Tuesday, June 30, 2015

7 Ways to Support Foster and Adoptive Families

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As Fost/Adopt parents, we feel like we're walking through a crazy journey... often it can feel like we're walking alone.  But we're not alone.  We have a wonderful community of friends and family who have chosen to walk this road with us.  Each of them have taken the time to invest and learn with our family in a variety of ways.

If you know a foster or adoptive families, your support is invaluable.  These are just a few ways you can make a difference in their lives:

1. Ask Questions-- Asking lots of questions allows you to enter into their world just a little bit.  We welcome questions as it shows that people really do care about how we're growing our family.  Just as you would ask questions about a mother's pregnancy, asking questions about an adoption shows your interest and support.

2. Donate-- There are lots of great adoption grant foundations out there helping families bringing their children home.  And there are lots of families in our own communities putting time into fundraisers hoping to bring their children home.  Adoption can be very financially taxing.

For foster families there can be financial strain as well.  While the state helps pay for those costs, the monthly checks come at the end of the month.  So unless the family has some savings, the initial cost of taking in children can be daunting.

Ask families for specific items they can use.  Bedding, school supplies, backpacks, shoes, gift certificates are all wonderful ideas.

3. Drop off Dinner-- Adopting into your family is a lot like giving birth.  Parents are learning to juggle more children.  Children are learning their parents' personalities.  There are a lot of emotions and not a lot of sleep.  Sometimes dinner is the last thing on their minds as the days is coming to a close.  And a meal can go a long way in bringing perspective.

4. Call--There have been many a time where my day has been saved by someone just calling.  A phone call and the willingness to listen and empathize can go a long way in providing some perspective.  Foster care is very draining, emotionally and physically.  Having someone call and just listen while you pour out your frustrations, knowing they're not going to judge you or minimize your struggle, really allows you pour it out and move past it to face tomorrow.

5. Offer to Babysit--Often times foster children need to go to a lot of appointments.  Visitations, assessments, evaluations, extra medical appointments can add up quickly.  And if you're a foster family with other kids that can mean moving multiple children around to various appointments.  If you know a foster family who has a lot on their plate, offer to take the other kids on an especially busy day.  Just knowing that my kids were playing at the park or enjoying some ice cream went a long way in easing my mind so I was able to focus on my foster child.

6. Provide Respite--Not ready to become a full-time foster parent yourself?  Go through the classes so you can provide respite for a family you know.  It's hard to invest time and energy in a child and not know the family that will be providing respite if, and when, you need to step away.  Be the safe family to provide respite for others until they can step back in as Mom and Dad.

7. Pray--None of us can do this on our one.  Foster care has tested everything in us.  If it weren't for all the people praying for us and praying for our kids, we wouldn't have the mental strength, patience, endurance we need to continue doing what we do.  So thank you!

There are so many ways to support the Fost/Adopt community.
We need you and value you.

What step can you take today?

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