Sunday, November 29, 2015

How you can support kids in foster care

submitted by: Bro. Chris Hunnicutt

Before one dismisses this article about foster care, adoption, and orphans, I suggest you consider reading its content. When the idea of foster care or adoption is mentioned, a typical response is, "I have my own children," or "that is something I can't do", but in reality it is much more. In fact, there is a place for everyone to support orphans, foster parents and adoption, that goes beyond taking a child to live with your family. We all can participate as a pivotal part of a child being nurtured and cared for so they too can be active and vibrant members of society.

The foster care system is FULL of children of all ages brought out of various situations (none of which are good). These children desire a place where they are loved, where they can be a kid, a place that is safe. A place to call home, however temporary. According to AdoptUsKids over 250,000 children will enter foster care this year. About half will be reconciled with their families, but the remaining half will remain in the system. Each year 10% of those children will “age out” of the system at 18 and will be on their own.

November is National Adoption Month, so why the focus on foster care? What’s the need for the statistics? Because each one of those numbers is a child. The more you are exposed to the hurt and the issues that resulted in a foster care placement or resulted in them being an orphan (both here in the US and abroad), the more you become passionate about being an advocate. When those numbers become a person, that’s when action occurs.

There are Waiting Children listings in all states with foster children who are waiting for forever families. A quick Google search of children waiting in Alabama brought up 85 children/sibling groups. And that's just here in the United States. There are children being raised in orphanages in other countries that are in need of forever families as well. There are adoption agencies with lists of waiting children; children who, for various reasons (disability, sibling groups, age, and sometimes even gender) are in need of adoption more quickly.

But what if you aren’t called to adopt?

We all have the power to say: “This is their story. It’s a part of them forever. I can’t change the beginning of their story, but I can bring some happiness to it.”

There are still ways you can be involved in adoption:
  • Become educated on foster care, orphan care and the orphan crisis. Educate yourself on what is acceptable (and not acceptable) to ask adoptive families/adoptees. 
  • Support friends/family members who are going through the adoption process. There are times it seems that adoption is viewed as the “back up” option for having a family. Pregnancy is applauded and there is contagious excitement that surrounds it. But adoptive parents going through the “paper pregnancy” or foster parents adopting from the system get the pat on the back and the "I couldn't do what you are doing, good luck to ya" speech. The process is not a quick one, it’s an emotional roller coaster, and the best thing you can do for someone adopting is be there and be supportive! Celebrate their child!
  • Mentor a child in foster care.
  • Become a respite care provider.
  • Find out what the needs are for your local DHR or children’s home and donate.
  • Pray!
And remember—that each number is a child….and no one person can do everything…but that everyone can do something.

Bro. Chris Hunnicutt and his wife Brittany are the proud parents of Kelly,
who they fostered before adopting in 2014.


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