From the Desk of Laurel Senick:
I’m humbled to have a moment to share a bit of our fostering journey. It all started for us with a little boy from Belarus named Sergei. We hosted Sergei every summer for six years and despite his lack of English and our lack of Russian we made a precious bond.
Admittedly, the first year was the hardest, but after building a language of mime and shared experiences we looked forward each year to his return. It was his coming and the little sadness mixed with relief when he went home that first prodded my heart to foster. “I think we could foster,” an innocent, if not naïve, statement to Don one night after Sergei left.
It’s been almost four years since that night and eight foster children have come and gone. Some stayed only a few days, some for a year. But it wouldn’t have been possible without our church community because honestly, it’s tough.
Our small group made being foster parents possible by encouraging us, praying for us and the kids, loving us without judgement and being ready with the truth when we needed it. A huge shout out to Amy and Nick who babysat the twins and teen-sat our 12-year-old. Whew, she was a toughy! Also, Sydney and Brittany who each babysat the twins so we could have a date night.
My favorite things about fostering? Watching a child grow in a nurturing environment. Most kids come into care with such major deficits that even a few months of stability makes a visible difference. Also, sharing the love of Christ in a concrete way deepened our understanding of God’s love.
The hardest things about fostering? The beginning, the middle and the end. Which brings me to the purpose of this blog: What can YOU do for abused and neglected children? Can you foster? Maybe not, but you can do something with the love of Christ. You could be a foster parent’s most valuable asset, the Respite Foster Parent. This is a licensed foster parent who provides a needed break for foster parents for a date night or a weekend away, etc.
A six-week class that meets once a week for a couple of hours, a background check and a fire marshal to check out your home could make the difference for a child remaining stable in a foster home. Since our church is partnering with the Bair Foundation talking with a member of their team could be a first step. Maybe this will be the beginning of your fostering journey...
“Come you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.”
Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you or in prison and go to visit you?”
The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” Matt 25:3440 (NIV)