After we decided to foster and hopefully adopt, I spent hours browsing a state sponsored website that profiles children in the foster care system available for adoption. The website listed hundreds of children of all ages. I finally had to stop for two reasons. We still needed to take our training classes and get certified. That was at least 4-6 months away. And, I wanted to take almost every child home. Reading about each child’s story overwhelmed me.
The challenge or problem like hundreds of orphaned children needing a family overwhelms any person. The sad thing is that overwhelming challenges can cause us to do nothing at all. We do not know where to begin. Or, we feel bad that we can not help them all.
It seems useless to meet the needs of only one child. So why even try?
I struggled with this for a while. I finally decided that I needed to do what I could for one at-risk child even if only for a short time. When we accepted our first foster placement, I thought he was the only person that we would impact. I soon learned that our actions affected and influenced more than this one child.
We interacted with the biological family of our foster son much more than I expected. You can read about it in this blog post – 4 Things I Learned from Meeting the Family. We continue to pray for healing and restoration in this family.
Professionals involved with the case
We interacted with caseworkers and lawyers a lot more than I expected. Some visited our home many times. Hopefully our friendship and encouragement helped them to work hard at meeting the needs of other children in their caseload.
Friends, neighbors and even people we did not know
We affect one another more than we realize. It is that simple. People that never gave orphan care a thought, have it on their radar screen now simply because they are in relationship with us.
Let me recommend a few ways other than fostering or adopting to impact more than one at risk child:
- Provide Respite Care – Sometimes foster families need an extended break or need to travel without their foster child. Find out what kind of requirements you need to give temporary care of the foster child.
- Build Relationships at a Children’s Home – Group homes like, Texas Baptist Children’s Home in Round Rock, Texas, always seek people and families that will invest in the children living there.
- Become a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) – A CASA advocates for a foster child for as long as the child remains in the court system. Visit the Williamson County CASA website to get more information.
So, instead of feeling helpless in the face of enormous challenges or hoping they go away, remember that even your seemingly small investment in a person’s life potentially impacts more than that one.
How do you usually respond when faced with an enormous challenge?