Today, I want to talk to my friends who are supporting foster parents, but before we jump in I want to say thank you! Being a foster parent is one of the greatest honors of my life, at the same time, it is one of the most physically and emotionally exhausting things I’ve ever done. Having a supportive community that rallies around myself and the kids in my care has helped push me to be a better foster mom and to keep speaking life and hope over these kids. If you are a friend or family member of a foster parent, please know the love and support you give are critical to helping us love on and grow with our foster children. We simply could not do it without you. Here are some ways to help that are tangible and you can start doing this week!
Bring them a Meal
I have a little rule at my house that if someone offers dinner we take it. Some days here are absolutely crazy from therapist visits, social workers stopping by, doctors appointments, family visits or a million other things that dinner gets pushed later and later. Having someone say they’re bringing over dinner is like Christmas morning over here. If cooking isn’t your thing you can order food to your friend's house if you don’t like either of those options you can send a gift card for groceries. If someone says to me “hey, we will bring dinner sometime!” I can most likely guess it won’t happen, not because they didn’t mean it but because there was no plan made. If you want to help by making a meal ask your foster parent friend “what night this week can I bring you dinner?” and then show up that night, food in hand.
Help Out With Simple Tasks
As foster parents, our time is usually taken up with the kids in our care. Our schedules are filled drives, back and forth from appointments and activities and sometimes simple household chores take a back seat. For example, as I was first adjusting to life with two toddlers, the biggest chores that were neglected were the dishes and the yard (You can read more about lessons I've learned during my first year being a foster mom, here). On any given day last summer if you came to my house there would always be dishes in the sink and the grass would be grown way too high. A friend of mine offered to mow the grass for me and him and his wife showed up every other week to take care of my yard. It has been the biggest blessing. Another friend always does the dishes when she comes to hang out. She just walks in and either unload or loads the dishwasher and every single time I’m so thankful. It's the simplest and kindest task and I’m blown away every time. Is there a chore you don’t mind doing or one you even really enjoy? I bet if you told your foster parent friend you wanted to come over and clean for them or fold the laundry or mow their grass they would be so excited and ask what time you would be over.
Give a Practical Gift
Maybe you don’t have the time to do an act of service or you’re like me and doing dishes is your least favorite thing. You can help financially or with simple gifts! I know, I know, it’s awkward to talk about money but hang with me. I’m not even talking about gifts for the foster parents. Get things for their kids! It is always so cool to see my friends love on my kids. If you’re uncomfortable giving cash ask your friend “do your kids need new shoes? What size? I’d love to help!” or “What size diapers can I pick up for you?” or “Would you rather a chipotle gift card or a gas gift card?” Get specific and ask for one thing you can buy. Your money and gift, big or small, is such a light and encouragement.
As foster parents, we know you didn’t ask to be involved in foster care, we dragged you into it with us. We are so thankful to have you by our sides. We could not do this wild ride without our people walking next to us, encouraging and picking us up on the hard days and celebrating the big and little moments with us. These are just ideas to get you thinking, you know your friend and what they need best. Reach out to them and tell them how you’re going to support them. Thank you for coming along and loving kids with us.
Want to know more about starting a foster parenting journey? Visit here to get all the info.