Week 2: More Than Enough What? Part 1

More Than Enough Essentials Fall 2020 Week 2: More Than Enough What? Part 1

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    • #72331
      [email protected]
      CAFO Staff

      Do you believe that more than enough foster, kinship, adoptive families and help for biological families is possible in the county where you live.  Why or why not?

    • #72660
      [email protected]
      Participant

      Yes, I do believe that more than enough foster, kinship, adoptive families and help for biological families is possible in Greenville, SC, however I do not know when! Over the past few years, there has been a significant focus from our local churches, DSS, and private agencies regarding fostering and adoption from foster care. Which has increased our “available beds” for all ages but not necessary the typologies of abuse these children are removed from or the special needs of the children. We are currently seeing a huge focus on kinship families from DSS, which in-turn is creating that focus for local churches to aid in bring more kinship families forward. I have worked with a few families in the past year that has taken placement of a child about to enter foster care because this particular family attended the same church and knew about the child. A “few” may not sound like much but I know I am and was not the only worker to have this situation in South Carolina. I think what South Carolina lacks, is the assistance and help for biological families. I know there are church supporting biological families with their homelessness, financial hardships, support groups, etc. in the area but I would wish that these churches assisting the biological families were the same church supporting the foster/kinship/adoptive families. I feel that this is very much a segregate focus of churches. They either focused on assisting the biological families or foster/adoptive/kinship families, when it needs to be AND. Do not get me wrong, there are some church already providing for biological and other families at the same time but there is not enough. It is my hope and wishes that with additional education provided to churches and potential families, would shift to more than enough foster, kinship, adoptive families, and help for biological families because the education they have already had in the past has increased our availibity to have more appropriate environments for children.

      • #72669
        [email protected]
        CAFO Staff

        Jeannette, I agree with you that this can be a both/and situation. It may seem counterintuitive, but we can be 100% for bio families finding healing and reunifying, and 100% committed to adoption. We can be 100% about supporting families – bio, kinship, foster, and adoptive, all at the same time!  It sounds like a lot of churches won’t be starting from zero- but that you can encourage them to grow and expand what ministry is already there and to use what they are already doing ,which is pretty cool.

    • #72661
      Maren Vallerand
      Participant

      I sincerely believe that when you break down the issue, the church can meet and exceed these needs! Sometimes I feel like I’m being overly optimistic when I talk about the idea of having “enough” let alone “more than enough,” so it’s very encouraging to read and hear these stories. While I think the church is equipped to meet these needs, I would love to see our efforts to mobilize and partner with government and other agencies multiply. The church/state relations here in WA have been notoriously strained, but our church network is partnering well with local child welfare offices. Would love to see these efforts increase their impact!

      As for the church, as an institution it is comprised of an entire community with diverse skill sets and capacities–a community that is ongoing and available to anyone at any life stage. Not only logistically does it “make sense,” but in following Christ’s example to serve and to become family, we see this work as Gospel work.

      To be sustainable in our area, we are working hard to shift the culture, to “normalize” caring for families in these ways as a natural rhythm of our community. Also to emphasize our response as one of celebration (of what God has done for us) more so than a response of obligation. And to learn how to disciple families and individuals rather than simply “recruit”…I’d love to learn from any of your experiences/stories!

      • #72674
        Deborah West
        Participant

        Maren, I appreciate your optimism! It’s contagious and a huge encouragement!  Your perspective on discipling instead of recruiting was a timely reminder for me!

      • #72679
        Ryan Keith
        Participant

        Agree with Deborah! So encouraging to read your post, Maren, and the others. Even in the hard, knowing others are out there working toward this same goal is going to help all of us keep going.

      • #72848
        McKenzie Hutton
        Participant

        Hi Maren, thanks for your vulnerability in saying that “enough” feels overly optimistic sometimes. I can absolutely resonate with that. I’m so thankful for this community and opportunities to see how God is moving in communities all across the U.S. Also, I mentioned this previously, but I love that concept of celebration over obligation!

    • #72663
      Paige Chick
      Participant

      I do believe that it is possible. I do not see it as being the standard right now.It is really hard, because there are definitely times when I think, “This takes soooo much!” Listening to a teenager tell their story, rant, or decompress takes A LOT out of me. Tracking down a biological parent and staying calm as they complain to (or about!) me takes A LOT out of me.

      Because caring for all the folks involved in foster care takes A LOT, it is hard to see how those needs will always be met. But I do believe that there are enough people who care enough — we just also need enough confidence, enough tools, enough encouragement, enough rest, enough Faith, enough support.

      • #72668
        [email protected]
        CAFO Staff

        confidence, tools, encouragement, rest, support, Faith. That is an excellent list.

    • #72665
      Janelle Shelton
      Participant

      I brought CarePortal to my community and built it from the ground-up.  One of the first big lessons I learned was that Satan does a great job of making us feel isolated and like we’re the only ones who care, about anything, in our communities, and we have to convince everyone else to do anything about it.

