Fostering: Extending Love to the Orphan

Published June 20, 2017 by

Are you sorry you missed our recent foster event?

Here’s what we learned:

On Tuesday, May 30, about a dozen gathered at the home of Bob & Nancy Stallard to meet two foster families who attend First Presbyterian Church Northshore and a recruiter from the Department of Children and Families. We had the opportunity to hear about their journeys and how NSCBC might support foster children. If you missed the event, here’s a recap:

The Department of Children and Families is looking to churches to help find foster homes. Why?

  1. They know that churches are full of people who will be open to loving children in need of homes – whether those are temporary or permanent.
  2. They know that being a foster parent is not easy and planting foster homes in churches will provide those families with others to bring meals, offer babysitting, donate clothes or toys, and otherwise support families and prevent them from burning out.
  3. They know those children will find a new extended family in the church community: Sunday School teachers, youth pastors, friends, and other caring mentors.

Here are some of the other topics we discussed:

  • We talked about attachment – Many adults worry they could never foster because they “might get too attached.” Perhaps counter-intuitive, but attachment is exactly what foster families should be aiming for! Children who have experienced trauma, abuse, or neglect need consistent, loving connections with responsive adults. Forming attachment teaches a child how to attach, and that attachment can be transferred back to their birth parent or an adoptive parent someday. Attachment is exactly how children learn to give and receive love.
  • We talked about what it takes – Becoming a foster parent does not require having a huge house, being married, having a big savings account, being a stay-at-home parent, or even having parented before. Most stable adults can foster. In fact, empty nesters make some of the best foster parents!
  • Long-term placements are not the only way to help – Emergency care, respite care, permanent placements, mentoring, even making oneself available to babysit – all are needed. The Department of Children and Families trains foster parents and helps them carefully select what type of foster care they might like to engage in as well as what sorts of children and situations would fit well with their family so that appropriate matches can be made.
  • Foster families need a lot of support – Foster families at First Presbyterian have started a support group for foster parents. There is a community of people ready to support foster families. If a few in our church become foster parents, many others will be needed to “adopt” the family and help them with transporting kids, babysitting, or folding laundry.
  • Christian foster parents shared their motivation to do something so challenging – Families shared a sense of joy in having a family ministry – sharing their lives, their homes, and their faith.

Perhaps not ironically, the Sunday following our Foster Care Discussion was Pentecost Sunday when Christians all over the world read from Acts 2. In this passage, the Holy Spirit arrives to the early Christians. Men and women begin to share the gospel powerfully. As Bobby described in his sermon that day, those who listened were cut to the heart – run-through – with a message of undeserved grace and hope in Jesus Christ. That day, the Church was born. The passage concludes with a description of the community that formed when the Spirit of God continued dwelling with these first Christians – when ordinary people let the gospel drive the way they lived together, they became entirely open-handed and generous. Unsurprisingly, we know from history that these very people also opened their homes to Rome’s orphans. This same sense of calling has inspired Christians in every generation to do likewise.

If you think you might have interest in getting involved in ministry to foster children, contact office@nscbc.org and you’ll be directed to information that NSCBC gathered from DCF and connected to those who attended the meeting for more information.

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