Nope, this is not an adoption announcement (yet!). We’re probably still a few years off from growing our family, but when the time comes you’re just as likely to hear that we’re adopting or fostering as you are to hear that I’m pregnant! Adoption and foster care has always been so near to my heart, and since November is national adoption month, I knew that this is the perfect time to learn from and support families who have opened their homes to children who aren’t biologically theirs. I’m so in awe of these courageous friends and grateful to learn from stories and links they’ve shared, like this one that counts foster homes across the country.
I understand that not everyone feels called to foster or adopt themselves, but I fully believe that every single one of us can make a difference in the lives of kids who can’t be cared for by their biological family. In New Hampshire, the number of kids in care has nearly doubled over the past four years due to the opioid crisis. Unfortunately, the amount of foster homes available in our state hasn’t shot up significantly to match this crisis. While this seems wildly overwhelming, this month has given our community so many glimpses of hope that the story is changing.
My role at Movement Christian Church as the director of LOVE603 gives me countless opportunities to help people engage the foster care crisis in ways that are meaningful to them. In May, we took fifty people up to Northfield to volunteer at a huge event in partnership with Bethany Christian Services. Just a few days ago I sat with my friends Cindy and Kim and we created tags that will be used for BCS’s annual Operation Christmas Joy toy collection for kids in foster care (this will be Movement’s second year participating!). Getting to spend time with these two ladies was so sweet; Cindy works for Bethany and spends so much time advocating for kids in care, and Kim and her family are awaiting licensure to begin fostering.
Our friends Katie and Kim also inspire me like crazy. After a followup workshop from the event in May, Katie knew that she wanted to do something more to help kids in care here in the 603. A few weeks later, the Pass Along Project had a closet up and running in Nashua! The Pass Along Project provides bundles of gender and age appropriate clothes to families in those mission critical first few hours after kids enter into state care. This allows families to spend that time, money and energy caring for their kids instead of worrying about what they’ll wear. Last week, we partnered with the Pass Along Project to host a sorting and bundling drive for our November LOVE603 event. Katie and Kim led the charge as 138 volunteers walked through the doors of Movement to spend
over 500 hours creating 239 bundles that’ll go to children all across New Hampshire. Their passion, courage and leadership are absolutely transforming the 603.
This Sunday, from 2-4 pm, our New England neighbors will have another chance to move closer to those who are making a difference in the foster care system! Movement is partnering with DCYF and Bethany Christian Services to host a Foster- Adopt- Safe Families Workshop. We’ll have professionals from these organizations presenting, and we’ll get to hear from some of our own Movement family members! Our friends Katie and Kim will talk about the Pass Along Project, and our good friend Brendon will share his experience as a CASA worker- a court appointed special advocate. If you’re local, you can sign up for the workshop here. I’m so excited for this to come together, and I can’t wait to hear the stories that we’ll tell after it.
There is so much happening, and there is so much still to be done. It’s a joy to get to celebrate along with those who are changing the world, even as we recognize that things are not as they should be. At Movement, we’ve been journeying through the book of James together and I am always convicted when I read James 1:27. It says:
“ Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”
I love that I get to be part of a community that takes these words seriously. Friends, I encourage you to discover how you can begin caring for orphans in your local context. Maybe you’ve got the space in your home to bring in an extra child or two. Maybe you can bring meals or encouragement to families in your area who are fostering or adopting. Seek out the ways people are bringing others into their families, and meet them there. When we do, we’re engaging in Gospel work. Jesus is always moving to bring people into His family, and we absolutely get to partner with Him in this holy work. We need you to be part of this! We are with you.
PS: Rhett & I are still a few hundred dollars short of our monthly fundraising goal! If you’re interested in partnering with us throughout our second year of residency, please fill out this short form. Thank you! Your generosity is changing lives in New England.