Over the past several months, we’ve received many messages from folks who say, “I’m not called to be a foster parent, but I’m called to help in some way. How do I did that?”
According to the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, there are over 397,000 children in the foster care system right now. There are simply not enough qualified homes to care for all these children. Our hearts should be moved to compassion. We cannot sit idly by while even one child goes without a home. We know we must do something, but what? Should everyone be a foster family? The short answer is, no. Should everyone do something? Without a doubt, the answer is a resounding yes!
If you’ve spent any time on the journey of foster care or adoption you know it’s amazing and beautiful, but also exhausting and isolating at times. The best way to navigate the ups and downs is through a support system. But how do you find one?
We’ve been through more highs and lows on this journey than we could recount. Sometimes it’s filled us so full we feel like our hearts are going to burst open. Other times, it’s taken the life out of us and left us defeated and searching. The only way we’ve made it for more than 15 years is our amazing, grace-giving support system. We believe in the power of this. We believe everyone on the journey needs one. But how do you go about finding the right people for your inner circle of support?
On the journey of adoption, foster care and special needs parenting, we’ve experienced numerous difficult and heartbreaking moments. The only way we we’ve made it through these trying times was through the support and love we received from our support community.
We walked in feeling alone and defeated. We walked out feeling empowered and supported. There was nothing magical about the meeting we were attending. It was simply 8 families, all going through what we were going through, all having adopted from the foster care system, sitting around a large conference room table, sharing their pain and agony with openness and honesty.
If you’re a foster or adoptive parent, there’s one conference happening this year you simply cannot miss. It’s called The Refresh Conference. Check out the video below to learn more…
“These are my people!”
For two years I’ve been a part of Refresh. And for two years, those words have crossed my heart, and my lips each time the conference kicks off. There’s no other way to explain my experience than this…. I feel at home. As comfortable as if I were hanging out in my own living room…pajama pants and all (kidding). I can breathe at Refresh. I can hurt openly without anyone looking down on me, or judging me. I can share my deepest wounds as an adoptive parent, and everyone around me nods.
They get it. More than that, they offer hope for anyone who is weary or worn out from the journey of foster care and adoption. If that’s you, let me be clear…. you simply CANNOT miss The Refresh Conference this coming fall and winter. You read that right… fall AND winter. There are now two great locations to choose from. Click below to find out more…
Get the scoop on Refresh Chicago
Get the scoop on Refresh Seattle
Adoption and foster care can be lonely. Special needs parenting can be even lonelier. Our families have unique circumstances, needs and stories. Often we are so desperate to share our experience with others that we miss the warning signs that a person is not trustworthy.
A few years ago, I met a lady at the park. A quick look at the slew of children between us showed that we had something unique in common. We both had multi-racial families. I watched her kids curiously across the playground. I sized her up as I counted the children she was minding. One, two, three, four, five. It could be a daycare, or maybe a play-date. I noticed that all five were calling her “Mommy.” My five were swarming around hers thankful for new friends. She struck up a conversation with me as I sat on the park bench bottle-feeding my foster daughter. My initial assessment was correct, she was a foster and adoptive mom.