A few weeks ago, a friend tagged me on a Facebook comment in response to someone posting about trying to find a home for two young adults who had just aged out of foster care.
The woman sounded desperate to help these kids out and I appreciated her sincere desire to care for these two young people.
In an effort to help, I suggested that the kids could really benefit from the power of a mentor and dropped links to organizations that could help. I figured that trying to inspire people to mentor aging-out youth was more doable and almost as powerful as trying to convince them totake them into their homes.
However, the poor lady that made the post thought I was shaming her because she was asking for someone to take them into their home--she made it clear that she was not asking about mentoring.
I get it. Here she was asking for food and water (figuratively speaking) and here I was offering icing on the cake.
I could hear the compassion in her tone and I wanted so badly to “educate” her on the realities of aging out youth and what we could do as a community to help--but she was too bothered by my suggestions to really understand or listen.
Suddenly, I regretted having my name dropped in the comments. The last thing I want to do is make anyone feel shamed or rebuked when they are genuinely trying to help.But the truth is...there is SO MUCH we can do outside of adopting or fostering. I wasn’t trying to disregard her ask, we definitely need more people opening up their homes to hurting children, but opening up your heart is still possible and SO vital to the work.
So in honor of National Adoption Month, here are:
5 Ways to Take Part in National Adoption Month (without Adopting)
Fostering is one of the few ministries that brings the battle to the hearth of your home. Meaning that your whole family is on the frontlines whether they want to be or not. There are so many ways that we could lend a hand to these families so that they can be a better support to the children they are serving.You can call your church to see if there are active foster families there or reach out to your local Child Protective Agency and ask if there are specific ways you can help those families. Below are ideas from my days as a foster mom:
- A phone call from a friend letting me know they were praying
- A casserole delivered to my home
- Hand-me-downs to help cover extra growing bodies in our home
- A Starbucks gift card for quick drive-thru pick-me-ups
2. Become a Mentor
Did you catch my Denzel Washington quote from last week? One caring adult is often the difference between a road to success or failure for a teenager in foster care. If you are local, you can contact Hope’s Path or Angel Reach and learn more about what it takes to invest some time and love into a young person who may not have ever experienced that in his/her life.
3. Sponsor a child in Haiti through Grangou or Consider Giving Towards their Outreach
Haiti is undergoing skyrocketing inflation and general upheaval. Our partners on the ground, Grangou, are committed to staying true to their original mission but can’t do it without the support of local community.
Hear it from them:
“We are so thankful that we are equipped with resources to weather this time in Haiti. It’s not easy for our kids but thankfully, food and water have not been a major problem. Unfortunately, outside our walls is a different story. Food prices have increased, people haven’t been able to work and many people are hungry.
People considering abandoning their children for lack of food is just too much. Our mission is to feed hearts, bodies and minds. And now is the time to reach outside and help the community with some basics. Starting next week we will be distributing food out of Shamah Church three times per week coupled with prayer and the gospel. We want the community to know the church sees their suffering and does not turn a blind eye. It will be a temporary outreach as we are hopeful that soon life will return to normal.
Though things have been calm this week, we know the effects of this time will extend for a while and we also know things can heat up at anytime. If you’d like to contribute to the food outreach, please do so on our website. Enter food in notes section. We could use your help!Obviously this isn’t part of our budget but we believe it is important. Looking to raise about $3000 to get the outreach to January when we will reassess. Thank you friends!"#grangouhaiti #travaybondye #food
4. Check out Christian Alliance for Orphans
CAFO is the leader of Christian care for orphans and hurting children around the world. They have loads of information on both local and global efforts and partner with hundreds of organizations committed to taking care of the fatherless.Here is a great place to start if you want to learn more about how you could use your gifts and talents to take part in orphan care advocacy in your community.
5. Shop with Purpose
As you know, I am passionate about inspiring women to use the power of their purchase to make a positive impact in hurting communities. Choosing to shop Fair Trade is a way to prevent both Moms and Dads from having to give up their children to orphanages simply because they can not afford to take care of them.
‘Tis the season to fuel change in Haiti and other countries by purchasing beautiful gifts that are relevant to your lives and the lives of the makers.
Here are a few of my favorite Fair Trade shops that I know are 100% committed to family preservation in hurting communities:
After almost 10 years of working in orphan care and having adopted through the foster care system, I know firsthand that it takes many small gestures to make a big difference. It’s not about shaming one another or making others feel like they are not doing enough--it’s about inviting people to believe that every good deed towards the fatherless helps the wheels of orphan justice turn in our favor.
There really is something everyone can do!