May is Foster Care Awareness Month and as a foster and adoptive parent as well as someone who spends their days supporting and training foster and adoptive parents, I wanted to use the month to bring attention to the cause.
Often, people aren’t sure how to approach foster or adoptive parents, or they approach them in completely inappropriate ways. During the month, it was my hope to dispel some misconceptions and offer ideas on positive ways to support a foster or adoptive family in your life.
When I took a poll of foster and adoptive parents and asked them how they wish people would support them, the answers ranged from super simple to more complex, from completely free to some value. What I want to reiterate, however, is there is always an opportunity to support a foster or adoptive family in your life. You don’t necessarily need a lot of time or money to do it; you simply need to want to.
I’ve compiled the list below, but please don’t allow this to limit you! If you have a heart for blessing a foster or adoptive family, be creative and do it!
Feeling connected, cared for and appreciated goes a long way for anyone. Please allow this list to spark your imagination and share the love to foster and adoptive families, but also to all families. Being a blessing never gets old!
- Send a note of encouragement
- Pray with and for them
- Run errands for them
- Offer to babysit
- Listen without judgement
- Point them to a support group
- Pay for a camp or class for their child
- Take them a meal
- Do their laundry
- Clean their house
- Connect them with other foster and adoptive families
- Hang out at the house with their children so they can get chores done
- Grocery shop with or for them
- Invite all of the children – foster, adoptive, biological – to do things
- Shuttle children to appointments
- Don’t ask intrusive questions or say insensitive things
- Buy them gift cards
- Buy them essentials – toilet paper, diapers, hand soap, paper plates, etc.
- Offer a date night
- Love don’t label
- Ask them what they need
- Share resources with them
- Help load / unload children in the car at events
- Cut grass or do yard work for them
- Go to their house just to talk
- Become trauma informed
- Don’t tell us you couldn’t do it
- Tell us we’re doing a good job even if we have children melting down
- Ask us how we’re doing
- Offer to do handyman work
- Come over and read to the children
- Offer to take their family photos
- Offer car maintenance
- Buy them passes to an experience – the zoo, the aquarium, theater, etc…
- Do a fundraiser for your local foster care or adoption agency
I’d love to hear your other ideas below! Please leave a comment with other ways you can support a foster or adoptive family in your life.