Become a foster parent yourself. Kids and teenagers all over the United States need a loving place to live until they can move back with their families. I didn’t realize how big the need was until we started the foster training. I can’t stress enough how big of a need there is and how huge of a ministry it can be!
Provide Respite. Respite is taking care of children when the foster family wants a break, has a prior obligation, etc… This isn’t just an evening of babysitting while they go on a date, it’s for longer than that. We provided respite for 10 days to Big Sis and Little Bro, the sibling group we had for just over a week this summer! Their current foster family had a trip planned before they ever knew about these kids coming into their lives, so their caseworker asked if we could watch them as they’ve been in 3 foster homes already and she thought it’d be best if they could at least stay with someone they already knew.
Anyways…at least in the State of Missouri, getting licenced to be just a respite provider (and not foster parent as well) is much quicker than the fostering licence, so this is a great way to get your feet wet if you’re interested in fostering and a great way to be a blessing to foster parents!
Babysit for them. I don’t know if all States have the same policy, so you’ll have to look into it, but you can have a background check done and be approved to can watch the kids for short times (shorter than respite). It’s quick and easy, and we’re so thankful for Cameron’s sister who has done this!
Help out in other ways. We’ve been blessed with people helping in various ways, like coming home to a plate of homemade cookies, someone letting Gracia play at their house so I would have one less kid for a while. My sister-in-law babysat Gracia at a moment’s notice when we had to rush a child to the ER. We were even put on a meal schedule when we were doing respite with Big Sis and Little Bro! Bringing a meal, helping with laundry, cleaning or whatever you feel comfortable offering to the foster parent. Even if they don’t take you up on it, it might still be an encouragement to them just knowing you’re thinking of them, which leads to the next tip…
Encourage the foster family. I’ll never forget one of our biggest encouragements was when we ran into a missionary family that had fostered years ago before becoming missionaries. They gave us great advice and told us the most incredible story about a girl who had lived with them and years later looked for them, because she remembered that they loved her. She contacted them and they pointed her to her Savior! She went on to teach God’s truth to others.
We’ve had many others encourage us just by saying they’re praying or by doing any of the other things mentioned in this post. It means so much just to know people care!
Befriend the kids. You don’t know how much good it did to my heart seeing how our friends interact with foster kids we have! The first time we took Little Dude to church they introduced him and everyone clapped! Needless to say, he loves going to church!
I love how both my and Cameron’s parents, even though they haven’t had the opportunity to meet the kids we’ve taken care of, have still treated them how they treat Gracia. Both sets of Grandparents sent a little something, not just for Gracia, but Little Dude too. One day Little Dude even talked with my mom on the phone and she happily listened!
Wether its adults getting down on the kids level and talking with them or kids playing with them just like kids do, it’s great seeing people treating foster kids the way we should treat all kids!
Have you done fostering? If so I’d LOVE to hear what advice you’d give to those desiring to help foster kids!