In the space of one phone call, the Chacons became a kinship family. Three years ago, on Katrina’s birthday, social services called and asked if she could provide kinship care for a relative’s six-month old daughter. Katrina describes it as a whirlwind of emotions, “I was excited and scared and trying to process everything at the same time. I’d never done anything like this before, but Baby LoRena needed immediate placement so I said yes. We needed to help her out.”
The Chacon family is part of Project 1.27’s Kinship Support Group in Mesa County. Katrina and Joey have two older children, Darryn, 12 and Ahleigha, 9. They recently adopted Baby LoRena, now 3 years old. An outgoing, spunky family, the Chacon’s are always joking around. Darryn’s allergy doctor looks forward to seeing them because when the Chacon’s come in for an appointment, the family is always laughing. The older kids were excited to welcome and pitch in to care for LoRena when she arrived so unexpectedly.
Like many children who come into foster care, LoRena arrived with little, just the onesie she was wearing. It had been a long time since there’d been a baby in the house, so the Chacons purchased a few things. One of Katrina’s friends, who had an older infant, brought over clothes and baby supplies.
Sometimes it can be hard to identify ways to bless a foster family as they navigate through foster care. From the outside looking in, it is difficult to understand the day to day needs or to know what provides tangible help. In addition to re-visiting your Support Team Roster, below are some unique suggestions to show appreciation and support to your foster family. Pick an idea that fits you and follow through. Instead of saying, “When would be a good time to bring you a meal?” you could instead suggest, “I am free on Thursday to bring your family dinner. Does everyone like pizza? Does that work for your schedule?” When support team members remember to keep checking in and offering help, it makes all the difference in giving a family the relief and energy they need to keep providing high-quality care to children.
Host a virtual card drive: Is your family encouraged by words of affirmation? Consider rallying the members of your support team and beyond to email encouraging notes to your family. Remind them that they are doing good work and are supported by those they love.
Over the last year, Project 1.27 has been part of a small group of Christian organizations and churches from across the country collaborating to find ways to better engage and equip churches across the U.S. to provide more than enough resources to children and families before, during and beyond foster care. After praying and planning, we believe there can be more than enough resources to care for every child in foster care if 10% of churches in every county in the country (3,142 counties) are actively engaged in foster care by 2025.
One of the first steps was to design a self-assessment tool for churches that will help you understand how your church is currently engaged in this ministry space and where there are opportunities for further engagement. The assessment is short and the information your church gains will be informative and inspiring.
Learn more about the 1.27 National Network here if you’d like to support the growth of 1.27 Ministries across the country and be part of DESTINATION More Than Enough
In the spirit of Father’s Day, it is important to celebrate and encourage the fathers and father figures in our lives who serve their families, children and community. Fathers and father figures should provide a powerful foundation of respect, trust and love. For many children coming into care, instead of this powerful foundation, there may have been neglect, fear and harshness. As a result, fathers and father figures in foster care may be the first positive male role model a child knows. Below are some suggestions for how to recognize this important role and implement ways to help the foster child build a powerful foundation of respect, trust and love.
On July 26, 2017, Truffles*, 14 and his sister, Cheesecake*, 13 were welcomed into the Humenansky family. (After almost a year with the family, Truffles and Cheescake asked if they could share why more people should consider fostering teens and sibling sets as well as offer some advice on connecting with teens. Their foster mom, Rebecca, also shares some useful advice!
*Nicknames used to preserve confidentiality of children in foster care.
Truffles enjoys the Humenansky’s fat dog, biking, getting money from grandmas at Christmas, sandwiches and funny people. He recently chose to be baptized and his future DESTINATION will likely include working with animals because “they are important!”
Cheesecake’s favorite things include reading non-fiction, art, music and being with her big brother.. Her future DESTINATION includes many possibilities - cosmetology, teaching, social work and being a foster mom!
Are you preparing for Vacation Bible School at your church this summer? Are your volunteer teachers and staff prepared to handle the multitude of behaviors that may come along with having a classroom full of children? Project 1.27 can provide Trauma-Informed Training for church ministry volunteers in preparation for VBS. Many kids come into children’s ministry with a trauma history, not just kids who’ve experienced foster care or adoption. Children may have experienced the trauma of divorce, grief and loss, domestic violence, bullying or because of developmental delays. We've found that Trauma-Informed Training is effective with all children, no matter their background.
Let’s unpack some myths about children’s behaviors and make VBS a safe, nurturing experience for every child.
Exploration and learning is important for all children, but especially for those in foster care. Often times children experiencing the foster care system have had schedules disrupted by trauma or multiple moves, potentially causing them to fall behind in a variety of areas. Summer provides a fun and unstructured environment for foster children to create some fun memories and catch up on their learning in the process. Foster parents and their support systems have the unique opportunity to help the child explore new things and discover new interests.
As a support team member, now is the perfect opportunity to help your families invest in and explore new things together, and maybe even join in on the fun!
Below are some ideas to engage your foster family in summer fun.
Project 1.27 asked Lisa McGinnett, Project 1.27’s Western Slope Director to share about her experiences as a foster and adoptive mom. Lisa and her husband, Paul, have fostered 60+ kids since they began fostering in 2001. Along with their three adopted children, Lisa and Paul are currently fostering an 11-month old and a 4-week old.
Lisa offers these words of wisdom to other foster parents
Tell us about when and why you decided to become a foster parent?
We planned to work with homeless and orphaned children in Bolivia, but I suffered an illness preventing that move. We shifted gears to focus on serving children stateside. Paul always teased about having a “dorm full of kids”. After ten years of marriage and youth ministry, we began fostering, hoping to eventually adopt. Our hearts were broken early on as we tasted what it’s like to fiercely love a child someone else birthed. Through all the ups and downs, God has proven faithful as we continue to serve children in foster care.
April is Child Abuse Prevention Month, a time to focus on identifying, intervening in, and preventing abuse within our community. Foster families learn about the harsh realities of child abuse and neglect during the training process. Whether we hear it in the news, in biographies, or when those we know share their stories of abuse or neglect, it is sobering and stirs up difficult emotions to hear about the ways that children who live among us are being mistreated.
If you are supporting a foster or adoptive family in their journey, you undoubtedly know someone who has been impacted by abuse or neglect. While you may or may not know the story of the child for whom your family is caring, you may have observed some of the impacts that trauma can have on child behavior and functioning. Although children are incredibly resilient, it makes sense that they may continue to struggle in some of the following areas: