Before I became a mom, I didn’t realize the weight of the orphan crisis. Actually, I didn’t know there was a crisis. I knew there were children around the globe without homes, and this drew me to the idea of adoption. But, it wasn’t until I had children, when I watched a sweet baby fall asleep on my lap, that the gravity of it hit me.
There are children right now, in my neighborhood, in my city, going to sleep without a mommy or daddy, without a loving home. Without a bedtime story or a kiss goodnight. This thought is nearly unbearable, which may be why we try not to think about it. But there is a great need.
At this moment, safe and loving foster homes are needed across the U.S.:
- There are nearly half a million children in foster care every year.
- More than 100,000 infants, children, and teens are waiting to be adopted right now. That number, one-hundred-thousand, could fill the Cowboy’s stadium to standing room only capacity.
And closer to home:
- The most recent data shows there were more than 3,000 children in foster care in our region.
- Nearly a thousand of those children were age two and under.
Many don’t realize the wide age range of children in foster care — infants, children, and teens are all represented. The state provides legal representation and protection, but at the end of the day, they need relationships. Healthy connections can be a powerful source of healing. They need a mom and dad, not just a case worker and a judge. They need a stable family to weather the storm for them, so they can just be a kid while the legal parties work out the details. So, mama, you need to know . . .
Fostering is difficult but doable. This upcoming generation of moms has been called the most “socially compassionate generation ever,” which is why so many of us own at least one pair of Toms, right? We want to be part of a greater narrative, one that is redeeming. Becoming a foster parent is an incredible opportunity to serve vulnerable children in our local community.
Is it difficult? Absolutely. A bit chaotic and unpredictable? Yes, and yes. Much like our everyday life already, but with a few added layers. You do not need to be a perfect mom to foster. Foster parenting is a chance for you to use your everyday mom skills to serve a greater story of healing and reconciliation.
Already have toys? Car seats? Messy floors? This may be a good season to consider fostering. Already have kids in school? Soccer practice? Summers off? Maybe you’d be willing to add one more sweet smile to your tribe.
Not ready to become a foster parent?
There are lots of ways to be involved! There are so many ways to serve the foster care community.
- Know a foster mama? Take. Her. To coffee. Ask about her experience and listen to some of her needs. Bring her family dinner. Become a certified babysitter. Donate kid’s clothes or offer to pick up groceries. This might be the best place to start. Before filling out any of your own paperwork help support those who are already fostering.
- Like numbers? Read up on the current condition of your region. Visit an info meeting to learn some of the basics. Educate yourself about the needs of kids and families in your area.
- Full of heart? Become a CASA worker, “CASA volunteers are appointed by judges to watch over and advocate for abused and neglected children, to make sure they don’t get lost in the overburdened legal system.”
- Strong administrative skills? Become an advocate for The Forgotten Initiative. The Forgotten Initiative “advocates mobilize local churches to serve the foster care community through service projects, mentoring, and family support initiatives.” You don’t have to be a foster parent to be an advocate.
At times, you may feel that mom life is not the most glamorous job, but your particular skill set is exactly what’s needed. Your inner Mama Bear can be of great assistance to advocate for these precious faces who come from really broken stories.
Lou is married to her BFF, Phil, and is a mom to three little ones, lovingly called “The Mooshkas.” She’s had the privilege of being a foster parent, adoptive parent, and biological parent. With the birth of her youngest, she had three children ages one and under. Lou is a stay-at-home mom and a Licensed Professional Counselor working at Impact Counseling in Arlington, Texas. You can follow her on the Celebrate Adoption Facebook page.