Each May, National Foster Care Month provides an opportunity for people all across the nation to focus attention on the year-round needs of American children and youth in foster care.
On any given day there are more than 400,000 children in foster care nation-wide. If you were able to bring together all these children into one city, this city would be the 43rd or 44th largest in the United States. This city made up of foster children would be bigger than St. Louis! There are more than 13,000 foster children in the State of Missouri alone.
Foster parents are a vital part of the ministry Missouri Baptist Children’s Home provides for hurting children. They are at the front lines, providing a home and stability for children at the most traumatic times in their lives. They work with biological families, caseworkers and teachers. Often, a foster child’s first experience with church is with one of our foster families.
I recently read an article on what one church in Gulfport MS, is doing to meet the needs of foster children in that state. Rev. Tony Karnes, pastor of Michael Memorial Baptist Church, was preparing a sermon on James 1:27 and took to heart the command that we are to visit orphans in their affliction.
As a result of that conviction, he launched a program called Rescue 100, which was his vision to recruit 100 Harrison County (MS) families to be licensed as foster homes. Since the program’s inception in 2016, more than 100 foster families in Harrison County and more than 300 families statewide have been licensed. I have to think if it can be done in Mississippi, it can certainly be done in Missouri!
Unfortunately, too many people think the ministry of foster care is just for those who are called to be foster parents, while in fact, nothing could be farther from the truth.
One thing we know about foster families is that they need a lot of love and support to be successful. Picture a foster family in the center of your congregation with a whole team of believers who are passionate about doing something to solve the foster care crisis, but they don’t feel the call to be foster parents.
Imagine if a foster family got a call one afternoon to take a sibling group of two into their home. The couple says “yes,” and they are expected to receive the children in their home right before dinner time. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could make one phone call to a passionate lay leader in their church and know that dinner will be brought by their home tonight? Now they don’t have to worry about dinner, but can instead focus on getting two precious children settled into their home? They may also need someone to mow their yard, or run some errands and most likely they will need some baby sitting at some point. We can all do something.
Won’t you prayerfully consider how you might help make a lasting difference in the life of a child? Contact one of our offices to learn more about how you might become involved. We need you; but most importantly, a child needs you.