Supporting Families and Children in Foster Care
“Take up the cause of the fatherless.” Isaiah 1:17 (NIV)
November 12th was Orphan Sunday, a day when the Church stands up for the orphan. November is also National Adoption Month. As of July 2017, there were 1,460 children in foster care in King County, and about 8,800 children in foster care across the state of Washington (more statistics here). Our church family hopes to rally around these children and the families directly supporting them, bringing and being Christ to them in their isolation, fear, and uncertainty.
Caleb and Leah Gross, members of Downtown Cornerstone, have experienced first hand the joy, heartache, difficulty, and miracle of welcoming foster children into their home. Leah was familiar with foster care and adoption through her previous church and had a strong desire to be involved after seeing the great need for homes and foster parents. When they got married, Caleb was still getting used to the idea of foster care.
The Grosses reached out to us as we had gone through the process to become licensed and had been fostering for a short time. We shared our story of how God grew our desire to foster parent and our experiences with the fostering process. We met with Caleb and Leah a number of times over the course of several months. They helped care for our kiddos in foster care and brought us meals during transitions. It was remarkable to watch their hearts grow for children stuck in the foster system and become increasingly confident in God’s sovereignty and goodness for their life.
The Grosses became licensed through the state with relatively few hiccups and have since welcomed two kids into their home. When things got difficult, as they inevitably do, we met together, we encouraged one another, we cried together. We left that place more confident in the call to which Christ has called us.
“Is this the most comfortable or most convenient life? No. But if we’re followers of Christ, comfort isn’t the point at all. Rather joining in the work of bringing redemption and hope to the brokenness and darkness. In the meantime we are sanctified and are touched with new awareness of God’s love for us, His heart of mercy, and His compassion towards us. He is our good Father. If we get the honor of being a father or mother to those without, why wouldn’t we?”
Their story continues. The day in and day out of caring for children, going to appointments, attending court dates and bio-family visits, checking in with social workers, etc. We are here to support one another, spur one another on, and remind each other what Christ has done for us and the life for which He saved us.
DCC has been engaging with the foster care system for a number of years. During the 2014 and 2016 Advent seasons, we ran clothing drives for the foster youth in King County. We collected over 1,000 pieces of clothing! These clothes were distributed to kids in need of comfort and necessities. Learn about opportunities to help support foster families this season here.
- The Capitol Hill North Community supports a ‘Fostering Together’ support group by providing childcare and dinner every month to the foster families who attend.
- The Foster Support Faith Alliance (FSFA) is a ministry of Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission. The FSFA connects local churches wanting to engage the foster care system with the agencies and foster families in need of volunteer service. I have the opportunity to represent DCC as well as facilitate the local chapter of FSFA. We partner with the King West Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) office which is less than a mile away from our church building. We’ve partnered with the office in numerous ways to support foster families, bio families, and social workers.
- On September 30th, DCC hosted a Caregiver’s Evening Out event. Foster, adoptive and kinship care parents were able to enjoy an evening to themselves while we cared for their children. Thirty-five volunteers welcomed 40 children from 18 families, prepared dinner, played games, made crafts and tangibly loved these families involved in foster care. We were also able to provide goodie bags for all the parents. For various reasons, many of these families don’t have opportunities like these to take time for themselves. The families were so grateful and appreciative for the special night we helped facilitate for them!
WAYS TO GET INVOLVED
“I could never do that”, “I want to but would get too attached”, “They are so lucky to have you”. Many people don’t understand who can or can’t become a foster parent or the multitude of other ways you can support the fostering community.
We are holding a Foster Care Info Session & Viewing on November 19th at 1pm and will share specific ways to get involved. We’ll also watch the ReMoved films to give insight into foster care and will have time for discussion and questions.
If you are interested in attending or would like to find out more about foster care opportunities, please contact Ben and Anne at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For His glory,
Anne & Ben Johnson
DCC members & foster parents