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May is National Foster Care Awareness month, and as everyone has been reading my facebook statuses……I have shared ways to pray for every aspect of the foster care system.

But, now, I think it’s time to share ways that EVERYONE can help the orphan, especially the foster child.  It has been brought to my attention that I talk a *lot* about fostering, and that it really isn’t something that everyone should do.

Quite right, quite right. 

I 100% agree with that statement, and I’ve stated that very things several times, including on the blog. 

No, not everyone is cut out to foster and/or adopt.

Some people just should not do that.  Each one of us has talents and skills we excel at, and for some, that does not include parenting other peoples children.  For others, it may be not parenting at all.  We are all made differently. 

So, if God commanded us in the Bible to help the orphan, how are we to do this if we weren’t made to foster and/or adopt?

Well, as luck would have it, I’m there for ya.

Here is a list of ideas that ANYONE can help a foster child in your area: 

1.)  Pray.  I know this goes without saying, but we are dealing with so many problems all at the same time, without God, we’d be lost.  Completely.  Pray for physical, emotional, spiritual healing.  Pray for comfort and peace, patience and energy.  Pray for needs being met, emotional, spiritual and financial.  Pray for workers and attorneys and counselors and therapists.  Pray especially for wisdom and understanding.

2.)  Respite.  One of the BIGGEST blessings for me throughout this nearly 9 month fostering journey, has been my best friend taking the time to become my OFFICIAL respite worker.  She has taken the children for me on several occasions and that has been such a God-send.  The kids love her too!  I don’t think I could have done this without her.  Some times you DO just need a chance to step back, regroup and BREATHE.  If you cannot foster, but you still want to be involved on a closer level, sign up to be a respite worker.  It means spending time with foster children, but only as often as you need. 

3.)  Volunteer.  This takes almost ANY form, here’s a few ideas:

     a.)  Volunteer at the shelter.  I know the shelter in our area is SUPER nice, and they’ve made it EASY to volunteer!  You can volunteer as much or as little as your schedule allows!  And the ideas are LIMITLESS:  clothes sorter, book reader, baby rocker, basketball player, make up artist, paint fingernails, etc etc etc….

     b.)  Tutor a foster child whether in the shelter or in a foster family.

     c.)  Become a Big Brother or Big Sister in your area.

4.)  Have a skill?  USE IT!  I know of one photographer that has volunteered her skill taking Senior photos for all the graduating Seniors from the Children’s Home!  I’ve known a hair salon that all of the hair stylists volunteered their skill to cutting an entire foster families hair whenever they needed it.  I’ve known of a movie theater that allowed a foster home free movies to use as rewards.  I’ve known of carpenters that volunteered their time and skill to adding on a bedroom to make room for more foster children. (A local lumber yard donated the supplies!)  A Karate school waived tuition for their karate classes.  A bakery donated birthday cakes to a foster family for all their birthdays.  It REALLY is limitless in how you volunteer!

5.)  Become a CASA worker.

6.)  Adopt a foster family.  We were so blessed to have had the Frito Lay company in our state, adopt our family at Christmas time.  We really would have been completely SCREWED without their help!  When we were house parents at the Children’s Home in our area, we had a church "adopt” each house.  Each church did various things, but here are some ideas of what some of the churches did:  provided a meal WITH the family once a month, provided groceries occasionally, took them out once a month for a fun outing to the lake/bowling/camping trip/movies/etc, helped with house projects once a month, sent presents/cards for each child’s birthday, spent TIME with each child and did fun, personal things with each child.  Talk to your church about ways they can get involved and help a foster family (or Children’s Home) in your area.  If it’s a small foster family, perhaps a church can adopt several foster families! 

7.)  Donate.  Clothes, shoes, used electronics (iPads, iPods, calculators, tvs, dvd players, computers, etc), furniture, small kitchen appliances, TOYS, baby equipment, FOOD, books….pretty much anything usuable in good condition can be used by a foster family or the Shelter or a Children’s Home.  Donate TIME and TALENT as well.  Can’t say that enough.

8.)  Mentor.  I just feel like this needed it’s own space.  Being a foster child is HARD and they can feel so alone, sometimes, just knowing someone is out there and cares what happens to you, and keeps in touch with you, REALLY helps.  It can be something as simple as emailing or texting or more involved like getting together.  They need positive role models and encouraging people to walk this hard road with them.  They need to know they are important to someone and that they matter.  It’s an easy thing to do!

There are MANY, MANY opportunities that EVERYONE can do something to help.  It just takes the desire to do them.  What is your excuse?

Father God, I ask that You will prick the hearts of everyone that reads this post, even those who just browsed it, with the heart and desire to help those in need.  Open their eyes to see the opportunities available to them to obey Your commandment of helping the orphans.  Open their ears to hear their cries.  Soften their hearts, Lord, to the need that is out there.  I believe You did command us, all of us, to help and I ask that this month, people will step up and obey.  Thank You for trusting us with these 3 foster children and help us to always do the right thing.

In Your precious Son’s name.

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