My husband and I started talking about foster care and adoption before we even married. Always on our radar, we finally felt that tug telling us it was time last Fall. Our first placement, a sibling group of three, was only 2 weeks. Then we had a baby for three joyous months. He was originally placed with us for permanency but a relative came forward at the final parental termination. We were heartbroken when we learned that he was no longer going to be our forever son as we originally were told all relatives were rules out. But our foster journey continued.
A call came in. “Three good kids” needed a longer term foster home till reunification. So far so good. I then learned they were 3, 2, and 9 months. Again, definitely doable.
Once placement was made, we quickly realized that we had not been given the full disclosure. These precious little ones needed complete one-on-one constant care. They showed behaviors that were aggressive and dangerous. I was emotionally and physically exhausted by the end of the week and completely doubting my foster mom status. Thankfully, the call came in saying they were going home sooner than expected. But with this newfound experience, I felt led to write this post.
Have you ever wanted to help but don’t think you can commit to actually doing foster care? Here are some great ways that you can be a blessing to foster families and children.
How You Can Help:
- Bring A Meal: Something so easy as bringing a meal to a busy foster family makes a huge difference.
- Offer To Take Over For 1 Hour: Offer to provide respite so the foster parent(s) can have a little breathing room. Even one hour is a big help!
- Ask If The Kids Need Anything: Most foster children come with the clothes on their backs and little else. If you have extras, offer up a pair of pajamas, some socks, and other basics.
- Pick Up Some Snacks & Fresh Fruit: Many foster children have lived off snacks so that is their food choice. Consider grabbing some crackers, fresh fruit, applesauce pouches, yogurt sticks, or another easy snack and just bring them by.
- Offer To Help Take The Kids On An Outing To A Park: A change of scenery may be what everyone needs but perhaps the foster mom just can’t do it alone. Offer to be that extra pair of eyes and hands. Dedicate an hour or two and offer to accompany them to a local playground.
- Cut Their Lawn: Thankfully, what was thought to be a 1+ month long placement ended up being less than a week. However, if they would have stayed longer, I literally have NO idea how I would have managed to cut our grass each week based on their high requirement of care.
- If You See A Need, Just Do It: Every fostering experience, foster family, and foster child is different. When we had the baby, our only need was clothes. He was easy peasy to take care of. I now realize there are a lot more instances where hands-on help is needed. So if you see a need, just do it! Don’t even “offer” that meal. Just say, “Hey. I see you’ve got a lot going on and I want to bless you with a meal.” Then do it!
Do you have any other suggestions on ways to help? I feel like we’re still fairly green to foster care but have learned so much in the past 9 months. If the topic of foster care interests you, check out my What To Expect When Expecting That Call Foster Care Post.