During a time of year where the focus can be all about ourselves, I want to take a moment to inspire you to make a wish for others this Christmas. Are you surrounded by family right now? Do you have a warm place to sleep? Do you know where your next meal is coming from? For many, the answers to these questions are, “No.” Let’s face it, this is a hurting world. However, don’t get discouraged. You can help, and there are individuals and companies out there that come along side us to help us dream, pray and wish for a better life for others. To go beyond that, you can become the difference in someone’s life, and I want to present some ideas today that focus on orphan and foster needs. Within this post I am going to give you 20 Ways to Help Orphans and Children in the Foster Care System.
I am teaming up with Capital One to bring awareness to their Wish for Others campaign, which gives you the opportunity to make a wish for others with a chance of watching that wish come true. Wondering what to submit? Capital One asked people what they want this holiday season – and what they wish for others as well. The answers ranged from sweet and heartwarming to thoughtful and funny, all documented in a video that’ll get you thinking about your own wish for others: Wish For Others. How cool is that? You can think of an individual or group on your heart and do a simple social media shout out on Twitter, Instagram or the Capital One Facebook page with the #WishForOthers hashtag added. Capital One will be making wishes come true for participants up until December 23rd, so I encourage you to make your own wish for the loved ones in your world. I have already made one wish when we created our family wishing tree. Today, I want to make another wish for this Capital One campaign.
My Wish for Others this Christmas
A cause that is near and dear to my heart is care for children who are lacking a parent figure in their lives for one reason or another. Is it the child’s fault? No. These children are misplaced from their homes for any number of reasons. Can you imagine being pulled from your home and suddenly be in a strange new world, sometimes with absolutely nothing? Today, my wish is to bring help to a non-profit company called Skookum Kids who are seeking to aid kids in the foster care system in Whatcom county here in Washington State.
Here are some facts from their website and other research online:
- Foster children are two times more likely to suffer from PTSD than veterans returning from a warzone.
- 20 kids will enter foster care in Whatcom county this month.
- The average foster care child is moved 3 times.
- There are approximately 400,000 children now in foster care.
- Approximately 100,000 foster children are eligible for adoption, but nearly 32% of these children will wait over three years in foster care before being adopted.
This is a huge problem in our country, but Skookum Kids wants to help be a part of the solution. Here is their goal: “Our first initiative is to create a volunteer-staffed facility to care for children entering or transitioning in the Foster Care system throughout Whatcom County.” Basically, they are creating a home environment for children who are misplaced.
Imagining the hard challenges that face children in the foster care system, I want to bring light to organizations like Skookum Kids. This also brings me to my wish for the Capital One campaign. Of course Skookum Kids is seeking volunteers, but they are also working very hard to get the safe house ready and equipped to bring these foster kids into a home environment with loving adults. This is a brand new facility, so their needs are great. Skookum Kids Safe house needs items for:
All of the links above take you to an Amazon page with their wish list for Skookum Kids.
Capital One, this is my #WishforOthers: Please help fill the Skookum Kids safe house with furniture and other needs to help children in the foster system in Whatcom County.
20 Ways to Help Orphans and Children in the Foster Care System
It is easy to hear about the plight of the orphan or foster child, feel bad about their situation and just move on with our own busy lives. However, it may be on your heart to not dismiss or gloss over these hurting children. Can you imagine the child pictured above sitting on your doorstep? Could you just walk past her into the house and pretend like she didn’t exist. It is easy to ignore the problem when we keep the issue at a distance. However, we need to understand that this is a real problem with real live children…human beings…who need help. There are simple as well as more involved ways to help, and I wanted to give you some tangible ideas here.
- Pray. Anyone can do this at any time, and prayer is powerful.
- Give financially to an organization and/or family.
- Do it. God might be working on your heart to push you to care for some of these children who need a mother and father. Respond to what your heart is saying about the plight of these kids. You can become the answer.
- Serve a local organization. For example, clean their offices/visitation rooms where birth parents meet with their kiddos, organize donations or spend time with kids.
- Serve a family who is fostering/adopted – do their laundry, bring them dinner, pick up their groceries, take kids to appts, etc.
- Organize a “drive”- socks, backpacks, toys, school aupplies, toys, books, etc. for foster kids. Backpacks and suitcases are HUGE for foster kids. They often go from place to place with the few things they own in a garbage bag.
- Give parents who have stepped into this important role a date night. Babysit the kids – in their own home as often foster/adopted kids function best in their own environments.
- Listen – Call a mom and ask her how it’s going and listen. Offer to bring a coffee to your time together.
- Take the kids on dates if you’re close with a family.
- Mobilize your church or community to respond somehow.
- Adopt a Family. Our church is really in support of the concept of “orphan prevention through family adotpion.” You can adopt a family through organizations like Adoption Ministry 1:27.
- Mentor youth in a group foster home like Skookum Kids.
- Make a #WishforOthers focusing on adoption or foster care.
- Talk to your local foster organization and see if you can fulfill specific Christmas wishes for children in their system this holiday season.
- Drive Foster Kids to their Appointments – Foster kids need a community of loving adults that can surround them in a variety of circumstances. A car ride is a great place to show that you care. They often need rides to doctor appointments, visits to a new family or their birth family. Call your local foster care system to see if this is a need in your area.
- Do emergency foster care. Emergency foster care is a way to temporarily provide care for a child for a short amount of time – often for 24 hours or up until 3 days.
- Become a big brother or sister, specifically seeking out an adopted or foster child.
- Donate airline miles to a family wanting to adopt.
- Use a credit card that gives you cash back. Donate this cash to help an orphan.
- Do a virtual adoption. Go to Northwest Adoption Exchange and visit the “Meet Waiting Children” tab. Choose a child. Pick out their picture and commit to pray for that child daily. Find out if it’s possible to send encouraging letters and gifts to your child. Tell people about the child you have “adopted” and carry their picture. Your prayers can make a difference and others might be inspired to help through your dedication.
You can see that there ways to become involved so that your lives, and more importantly, children’s lives can be changed forever.
I hope you are inspired to do two things. 1) Commit to at least one of the ways to serve orphans or foster children. 2) Make a #WishForOthers based on a someone who is on your heart this Christmas.