“The Turners have a new foster child!” A wide-eyed 12-year-old walked into church beside the couple, and people began to welcome him.
When God prompts someone in your church to foster a child, how will your church respond? Are preschool, children’s, and youth workers prepared? Will people in your church lovingly support those brave parents and welcome that child?
Get ready to make a difference. Try some of these fresh ideas:
1. Get prepared. Get an organized support team in place ahead of time to be ready to welcome foster children. Listen to the excellent podcast “The Adopting and Fostering Home” at NAMB.net or iTunes. Send your children’s/youth minister or a key volunteer through your state’s foster care training.
Have a respite plan in place to help absorb foster parents’ weariness. Organize a foster and adoptive parent Christian support group.
2. When a foster parent receives a child, rally around them. Discover immediate needs and help meet them. Loan a car seat. Prepare a care package. Appoint one person to organize some meals.
Remember to allow bonding time. Leave gifts at the door. Arrange a visit only after the foster family says they’re ready for guests. And pray. The day my daughter and son-in-law picked up their foster children, a church member texted, asking how she could pray. Every week thereafter, she still texts and prays.
3. When the foster child comes to church, make a lasting impression. This could possibly be that child’s only experience in God’s house with God’s people. So, show interest. Talk to the child. Be a friend. Cook the child’s favorite meal or dessert. Give a teen a small Wal-Mart gift card.
Be patient. Show grace if behavioral problems occur. Give the child value by learning his name and calling him by it. Recognize him. And teach your own children to offer friendship, care, and kindness.
The Turners fostered many children over the years. Each child was showered with God’s love by their foster parents…and their church. As God calls church families to foster children in great need, how will your church partner with them?
© 2017 DianaDavis.org