5 ways YOU can help a foster/adoptive family:
I know that we are not all able to foster or adopt children. I get that. But there is something that everyone can do to help. Volunteers and donations are always a huge welcome to families. There are times when children come to us with just the clothes on their backs and empty stomachs, and we know that going into the process. But help is always appreciated!
- Donations of any kind are always welcome.If you have shoes, clothes, toys, baby items, bicycles, or whatever you have, it will be greatly appreciated. Now in saying that, I will say this, we don’t need your roughly used items just to get them out of your home. If you need it out of your home, take it to the second hand store. Children from foster care need nice clothing or toys just like your own children do so make sure it is gently used when passing it on to foster families.
- Offer to clean a house.I had a friend that would always come over and fold laundry. She would sit down in my living room and say “bring me a basket”, and she would fold clothes while we visited or while I was tending to the children. My sister would come in sometimes and start washing dishes without being asked. I appreciate all of the ones who just did it, even though I told them they didn’t have to. Small things like that will go a long way in helping a parent!
- Offer to keep the children for a few hours.My husband and I tried to keep our kiddos on a good schedule and that meant we needed to sit back from doing extra curricular activities for a bit until the new children were in a routine. At one point we had two babies at 5 months apart (one being our own), a 6 year old and a 13 year old. As you can imagine, we were busy. We got to the point where we weren’t attending prayer meeting and Bible study on Monday nights and I missed it so much. Those nights feed our souls just as much as regular services do and I could feel the affects of not going for a while. I mentioned one day about how much I missed it and my friend offered to come over every Monday night and keep the children and put them to bed. You do not know what it means to a parent to offer to do these small things. In a world of chaos, it means a lot to be able to get that extra Bible study or prayer meeting. Even if the mom or dad just need to go for a long walk, make the offer! It is much needed.
- Take them a cooked meal.I know of a county that has pre-made meals that they keep frozen and any time there is a foster family that receives a child and needs help, they are welcome to go pick up one of those frozen meals. How awesome is that? Give a gift card to a restaurant, make them supper, show up on a school morning with donuts and pigs in a blanket. I do not believe there are any foster/adoptive parents anywhere that would turn away a meal. There was a time that my whole family was sick and we were all down for the count. My sister had come to stay with us and help with the kids and around the house (yes, we were all that sick!). She told me that someone heard that we were sick and they had brought breakfast from a donut shop here in town. That small gesture was so encouraging to us.
- Make a goodie basket.The same county that does the pre-made meals will also supply goodie baskets to new foster families. When a new foster family opens in this particular county, they will take a laundry basket full of much needed items to the family. Think of things that you would need in the event of a new child and then toss it in the basket. Chances are the foster family needs those items as well. Laundry detergent, dryer sheets, dish washing soap, swifter duster, canned goods, snacks, drinks…you name it, they’ll take it. But please make sure it is something that could be used in a good way and not just junk.
Being a foster/adoptive parent can be hard. There is much joy in it, but there are times that it can be overwhelming. Having someone step up and ask “What do you need?” or “How can I help you?” speaks volumes. There is something that everyone can do.
If you can have suggestions on ways to encourage and help foster families, I would love to hear it. Leave me a comment.