Happy New Year! As 2019 ushers in new opportunities for goal setting and pursuing ambitions, now is the perfect time to consider how to renew your commitment to actionable steps to support the foster families in your life.
Pray – Reach out and ask about how you can be specifically praying for your foster family. Prayer apps like Echo allow you to enter a prayer reminder and it will pop up at the same time every day. Consider setting a reminder in your phone to text or check in with your foster family about their prayer request and ask how they are doing.
Bring a meal or care package – No matter what stage of placement your foster family is in, the scheduling demands of foster care can leave little time to plan a meal. Offering to drop a meal in their refrigerator or freezer can be just the relief needed at the end of a long day. Gift cards for the family to order in are great too! Another option to consider is providing care packages for children and adults. Deliver a sack of kid-friendly snacks such as juice boxes, protein snacks, apples, granola bars, or fruit snacks. Don’t forget the adults with favorites like dark chocolate, donuts, or coffee!
Listen – Fostering is very different from typical parenting. Foster children and foster parents will need time to reflect on the ever-changing emotions of navigating this different lifestyle. You can expect that the foster families will feel a vast range of emotions and sometimes they may bubble up all at once. Don’t share advice or judge. Just listen.
Store and/or offer gently used kids items – Families who foster babies and toddlers are in the greatest need of equipment, but items for all ages are appreciated. Offer storage space in your garage or basement for items not currently in use. Volunteer to clean and organize items when a child transitions in our out of the foster home. Set aside items your children may have grown out of and bring them over when needed. Foster families already store an enormous amount of gear anticipating future placements, so it would be nice for them to avoid shuffling one more thing around the house.
Simple gestures can make a profound difference in the life of a foster family. Think about one thing you can implement to nurture these important relationships throughout the year!