What if there were more waiting homes than
HOW IT STARTED
When Bishop Aaron Blake, a pastor and foster/adoptive father in Texas, USA, left his breakfast table for church on the second Sunday in November of 2004, he had a sermon prepared … and it wasn’t about foster care:
“I had prepared a sermon to preach that morning that I had worked on all week. I stood up to bring the message when the breakfast table image of our boys came back to my mind. The faces of our sons seemed to multiply in my emotions as I recalled the image from the breakfast table earlier. I knew then that God was prompting our church to answer the call to care for children and broken families.”
Without explanation, Bishop Blake said to his congregation, “Brothers and sisters, there are about 30,000 children in the foster care system in Texas and nearly a half a million in the U. S.”
He then asked this one simple question (and he wasn’t expecting a verbal answer):
“Who will stand with me to defend, care, and support abused, abandon, and neglected children in our community?”
After a brief moment of silence, one lady in the back of the church stood up and simply replied,
“Pastor … I will.”
Like a tiny smoldering ember dropped in a pile of thirsty pine needles, her voice began to multiply. To his amazement, Bishop Blake watched as one family after another stood up and joined their voices to hers. As a result of that day, this church and the surrounding community has cared for and adopted hundreds of children in foster care over the last 12 years. In fact, their county actually has more than enough foster families to meet the need there.
Each year since 2004, churches around the globe have been celebrating the second Sunday in November as a day to remind ourselves of and renew our commitment to the call of James 1:27 - the care of the vulnerable child (Orphan Sunday). In 2016, these two efforts merged; Orphan Sunday for the purpose of inviting the church to care for orphans worldwide and Stand Sunday for the purpose of calling the church to stand for children and families in Foster Care. In 2017 Stand Sunday was celebrated for the first time in Canada.
Each year we want to add more downloadable, Canadian-relevant resources available to help you and your church stand for children in foster care. To see all that is available, simply click here. We invite you and your church to STAND with us … until there’s more than enough foster families in every community in the nation.
KIDS IN FOSTER CARE ARE...
Known to have substantially higher rates of developmental delays and mental disorders, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, conduct disorder, depression and substance abuse, compared to non-maltreated peers
Significantly more likely to attempt suicide than children in the general population
Significantly less likely to finish high school
Known to have higher rates of incarceration, homelessness, unemployment, addictions, reliance on public assistance and involvement in the sex trade/human trafficking.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO?
How can you STAND for children in foster care?
Encourage your church or group to participate in Stand Sunday 2019.
Be intentional about it.
Learn and share the current statistics and local needs with your congregation.
Highlight success stories and families who are truly standing in the gap for kids in need.
Take time to pray for foster kids and foster families in your area (It's OK if you don't know their names or specific details, God does!).
Host an appreciation event for foster families - a dinner or picnic.
Run a fund raiser to purchase some encouraging gifts for a foster family (movie night or dinner out).
Get trained to provide respite to a local foster family.
Build relationships with your local social workers.
Do you have a foster family in your church? If so, celebrate them, encourage them, let them know that your church has their back!
Be "that person" to a foster of vulnerable child - you know, the one you needed when you were a kid!
Not everyone is called to be a foster parent, but we can all play a role in supporting foster families and kids in foster care!