of course, take the lead from the new family. But, do your best to let your love for children remove any uncertainty about how to treat the child. Our family has done this with our little ones. They have shared our joy and sorrow and have been grandmas and grandpas and aunts and uncles and cousins to our sweet ones. Love them unconditionally. They have undoubtedly gone through more difficulty than we can imagine to get to this place. They want love and acceptance, even when they don’t offer it back. We have at this point only fostered and adopted babies and not older children. So, I would encourage you to take your cues from the family.
I was getting very wordy :)…so, stay tuned for 6 – 10. They will be posted on Tuesday afternoon. Please share your ideas in the comments. I am sure there are many other ways to serve as well and I would really enjoy hearing about them! Maybe there will be an additional list formed!