Today’s the fourth in a series about being better together in honor of Foster Care Awareness Month. I’ve glad to have Addison Futrell here today. We’ve crossed paths in our small town through mutual friends and I love how she considers foster care a community endeavor.
If you missed the earlier posts, I encourage you to read about how Hailey’s village has helped her as her family grew through foster care, how Bethany’s older kids specifically embraced her family’s journey into fostering, and how we can all serve foster families.
I began to see the needs in the foster care system through my involvement with our church’s youth group. I was teaching high school and middle school girls in Sunday school and regularly had three to five foster kids in the class. The Lord began to open my eyes to specific biases I held about foster care prior to even knowing any foster kiddos personally! I realized “Hey, these kids really are just regular kids.”
Slowly God started to put the burden on my heart to walk down the road of discovering more and more about foster care. Surprisingly, everyone I asked who was immersed in the foster care world was very supportive and encouraged me about the next steps for my husband, Bailey, and me.
At first, Bailey was very hesitant about the idea of becoming foster parents. With some persistence on my part and God softening Bailey’s heart to the idea, he agreed to go to the first informal information meeting that is no strings attached. For anyone remotely interested in foster care, I would highly recommend going to a meeting like this. It opened our eyes to the great needs of the children in care and what is actually expected of foster parents. It was very convicting but also encouraged us as current non-parents. We were assured we would have the tools and community given to us to help us succeed as loving caretakers for these children that need love so desperately.
Coming into foster care without biological children was a whirlwind. We had to jump headfirst into every resource because we did not own any children’s toys, clothes, or beds. We were given excellent training through the state on parenting, trauma, sexual abuse, and so many other topics. Also, we had the most supportive family and friends helping us combat every fear, insecurity, and uncertainty we faced along the way. Our social worker gave us a packet filled with foster closet resources to help us get any items imaginable for any placement we would eventually get. We were given a set of bunk beds by a friend of a friend in our church. The community to launch us off was insane. We felt so prepared and terrified at the same time.
The community didn’t just launch us off into the world of foster care, this group of people also stuck around for the messy parts too. They were the first ones there with meals, toys, and lunch boxes when our family grew with an hour’s notice. This community was also there when we were given an hour’s notice the kids we loved so much were unexpectedly going home. Our family helped us through the emotional part of packing the kid’s stuff. Our friends gathered and said emotional goodbyes and we were once again floored by the community and how these people were just as much a part of this journey as we were, if not more.
Community is a must in the foster care world. Our community also includes resources such as The Moses Basket, Partners in Care Foster Closet, neighbors, our church small groups, and the list goes on and on. This community is my favorite part of foster care. As cliché as the statement may be, it truly takes a village to support, love, and bridge the gap for these kids.
Addison and her husband, Bailey, have been fostering a little more than a year. Some days she’s got a carload of kids blaring Kids Bop and some days her family grows only for the weekend.