The Community of Care® promises and provides support to foster families and, when it’s possible and appropriate, continues meeting the needs of families long after the children are officially part of the foster care system.
Meet the Simmons* family. Their two children were placed with a FaithBridge family who attended a church with a strong foster care ministry. Their congregation was accustomed to welcoming foster children—either as foster families themselves or as volunteers. They brought clothes, spent hours praying, babysat, drove and worked with birth parents. The support that the foster families felt was expected because it was normal.
When the Simmons children entered foster care, their parents diligently worked their plan to regain custody. When reunification became a reality, these parents, although ready by state regulation, were not ready. They needed stuff – clothes and food and supplies. They needed drivers to help get their children to appointments. They needed mentoring to continue to parent well. They needed prayer. These were needs that the Community of Care® had been meeting while the children were in foster care.
The unspoken expectation may have been that those who were volunteering would be able to step back and either stop volunteering or start serving a new family. However, that’s not how it worked.
The Community of Care® volunteers kept serving, kept driving and kept providing. The needs they met for the foster family didn’t go away for the birth parents, so there was more work to be done. Volunteers who were called to step up and stand in the gap for children and families in need do not stop caring when children go home to their birth families. In fact, that’s when some of the most exciting ministry opportunities begin! What a blessing it was to the birth family to be cared for so well and loved on so much by utter strangers who were willing to sacrifice time, energy and resources to help them be the parents their children needed and the parents God was calling them to be!
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.”
*Names and details have been changed to protect their privacy, and the families pictured represent those who foster, serve foster families, care for foster children and support birth parents as they work toward reunification.