An Unlikely Advocate: How Community Transformed My Foster Child’s Experience
Guest post by Amanda Baird from More Than Enough
A few years ago, I listened to an audiobook with one of my foster children.
As the narrator described how a little boy’s aunt and uncle were treating him terribly, my foster daughter gasped, “He needs to be in foster care!”
I was actually shocked. How could a young girl in the middle of brokenness, who had been in several foster homes in her life, identify foster care and her life as safe or warm?
I cannot toot my own horn here. It’s not that we offered her some sort of magically perfect experience. Her feelings toward foster care weren’t about me. They were about our community.
To name just a few ways our community supported all of us:
Our child placement agency helped us have a voice and ensured we were never buried in the paperwork avalanche.
Child protective services saw and pursued her best interests even in immensely complex circumstances.
Our church community brought meals every Thursday, and after one memorable vacation when everyone had a stomach bug on the drive home, they grocery shopped and stocked the fridge for us.
A local hair salon welcomed us. They gave everyone in the family free haircuts (including me!) and no one even raised an eyebrow at the chaos our family brought into the salon.
An aunt sponsored ballet lessons, which provided an opportunity for creativity and physical activity in the midst of hard transitions.
After our girl behaved inappropriately on a playdate, the friend’s mom called and said, “I want you to know that your daughter is invited over again next weekend, and I will help implement any rules you suggest to keep everyone safe and happy.”
One friend not only babysat—but folded all the laundry she could find while she was watching the kids.
A grandma who waited in the carpool line with me every day taught me about proper hair care.
My parents babysat my toddlers every Tuesday as we drove to and from therapy sessions.
“CASA Karen” was such a warm presence that my kids thought CASA was a term of endearment, like “grandma.”
All of these gifts and support didn’t mean that foster care was easy. There was a lot of brokenness, and parenting children from hard places is just hard.
However, our community did something.
They did a lot of different somethings, playing their parts with creativity and joy.
As we cast a vision in our communities that everyone can do something to provide more than enough for children and families, it isn’t abstract or empty rhetoric. When our communities are connected to tangible ways to act, it makes all the difference.
In my story, it all added up to a little girl who was in the middle of brokenness but still advocated for foster care to protect other children. Children like her.
Amanda Baird is Senior Manager of Learning at More Than Enough. To see the original post and learn more about More Than Enough, please visit their website.
More Than Enough is a community united by faith and committed to helping churches care for children and families in foster care. Composed of churches, organizations (including Lifesong), and advocates across the country, the More Than Enough Community is determined to achieve a shared vision of more than enough for children and families before, during, and beyond foster care in every US county. More Than Enough is facilitated by the Christian Alliance for Orphans, which supports the Community in expanding on-the-ground care for children and families.
Everyone can play a part in caring for children and families.