Stand Sunday {EIGHT things YOU can do to take a stand for foster children and foster parents}

 

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Next time you are at church, take a look around at the empty seats.  Imagine if those seats were filled with foster children who were being taken care of by members of the congregation.  Wouldn’t that be an awesome sight to see?

This coming up Sunday (November 12th) is “Stand Sunday”.  Stand Sunday, an initiative of Orphan Sunday and The Christian Alliance for Orphans is designated as the day where churches are asked to take a stand for foster children.  Ultimately, the goal is for there to be an abundance of appropriate foster homes to meet the diverse needs of every single child in the system.

Not everyone is able to be a foster parent, but everyone can do something to help.  There are many ways that you and your church can take a stand for foster children.

Here are a few things to consider:

  1. Foster care is a mission field and the church should be involved.  As a church, reach out to local child welfare agencies and request ways that you can help them out.  Do they need volunteers for special events?  Donations of certain items?  What needs could your church fill?
  2. If foster parents attend your church, offer them a “parents night out” by providing childcare.  Each state may have different processes for approval; however, this is not an impossible task to achieve and the families absolutely need it.
  3. If you are a foster parent or work in the field, ask your pastor about guest speaking.  Eek!  I know that sounds really scary but only you can provide the kind of insight needed to get the message across.  (You can do it!)
  4. Sometimes, all it takes is for people to be aware of the magnitude of an issue before they get involved.  Ask your church if it would print a little blurb about the facts, numbers, and needs of foster children in US foster care system and add it to the Sunday morning pamphlets that are distributed when people walk through the doors.  Knowledge is power!
  5. Start a meal train for new foster families.  There is nothing more chaotic than the first week or so of a new foster placement.  Often, these families become instant parents to two or more children of different ages and with varying needs.  Cooking dinner (unless you count boxed mac-n-cheese/not judging at all) is the last thing on their minds.
  6. Think about your own talents.  Are you a great photographer?  Do you have a teachable skill set?  Are you a retired teacher or coach?  If so, use your talents and experiences to tutor and mentor youth in care.
  7. Just be present.  I know that sounds a little cheesy and all but nothing feels better than knowing one is heard, loved and supported during the good days and the bad.
  8. Pray!  Seriously, Church.  Pray without ceasing for children in the system, for their biological parents, caseworkers, Judges and juvenile authorities and for the foster and relative homes who are all on the front lines of battling child abuse and neglect.

I’ve worked in child welfare for close to 17 years.  I fostered for four years, as well.  I sure wish the demand for my job did not involve child abuse and neglect.  I’ve worked with far too many kids who have said, “No one cares”.

Church, it’s time we show them we care. 

It’s time we take a stand.

Everything We Do Matters

photo913It was one of those laundry-washing, Lysol-spraying kind of days recently as my daughter brought home a nasty little stomach bug from preschool.  She was up nearly all night with it.  Thankfully, the little critter (that’s my name for it), successfully purged itself out of my daughter as it was purging everything…and I mean everything… she had eaten.  (Sorry for the details, but I’m a mother, so nothing really grosses me out anymore.)

At one point during the morning, I took a break from my frantic, and probably futile, attempt at cleansing my home.  As soon as I sat down on the couch, my daughter came over to me, snuggled up (even though I would have preferred her to be in a bubble), hugged my leg (because I wouldn’t let her hug my face), and said, “Thank you for taking care of me, Mommy.”  

Shortly after her soft “thank you”, I loosened up my need to stay as far away from her flu-bug infested body that I could.  I cozied up to her, and said, “You are welcome, sweetie.  I’m your Mommy, and I’m supposed to take care of you.”  As the day progressed, she started feeling better, and I went about my day trying to answer work emails, and wash whatever I could get my hands on.  Her thankfulness resonated within my thoughts, though.

Lately, it seems my heart and head have been in somewhat of a whirlwind.  I get the required tasks of the day completed, and then I exhale.  This morning during church, as I was thinking about my children and what I needed to do for them, the Lord gently reassured this to me:

“You are also a child.  You are My Child.  Everything that you do matters.”

Sometimes, it seems easy to forget that we are children of the Lord.  We get caught up in our troubles, desires, mistakes, and ego-driven need to succeed.  We negate the trivial acts of the day, and focus on what we could do with our lives if we had more time, more money, and more power.  We fail to remember that the smallest of tasks, if done in love, are often some of the most significant tasks of the day.

On the flip side of this, the things we fail to do matter as well.  If we fail to be present with our children, loving to our spouses, unkind to our friendships, disloyal to our parents, and unfaithful to our Lord, the ramifications are great.  Ultimately, to ignore the calling on our lives to serve others through our presence, prayer, service, and sharing of testimonies, could potentially mean the difference between life and death; earthly life, and earthly death.  Eternal life, and eternal death.

Friends and fellow believers, please don’t doubt your significance to this world, the lives of your children, your spouse, and your Heavenly Father.  Please don’t forget that your presence and love even in the lives of strangers matter. Jesus didn’t find you insignificant when He chose the Cross.