National Foster Care Month: this is for everyone

It's National Foster Care day. (Photo courtesy of Buckner International

It’s National Foster Care Day.
(Photo courtesy of Buckner International

Int’l (MNN) — It’s easy to look at people who are adopting or providing foster care and feel guilty because we’re not doing it, too. However, this isn’t the right attitude to have.

Buckner International celebrates National Foster Care Month by releasing a prayer guide. Greg Eubanks of Buckner International says, “This guide was created with people who wrote from their heart: people who are providing foster care, adoptive parents, staff members, people who are case managers, who are home developers–people who are on the front lines of ministry related to children who are vulnerable.” Government officials and alumni of the foster care program have also helped develop the guide.

It’s a practical way for you to get involved with foster care and adoption. “This guide is something that could be beneficial for anyone. It’s not geared just toward foster families, adoptive families. It’s geared for anyone who has ever had their heart kind of squeezed a little bit by the Biblical mandate to care for the least of these, [anyone who has wondered:] ‘How can I do that? and ‘What does that mean?'”

Those participating in the campaign will learn how they can be praying for families who are taking care of these less fortunate children. Through prayer, individuals or families may be enlightened to how they can support families in simple ways. They may have a conversation that will connect them to a family in their church or community.

Eubanks says, “This is for everyone. Every Christian out there. Everyone who’s interested in what does the Scripture have to say about foster care.”

Buckner works domestically and internationally with a focus on foster care. Within the last several years they’ve started getting involved with more adoptions as well. By the end of this year, they hope to expand their domestic locations for adoption from seven to 10. Their goal is to complete 100 adoptions by the end of 2014.

An important focus of adoption with Buckner is kinship care. This means that Buckner strives to get the children adopted by capable and caring relatives.

According to Eubanks, “Foster care is intended to be a temporary program. Kids are removed for their safety because their biological families cannot, for whatever reason, take care of them. So the goal is to redeem that story, for that child, and for that family, when at all possible.”

This redemptive work could mean reinstating guardianship of the original family, adoption by relatives, or adoption by another family altogether.

Internationally, Buckner has witnessed God’s blessings abundantly. More countries are shifting toward domestic adoption as a way to empty orphanages. An NGO that Buckner works with completed 20 adoptions in Kenya last year.

This number might not sound astounding, but Eubanks explains that many countries are in the process of developing an adoption mind-set. “There’s still a lot of resistance to finding permanent families, and there’s still a lot of resistance to the idea of adoption. Culturally, that’s a little bit different. So the fact that we’re able to break through those barriers–or see God break through some of those barriers–and be a part of that is amazing.”

For the first time ever, Peru approved foster care. And now many children, instead of going to orphanages, are being placed in loving families.

“Those stories are being redeemed as those children find permanent, loving families. The same thing’s happening in the U.S.,” Eubanks says. “When children are abused, when they’re neglected, we’re seeing God redeem those stories. It’s a pure picture of the Gospel for us at Buckner, and it’s a joy to be a part of it and to watch it work.”

When asked why listeners like you should get involved with the prayer campaign, Eubanks pauses a moment: “I’m not pausing because I’m trying to figure out the answer. I’m pausing because we take this seriously at Buckner–the fact that people are willing to leave their comfort zone and get involved in this. It’s not a fun topic. It’s not easy to hear about, to think about, to talk about children being hurt, abused, injured, at the hands of people who are supposed to protect and care for them.”

These children need people who are too stubborn to walk away just because things are ugly.

“We can’t do it without you,” Eubanks continues. “God can do it without us, but we can’t do it without you…. For years and years, in the states and even today at international locations, we’ve tried taking care of kids ourselves, and it’s ended up being institutional care. And we learned pretty clearly that that’s not the best thing for kids. Kids need families.”

No matter what your calling is regarding these orphans, you can step up to the plate in some way.

“We all have different roles. So we don’t expect everyone is going to be able to take a child into their family.”

Your involvement could be a simple prayer. Or you could be a voice at your church telling others how they can be involved. Your family might consider supporting, through simple acts of kindness, a foster or adoptive family in your community.

To sign up for the Foster Care prayer guide, follow this link. If you want to know more about foster care with Buckner, click here.