Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Helping in the Harvest: Foster Families Part 1

OTHERS-Helping in the Harvest: Foster Families Part 1

I have often taken for granted the fact that I have a nice home and a loving family. I forget that many people, especially children, do not have that. Since my family became a foster family, I’ve learned that there are many children in the U.S. alone who need to feel the love of God and the good news of what He has done for us. Being a foster family is a great way to share God’s love with people who really need it.

Foster Care is a fairly wide category, but it usually refers to the temporary care of children who can’t live at their own home (mostly because of their parent’s neglect or abuse). The children are taken into the legal custody of the state and, if not able to live at relative’s home, are placed with a licensed foster family. Foster families take in these children and treat them as their own children. Most of the time, the children go back home after their parents have proven they can now take care of them, though occasionally fostering a child may end in adoption.

A Christian foster family has a unique ministry. My Grammy, who was a foster parent for 13 years, said this: “Just the fact that we are willing to share our lives, our love, and our home with those children in need is an example of Christ's love for others.” This example of Christ’s love is evident to the children a foster family takes in, the child’s parents, and even the social workers involved.

Pouring out love on a child that is hurting can be a difficult job. Foster families need people around them who are praying for them and are willing to lend a hand when needed. Try to take time this month to get to know a foster family near you.

“Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
Mark 9:37

How To Help
I mentioned that my grammy and papa were foster parents for 13 years. They took in many foster kids and even adopted one, so you may consider them experts on the topic. My grammy gave me some ideas of how to pray for foster families. Next month I’ll share more of her advice as well as how to get started as a foster parent.

-that the foster families/parents have the strength to cope with all the disturbing circumstances that they might end up in/with,
-that they get enough sleep!
-that they do not neglect their own health/well being,
-that they always remember that they are serving God as they serve the children,
-that the biological children will enjoy their new family members and enjoy this new time their family’s life.
-and for any other specific needs that the foster families may share with you.

Give your time to a foster family in your area. It is often too easy to assume a foster family’s needs are already met. Get to know the family and let them know that you are willing to help. Be available to simply go over and talk or help out around the house. Even little things you do can be a big blessing for a foster family!

In Your Community
My grammy listed ‘just a few’ ways that you can support a foster family: being a praying support, a non-judgmental listening support, offering used clothing and items needed, stepping in to help out where needed, just being around to help them cope with problems, do errands, take the family's own kids out for special treats, treating the foster kids like normal kids, encouraging the foster parents, giving the kids (non-foster) in the family the opportunity to talk about things, encourage the foster families to share what their needs are so others can help...

“By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:35

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