There is often so much excitement and support surrounding a brand new foster or adoptive family! The family is showered with gifts and diapers and loaded up with things they need. However, many times after a child is home for weeks or months or even years, the support is no longer in place when it is the most crucial. Support for foster and adoptive families is needed much past the initial placement. Parenting a child from a background of trauma many times gets more difficult over the weeks and months instead of easier.
Here are a few specific ways you can provide on-going support for any foster or adoptive family.
1. Offer to be their family advocate.
Ask a foster or adoptive family if you can be their family advocate or “go-to” person. Let them know you are willing to say yes, no matter what time of day or night they call. You will say yes, no matter how crazy the request might be. If each foster or adoptive family has a family advocate, it is much easier to ask for help. It is a weight off their shoulders to know they can ask their family advocate for help at any time for anything and the answer will be yes.
Here’s some examples of requests they might ask for:
-Meals for a particularly busy week of therapy sessions
-A fun night out for their kids because their foster or adopted child is dealing with some major trauma behaviors
-Help with lawn maintenance while a spouse is out of town
-Help with overwhelming laundry or house cleaning during times of transition
As the family advocate, you don’t have to accomplish every task yourself. Instead, you are the point person to organize others who can help. This alleviates the pressure for the family to organize getting the help they need. If they have to organize it themselves, they will never ask.
2. Set a reminder on your phone to pray for a specific foster or adoptive family daily—and let them know you are genuinely praying for them.
Foster care is a spiritual battle. Adoption is a spiritual battle. It is a battle the family cannot survive alone and they must have others who are praying with them daily. Consistent and fervent prayer is the best gift anyone can provide for a foster or adoptive family. Let them know you are praying for them and ask them how you can pray specifically for the needs of their family.
3. Set a reminder on your phone to call or text a specific foster or adoptive family weekly.
One of the most common struggles of foster and adoptive families is the feeling of isolation. A weekly text or phone message is a reminder that they are not alone. This is also a good way to let them know you are praying for them and get to know their specific prayer needs. Send an encouraging Scripture, a funny meme, or even a Starbucks gift card via text. What a blessing of encouragement this is to foster and adoptive families to know you are walking with them on this journey!
Not everyone can be a foster family or adopt a child, but everyone can do something! Find a family today and offer to provide meaningful on-going support. If you would like to talk to someone about more ways you can be a support to foster families, please contact Beth Pace at firstname.lastname@example.org.