Sunday, July 29, 2007

Can You Help?

As passionate as we have become about foster care and adoption, we certainly realize that every family is not called to physically care for these children. There are so many other ways to help in this effort, and I'd like to highlight a few.

Pray. There are prayer warriors out there reading this - I know you! You can pray for children in foster care, generally. You can also pray for the specific needs of individual foster children that you may know. A huge prayer need is for the biological parents who are often trapped in the desperate cycle of drug abuse.

Respite Care Providers. When emergency situations arise, foster families need a place where their foster children can go for a few days. Respite providers go through CPR training and behavior management training. Covenant Kids pays their respite providers to fill-in for foster parents.

Babysitters. If you love children and have a clean background, you can provide up to 12 hours (at one time) of babysitting for a foster family. We did not realize how much we would need this until recently. We have 2 friends who have stepped up, done the background check and are willing to babysit for us but, most often, my Mom is our official babysitter.

Hand-made Gifts. We have had 3 special examples of this... First, a very special friend who knew and loved Baby Girl right along with us, spent hours of her time crocheting a special blanket for Baby Girl to take with her when she left our home. Second, two almost teenage girls at our church made a small quilt for Baby Girl with a fabric flower attached. Third, a special friend at church made a pillow for Baby Girl. All of these things went with her, along with special explanations, to her new home.

Financial Support. Faith-based organizations, like Covenant Kids, provide support for families involved in fostering and adoption. These organizations are typically non-profit 501(c)3 entities that take charitable contributions. We chose to be involved with Covenant Kids because of their commitment to meeting the needs of children - physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Our relationship with Covenant Kids is one of like-mindedness. They pray for our family, our children, our foster babies.

Donated baby and children items. Individuals can donate new or gently-used items to the faith-based organizations, to CPS or directly to foster families. When Baby Girl arrived at our home, we had not one shred of clothing for her. She came only with a pair of pajamas that CPS provided out of their Rainbow Room. Within a week, we had 3 garbage bags full of girl clothes for her. HUGE blessing!

Encouragement. The ups and downs of foster/adoption are emotionally challenging. We have been regularly encouraged by several special people. The e-mail we receive can sometimes be just the thing needed to get over a hump... thank you to those of you who take time out of your own life to be a consistent blessing to us!

If somewhere, under the 'I just couldn't do that,' there is a persistent whisper saying 'Yes, you can!', we urge you to follow the path to the next step. The next step is all that is needed.

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