In just the past year, I've gotten to meet quite a few foster parents, some who having been fostering for decades, while others just a few years. I often ask them what are some of their needs- because being a foster parent can be lonely. Because of it's stinky reputation, some people in the community can't understand why in the world anyone would ever foster---And they stay far, far away from the situation.
But foster care isn't scary, it's just a process that's often filled with a lot of unknowns. The kids are kids- some need more nurturing and stability than others, but they are still kids.
If you don't know any foster families in your area, I encourage you to get to know some.
If you do know some families, here are a few ways that you and your family can help them. While they may never ask for it, so many families would love to have the community come around and support them in the journey.
1. Pray for them. The Foster Care process can be emotionally and physically draining. Families who are fostering need a community around them who are praying for their journey.
2. Provide a meal. Many times, a foster family has less than a days notice before taking in a child. The first few weeks are often needed to get to know one another and establish a routine. Some families can get babies as young as two days old, so sleep comes at a premium. Having meals provided lifts a huge burden for families who have just taken in a child.
3. Donate baby clothes, diapers, wipes, or toys. If you have these items sitting around your home, please consider giving them to a foster family.
4. If your state foster care system allows it, offer to babysit for the night or a few hours during the day to give the foster parents a breather or a night out together.
5. When a schoolage child is brought into care, they often have academic delays or gaps. Provide free tutoring to help them catch up.
6. If you are a semi-professional or professional photographer, offer your services for free to foster families. Foster children do not often have any pictures of themselves, especially if they were taken from their home suddenly. This is an amazing gift to them that will last a lifetime and provide them with memories to take with them.
These may seem like small things- but they are potentially huge blessings to foster families!!!!