How Can I Support Foster Families?
How can I support foster families? You can do many practical things to support foster families. You don't have to do big, magical Disney trips to help out a foster family. Individuals can support foster families by doing simple, every day, normal giving tasks. Think basic! Think fun.
How can I support foster families?
Here is a basic list of ideas to support foster families:
fix a casserole for them and drop it off to be eaten at their convenience
give a pizza party night at your house
donate McDonald's gift cards
give them NICE gently used clothing or shoes (call beforehand and ask if they can use or want them... don't just dump them off!)
donate coffee cards to the parents
offer to babysit for a parent 'date night'
donate tickets to a minor league baseball game
offer to take one or two of the kids on an errand with your child (if you have kids the same age who are friends or could become friends...)
offer normal playdates with your own children at the park
sit with them and listen
send a text asking if they need anything and then provide that need; follow up
drop off a premade dessert on your way home from Kroger
Some of these may seem weird to you but, trust me, a new foster family, or one with a new placement, will appreciate it. A seasoned foster family will appreciate it also. TEXT or Call!
My first placement came like a whirlwind.
I got a call on a Thursday and by Friday afternoon two new, very little people were in my house going a million miles an hour. I had clothes to wash, groceries to buy, Boy "stuff" to purchase (because I only had girl cups, bowls, sheets, washcloths, towels, etc.... and these would not do!).
Then, I did laundry (I needed to wash their clothes for my sanity because I did not want them wearing clothes that were not washed from the "other" home). Next, I had paperwork to complete for their school. Finally, I had two extra baths to give. And the list seemed eternal. Thankfully, I had a friend who I called, and she brought over a set or two of Thomas the Train plates, cups and silverware, a few other "boy" toys, and lots of encouragement.
I needed her more than she knew.
We went to Big Lots for the rest. It was our first trip to the store with six people. I felt like everyone was watching us and counting how many kids we had. Another tip: don't count the kids and don't stare at the bi-racial ones.
How can you support foster families?
Listen to them. They are in a struggle that no one understands until you arrive. There is no glamour, reward, hand clap, or awe. You are completely alone at times and feel like you have been left out.
Standing alone, together?
You need friendship more than anything and a genuine smile. My friend Brittany and I laugh because often we just stand next to each other - off to the side after church and say that makes us feel better because then we are not alone as people are pouring out of the sanctuary. Foster care is like that. For instance, you just need someone to stand with you - whether they say anything or not.
Don't think Disney trip, think genuine love.
Foster families are not doing this for recognition; actually, they are doing this because of a desire in their heart that is inexpressible - unexplainable. Why would anyone willingly ask for more chaos? additional headache? new levels of responsibility? more oversight? unimaginable stress?
Foster families do this for a million different reasons. Each as unique as the family itself. Let's support them in the endeavor and in the challenge.
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