      CarePortal churches and agency leaders get together for what we call “active community” meetings.  During those first few months, I was amazed to find out how many people cared, were making major sacrifices, and how much ministry was happening in my own community that I simply didn’t know about.  We started focusing on sharing what our churches were already doing so we didn’t have to duplicate efforts and could collaborate and learn from one another.

      Since then, several other new non-profits have sprung up in our space, or similar spaces, and I am constantly amazed at the pieces God is putting into place all around us.

      I do believe more than enough is possible here.  It won’t be easy, but it’s possible!

       

      • #72667
        [email protected]
        CAFO Staff

        I think that one of the reasons I enjoy working with this course is because it is so encouraging to see people all working on behalf of children and families all over the country. You are not alone in this work! Sharing what churches are already doing is a powerful way of supporting churches and their vision. Love that.

    • #72671
      Karen Hicks
      Participant

      ABSOLUTELY! We just have to continue to educate the local church to their role in this.

    • #72672
      Deborah West
      Participant

      It is absolutely 100% possible to have more than enough homes and support in our area! In our 6 county region, we have almost 400 churches and less than 100 kids in care. Shifting the church’s mindset from foster care as a “social” issue to an “obedience” issue changes everything!

    • #72673
      Daina Davis
      Participant

      I absolutely believe that there could be more than enough homes here in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma. I think a big reason why there are still so many in care and not enough open homes where I live is a lack of resources and education that would allow homes to remain stable environments for children. Things are getting better by the minute, but we still have a long way to go. I think it’s an education, resource and support issue in many ways. A home can have a heart and a passion for taking in kids from hard places, but if they don’t have a trauma-informed knowledge and a community who understands where they’re coming from and can offer encouragement with resources and support it is infinitely harder. The same goes for biological families, they need support. These kids have still experienced trauma and often times so have the biological parents. They need a way to trust and have hope again and loving guidance. The church has got to step up and acknowledge the needs and go into hard places to wrap around all of these families to care for them. When asked if I believe there is enough, I know that God has given a heart and a passion to many for this purpose and His ways are exceedingly more than we could ever expect or imagine. I believe that He has given a heart and a passion to more than enough people and He works through His available church to mobilize His healing. But those called need to answer and be willing. I believe that the open-handed, available church willing to move at at the call of God is and will be more than enough.

    • #72677
      Ryan Keith
      Participant

      I think it’s VERY possible because as Jason wrote, when you start seeing people bringing what they have to this issue, remarkable things start to take shape. In January 2019, our senior pastor and I did a 2 week sermon series on the Gospel and Vulnerable Children. Using some tools from Jason John’s book and other resources, we shared how everyone can do something, inviting everyone to pray over the coming year for how they should engage in responding to the foster crisis.

      Even though we had prayed about this for about 6 months and made preparations to share this vision with our church family, I was blown away! All the things Jason W wrote about started to happen. Repairmen asked how they could be made aware of walls that needed to be built or bathrooms expanded to help foster families accomodate more kids or open for the 1st time. Photographers took pictures, Restaurants gave meals. On and on. In just a year we went from 9 families to 31 in foster care, with 275 people in our church stepping into responding in some way.

      I knew we were on to something when foster families started to call and ask if they could get help or start coming to our church. Instead, we started asking to talk with their pastors about how they can be supported by their local church, rather than driving farther to worship with us. It’s been AWESOME to see conversations start across a wide-range of denominations that wouldn’t typically talk to one another.

      Now our Children & Youth and foster care agencies, who wouldn’t or couldn’t call me back a year ago, often communicate and we are collaborating messaging. I’m here for this cohort to try to share what we have learned, invite people and organizations to join in this story. I know I cannot do this on my own (and don’t plan to). We have a small team of 8 from a few churches that meets monthly that our church convenes. MTE is providing a framework. This course is giving me (and us) accountability to take incremental steps each week to get started.

      So pumped to do this with all of you! Let’s go. 🙂

    • #72678
      Jamie Bleakley
      Participant

      I believe it is possible and think that we are in a climate the our OCS system is struggling and would be more open to the collaboration that they may not have been in the past. I believe that, in Alaska specifically but, also many other areas, we need to facilitate healing before making forward progress. In recent history, the family unit was pulled apart and generational trauma was caused in the name of the church. Many Alaska Native families are very distrustful of people that say they are here to help. I agree with those who posted before me that trauma is a huge component, both healing and education, to be able to have the right-fit of more than enough.

    • #72681
      [email protected]
      Participant

      I do believe it is possible. I think just pulling together the resources so that those who have even a little thought in their mind that this may be somewhere they can help can have the tools necessary to take action.

    • #72683
      Alexis McQuown
      Participant

      I absolutely DO believe it is possible where I live!  And because our organization has been working hard over the past 3 years to build relationships with area agencies,  I feel we are on our way to this!

