Those who have responded to God’s call to foster or adopt children have gone “all in” with their lives. James describes this as “religion that God our father accepts as pure and faultless”. It’s boots on the ground, money where your mouth is, life gets messy discipleship.
For many foster and adoptive families the journey is difficult. But the church can make a difference. We can show these families they are not alone and we’ve identified four practical ways to be helpful. Not everyone is called to be a foster or adoptive parent, but everyone is called to care about orphaned children.
PRACTICAL ACTS OF SERVICE
Because of the emotional energy required to be fully present for a hurting child and frequent appointments to provide for their healing, foster and struggling adoptive families often feel endlessly behind on the everyday tasks of life. You can make a difference by helping in practical ways.
Here are some ideas of ways to serve:
- Bring a meal
- Mow the lawn
- Do the laundry
- Make repairs
- Run errands/do shopping
- Listen for a need – each family is unique
- Provide certificates for date nights or “me” time
As a prayer partner you will receive specific prayer request from your assigned foster/ adoptive family. In addition, we hope you’ll pray daily for strength, protection, healing, and hope for the family you are lifting up.
Here are some ideas of ways to pray:
- Pray for healing
- Pray for meaningful connections between husband and wife
- Pray for unity
- Pray for endurance, peace, hope
Sometimes families need reminded that what they are doing is of great worth, that it matters to God and that they are not alone. By intentionally setting aside time each week to encourage a family, you can help sustain them in the journey.
Here are some ideas of ways to encourage:
- Send a card
- Set a reminder in your phone and send a text
- Send a verse to encourage them each week
- Stop by with a cup of coffee and some words of encouragement
- Write out your prayer and give it to them
Sometimes, even with encouragement, prayer, and practical help, parents need a chance to recharge. Building a relationship with the family, including the kids (saying “hi” at church, showing up at their games/recitals, and being there on special occasions like birthdays) can help establish a relational connect that would allow you to care for the kids anywhere from a few hours to a few days. * Note, there is a period of time when kids may need to be only with their primary caregiver. In these times, consider doing fun stuff for the other kids in the home or providing other practical support. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Important things to keep in mind:
- Building a relationship is important
- The longer the better, but don’t let this deter you from offering to help at all
- When caring for the kids, respect the families limits, don’t over-indulge
- Invite foster/adoptive kids over for play dates with your kids
- Provide care for the kids while parents have a date
- Grow towards providing care while parents have a weekend off
- Plan ahead, our good intentions rarely fit into schedules
- Plan to help regularly…let the family know how often you’d like to help.
For more information or to volunteer, contact Angel (firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-733-1337 x241).