Ten Creative Ideas to Encourage Foster Families During Tough Times
Updated: Jun 5
Over the past several months, we have had countless conversations about Corona Virus - Covid 19 - N95 Masks - Social Distancing - Quarantines - Stay at Home Orders and toilet paper hoarding! What a crazy world we have been living in this year!
It’s been tough for most of us, but as I think about the thousands of foster families throughout this country, most of them - if not all of them - are dealing with some pretty significant issues in their homes; Behavioral issues, Mental Health Disorders, Physical Handicaps, Cognitive and Developmental Delays and a whole bucket load of other issues that are common to kids from hard places.
And so, I just want to spend a moment giving you 10 creative ways you can encourage foster families, that you know, over the next few months.
#1 - DRIVE BY DINNER
Everyone loves food! Who doesn’t love food? I’ve never run into anyone who was like “Ya know, I never really got into food - its not really my thing” That doesn’t happen - we love food - and more importantly we need food!
Consider doing a drive by dinner? Make a nice meal for a family in need and drop it off at their doorstep - maybe ring their door bell so they know its there. Just don’t steal their Amazon Prime deliveries on your way back to your car - as tempting as it might be.
#2 - NOTE OF ENCOURAGEMENT
Back when I was growing up, we had these small writing devices called pens. Remember those? And we would use these mystical, ink-filled rods to write notes and letters to people on sheets of, what was called at the time, paper.
Write a note of encouragement to an adoptive or foster family you know. Let them know that you are thinking of them. Let them known that you appreciate what they are doing. Let them know that you will be submitting a complaint to their home owners association if they don’t cut their grass soon. Ok, don’t actually do that last part, but that does bring us to number three.
#3 - LAWN CARE
Are you one of those people who loves cutting grass? Don’t worry, you are in good company - there are literally dozens of you all throughout the country who love mowing the lawn. Why not do it for a family who might be struggling to find the time or energy to do it themselves.
And we’re just taking about some light lawn care - cutting grass - maybe some raking - perhaps installing a large Koi pond with a decorative bridge going over it. It’s really your call. Ultimately, showing up at someone’s home to help them with their yard work could be such a needed blessing in their life.
#4 - GROCERY RUN
Did I happen to mention we like food? I thought so. Try dropping off a bag or two of groceries at the home of a family in need. You don’t even necessarily have to call them ahead of time to see what they need. You can just drop off essential staples like bread, milk, cereal, toilet paper etc. A grocery run is a great way to help encourage foster families in your neighborhood.
#5 - GIFT BASKET
In the classic comedy television series, The Office, regional manager Michael Scott once said, “Gift baskets are the essence of class and fanciness. They are the ultimate present that a person can receive.” Now your gift basket doesn’t necessarily have to be classy and fancy, it can just be some small gifts, snacks and items put together that you think a family in need would enjoy.
BREAK - TEN THINGS CHECKLIST
Before we move on to number six, I wanted to let you know that we have made this entire list available as a downloadable PDF check list that you and your family can use.
Post it on the refrigerator - hang it in the living room - dangle it from the chandeliers (Does anyone even have chandeliers anymore?) Try to make it a family challenge to do as many of the 10 things as you can - maybe promise yourself a fun, family reward if you are able to accomplish all 10. You can access the free checklist at www.arthurcwoods.com/tenthings.
#6 - COFFEE DATE
Schedule a coffee date. Don’t drink coffee? Well, make it an ice cream date. Lactose intolerant? How about a breakfast? Don’t eat breakfast? Well, you get the idea. Consider setting up a date right now for a time in the future where you can get together with the foster parent(s). Enjoy some quality time together.
#7 - PUBLIC ENCOURAGMENT
One of the best ways you can encourage foster families is to encourage them publicly. And by publicly, I don’t mean you have to charter a small plane to fly over their home while pulling a large banner behind it that says “Consider Yourself Encouraged!” But what if you said some really nice - really sincere - and really encouraging words about them on social media? Tag them - let them know what you think about them - and let their friends know what you think about them. And if you can afford to charter that private plane - that might be cool to.
#8 - FAMILY VIDEO
Your family is adorable, right? Your kids are the cutest - your spouse is the prettiest or most handsome. You guys would look great on a family video, right? Do it. Record a simple, basic video of your family doing something that will encourage a foster family. Say some kind words, sing a song, do a quick skit - something encouraging that lets them know you are thinking about them and appreciate all that they do. Then take that video and email it to them or send it to them on social media. They will love it!
#9 - PRAY PRAY PRAY
If you are a family of faith that believes in the power of prayer, might I suggest that as a family you regularly pray for the adoptive and foster families that you know. Make it part of you daily routine to keep them in prayer. Let them know you are praying for them, or even consider picking up the phone and praying for them while they are on the line. This could be a huge way of encouraging a family in need.
#10 - DEALER’S CHOICE
That’s right - its dealer choice - meaning you choose. What is one additional thing you can do to encourage a foster family that you know? It doesn’t have to be big or grandiose. It doesn’t have to be expensive or even time consuming, but what is one additional encouraging thing you can do for a family in need?
Ultimately we want our foster families to feel supported and encouraged. Let’s make that happen. And again, for a free downloadable PDF check list, go to arthurcwoods.com/tenthings.
by Arthur C Woods
Need Help Talking To Your Adopted or Foster Teenager About God? Check out the latest video & discussion series by Arthur C Woods, called Trusting The God of The Gospel. This 8-Session course will help you as a parent or youth worker walk through the Gospel message with your teenager, in light of their past. Available at: www.TrustingTheGodOfTheGospel.com
Article originally appeared in the the April 2020 issue of Foster Focus Magazine