“It’s so much fun!” Jim said for the umpteenth time in the conversation. “The pay is tremendous – you get to laugh, you get your heart filled, you get to see families grow and thrive and kids that smile and look like they’re having fun. It’s a really neat deal to see this.”
His enthusiasm is contagious and shared by his wife, Carol. They both love what they get to do and consider it an incredible privilege, an amazing opportunity to serve God by serving others and the source of so much joy in their lives.
They describe what they get to do as being grandparents without being related. As FaithBridge volunteers, they pour into and play with children who are temporarily placed with foster families. To put it simply, they babysit for foster families at their own church.
They heard a FaithBridge foster mom share during worship about how their church, Dunwoody Baptist Church, was involved with foster care ministry and were intrigued, so they discussed it and “the next thing you know, we’re at the meeting…and the next thing you know, we’re babysitting,” said Jim.
Stepping into this role was natural for them. They’re grandparents themselves; Carol works part-time, and Jim is retired. They drive kiddos to therapy appointments and help out wherever needed. The family they work with most also has biological children, but Jim and Carol see them all the same as they seek to support and serve the entire family. They recognize the challenges of fostering on the entire family and agree with FaithBridge that no one should foster alone.
“It’s through the love that the families develop for these children,” says Carol. “They do that [foster] because of God’s love for us. It’s pretty much the only way they can do it. If not, I can’t imagine how you could. When I have the opportunity to talk about the FaithBridge model, it’s not just the foster parent on their own trying to figure it out. It is the support network.”
Dunwoody Baptist Church is a FaithBridge partner church that takes the Community of Care℠ seriously. They have recruited church members to be tutors, cooks, donors – everyone seems to pitch in.
“Had the families had to do this [foster] on their own with their own children, they couldn’t have done it,” continued Carol. “It’s not surprising that the system fails when families try to do it on their own. The [FaithBridge Community of Care℠] model works!”
FaithBridge and foster families are so grateful for people like Jim and Carol. Not everyone is in a position or called to foster children. And that’s OK. If everyone fostered who had a heart for foster children, there’d be no one left to volunteer! It’s a beautiful thing when the body of Christ is lived out in practical ways reflecting God’s love all over people, especially children who come from hard places.
And, as Jim says, “it’s so much fun!”
“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.”