Today, I’m introducing a new blog series I’m really excited about: Practically Radical. Before reading the post below, hop over to the page description to read what Practically Radical is all about.
Today in church, our pastor– who also happens to be my father in law– preached about what true Christianity looks like in his sermon series covering the book of James. In his second point, he explained that true Christianity looks like sacrificial care for those in need.
James 1: 27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
He projected statistics about how many children in our county were currently placed in foster care, many of whom are waiting to be adopted. Hearing about the need for foster parents is difficult for me. Nate and I feel so confident that fostering to adopt is part of our story, but we can’t yet. The three of us are living in a two bedroom apartment, as we wait and hope to build a house perfect for welcoming children into our family. Our timetable for building is in the hands of our engineers and local township planning and zoning committees so for now, we wait and prepare our hearts for when the time is right to expand our family.
I realize not everyone is called to foster or adopt but we’re ALL called to look after orphans. So how can everyone practically do that?
Here’s one really easy way anyone can help:
- Look up a local foster care organization in your area.
- York friends check out Children’s Home of York, PA and Philadelphia friends check out the Village. Scroll to the bottom to see what items are needed. These aren’t the only organizations I found, but they both had online wish lists.
- Online wish fulfillment for foster kids throughout the country: One Simple Wish
- Check out the organization’s website and see how you can support them. Look on the menu for words like (volunteer, get involved, support us, wishlist) and they may have a list of items they need to be donated. If they don’t–give them a call!
- Grab your friends/church small group/kids/partner and get shopping!
Immediately after church, I headed to the store with Everly and using the list provided by Children’s Home of York, and we shopped. We didn’t spend a fortune, but after hearing that 40% of the kids currently in foster care in York are over the age of 13, I wanted to find a few things to make some of the older girls feel loved. The fifth item on the list punched me in the gut.
Children in foster care need overnight bags. Cue the tears.
From the Huffington Post,
There is another foster care experience that seems particularly ubiquitous and equally disturbing: putting all of a kid’s belongings in a trash bag when they have to move from one home to another. It’s bad enough that foster kids have to move repeatedly. Foster youth move an average of 2.8 times during each stay in foster care. In 2012, states met the federal standard for placement stability for children in foster care over 24 months only 35 percent the time.
When I brought the bags into the house from the car, Nate’s first comment was, “Why did you buy bags?” Before I could answer, realization washed over his face followed by a deep sigh.
While a weekender bag and fuzzy socks aren’t a necessity for surviving, they symbolize thoughtfulness. Growing up, there were many times I’d come home from school and my mom would tell me to “check my bed.” I’d run back to my room and see a necklace or shirt laid on my comforter. Do materials equal love? Of course not. But it was one practical way my mom said to me, “I was out running errands today and I thought of you.”
I hope when these two girls receive their journals, chapsticks, socks, and overnight bag, they realize this: Someone was out running errands today and they thought of them. Because they’re valuable, wanted, and loved.
Check back soon because I have more ideas to share that we’ve already done and am coming up with new ways to be #PracticallyRadical as we continue to break the rules.