November is National Adoption Month. In partnership with Orphan Sunday, November 12th is Stand Sunday in support of foster care. The Christian Alliance for Orphans is behind this event, and you can view a video on how Stand Sunday started (it’s short and worth the watch). What I love about this event is it teaches that everyone can do something to support foster care, not just foster parents.
10 Ways to Participate in Stand Sunday
- Pray: Simply praying is such a powerful way to participate in Stand Sunday. Agape for Children has a few well written prayers that can help direct your prayers for foster families. One prayer is, “Pray for children in foster care. Pray that they experience God’s love through the love and care given to them by their foster family and others involved in their case. Pray that God will heal the deep hurts these children have and protect them from future harm. Pray that God will provide each of them permanency either through their biological families or through adoption.“
- Use Resources: Check out the resources on the Christians Alliance for Orphan’s website. They have posters you can print for your church or business, memes you can share on Sunday, idea guides to help welfare professionals in your area, and ways to present information on foster care to your church.
- Bring it to Social Media: Like the ice bucket challenge, you can participate in a social media challenge by posting a picture of an empty chair, including one practical way you can stand for foster care, and nominating a friend to do the same.
- Donating for the Holidays: Many agencies will spend money on Christmas gifts for the children. Sometimes the agencies will ask foster parents for a list and find sponsors to purchase some of the items. Contact your local agency to find out how you can help bring Christmas presents to a foster child this year.
- Start a Clothing Closet: Clothing closets are rooms of donated clothing where foster parents can come and take what they need for new placements. It can be as big as a nonprofit business or as small as asking your church if they have an extra closet to spare for the cause. Check out the list of foster clothing closets in the United States, and think about starting one if you notice your area is lacking.
- Have a Conversation: The most convincing testimony for foster care is living it. When you can spend an afternoon hanging out with a child in foster care, it demystifies what it’s like. Connect with someone and talk about it; find out that it’s not as scary as it seems!
- Volunteer Your Skills: I was talking with a fellow foster mom who mentioned that many foster children don’t have many (or any at all) photographs of them as babies and growing up. Everyone deserves quality photos of their childhood. If you’re a photographer, could you offer free photography sessions for children in foster care? If you’re crafty, could you sew stuffed animals for your agency to deliver to families for the holidays? Could you put together backpacks for foster children starting school in the fall?
- Share Items You’re Not Using: I have been incredibly blessed by friends letting me use clothing and toys their children have outgrown. Especially if you have a wide age range you’re willing to take, it’s difficult to be prepared ahead of time with all the clothing and materials you’ll need for a placement. I’ve really appreciated those gestures, and I’m sure others do too!
- Encouragement: There are certain parts of fostering that can be lonely. Because of privacy issues, there are successes and setbacks that we can’t always share. For example, in my state I can’t share any photos of the children in our care on social media. In this day and age, that can sometimes be a challenge! If you know someone who fosters, a kind word of encouragement might be just what the doctor ordered.
- Sign Up: I’m a big believer in taking it slow and finding the right time to become a foster parent, but if you feel a tug on your heart to get involved, act on it in some way. That might mean talking to an agency, requesting to be on a mailing list, praying about it, or discussing it with your family.
Ask yourself this Sunday if you’re willing to stand for foster care.