      My church recently approached my husband and I in building a ministry of foster/adoptive support that our church can engage in, which was super encouraging.  I feel our community members want to help, they just don’t always know how.  On page 52, the quote of “what looks like resistance is often lack of clarity”.  I believe this is true. Humility, patience,  perseverance…all things we have been gifted with to utilize!

      Listening to the podcast brought me to tears.  What The Call is doing in Arkansas was laid on my heart years ago and I agree so strongly with. So encouraging to hear it CAN be done!  I’m really looking forward to seeing how God can use me in this, and hearing how He is moving across our country in all of you!

    • #72684
      Chris Schutter
      Participant

      Of course!  God would never tell us to care for the orphan and the widow and then not supply us with everything we need to complete those good works He has prepared for us 🙂  That is why I love CAFO and all of the resources they offer!  What an encouragement to learn with so many like-minded people who are aching to wake the sleeping army of the church and help everyone find their “something” until there IS More than Enough!

    • #72685
      [email protected]
      Participant

      I totally believe it.  Learning about all the giving, caring people in our community via our nonprofit, Hope Pkgs, most people just need to know what exactly to do to help.  We have great resources here and many many churches.

    • #72686
      Amy Pettit
      Participant

      I absolutely believe that ‘more than enough’ is possible in our county.  Our county is lucky to have an amazingly supportive community.  With that help, and God’s grace, more than enough is achievable. Our county currently fosters more out of county kids than kids from our county.  While that is good, we are also thankful to have more families in the process of opening.

    • #72689
      Julia DesCarpentrie
      Participant

      YES!  We have had more than enough, until this past year with COVID.  Interesting outcome over the past few years:  the counties surrounding ours did not have enough open homes so the foster homes in our county ended up helping out, which moved kids out of their home county but kept them as close as possible.  But we ended up NOT having more than enough families waiting because they were fostering kids from other counties.  So we have been helping with recruitment efforts in other counties by coaching so we can keep kids in their own counties.

    • #72701
      Jason Grewe
      Participant

      I do believe that more than enough foster, kinship and adoptive families and help for those families is possible in Tulsa county and the surrounding area. Statistically, we need 1 new foster family for every 1,800 homes in the county to have a home for every child. There are so many businesses and churches that are willing and able to help biological and foster families…. If. If they knew what was at stake. If they knew what the need was. If they were connected to the family. If they knew how their seemingly small resource (gift, skill, etc) would make a difference to keep a child at home, or make a child safe.
      We don’t have a resource problem. It makes me think of a scripture that people take in different context. “For God has not given us a Spirit of Fear, but of power, love and sound mind”.

      A Spirit of Power – the God-given power and ability to do something He is calling you to do knowing that He has given you the ability, knowledge and resources to do it.

      A Spirit of Love – this means loving enough to ask hard questions. Loving enough to not turn away and act like you didn’t see the problem. Loving enough to engage and lean into the issue and ask, “How can I help” instead of “Why didn’t they do something”. Loving our neighbor means not only acknowledging their existence and “being nice” to them – but actively looking for ways to purposely make a deposit into their lives – for the Glory of God – in whatever form that His Spirit leads you in the moment. A Spirit of love means we are purposefully aware. We choose to be aware of our kids, our spouse – we need to choose to be aware of our neighbors.

      A Spirit of Sound Mind (Self Discipline) – this means that we have the ability to help and we aren’t going to talk ourselves out of the fact that God has uniquely positioned each of us who are called by His name to do something. We say “no” to the idea of, “I can’t do everything, so I will do nothing”.  Self discipline starts with one step. Losing weight doesn’t start by running marathons but by walking your dog down the street. Self Discipline means that you are going to take responsibility for the piece that you can do, and not be discouraged or delayed simply because you “aren’t enough”. A Sound Mind is a realistic mind. It realizes it can not do it all. But it also realizes it can do something. A sound Mind commits to doing what it can, and takes action.

    • #72702
      Nicole Salusky
      Participant

      In AZ we had a “separation” of the church from agencies in the past 5-6 years with the introduction of AZ127, a local faith based organization that provides info sessions, training and helps families select an agency. The churches do not want to be directly connected to one agency over another anymore. This really changed our ability to partner with them directly. However, in our smaller regions they are more willing to partner directly with agencies. My goal is to deepen my relationship with AZ127 leadership so that we can show our community that we embrace the change, are not the only agency to choose from and that our ultimate goal is for families to become licensed to serve children.

    • #72846
      Meg Scott
      Participant

      More than enough is possible with education, communication, collaboration, and prayer.  I agree with several of you that, it is overwhelming and satan does a great job of getting in the way.

    • #72847
      McKenzie Hutton
      Participant

      We serve a God of abundance and I know that “more than enough” is possible in my community. I’d like to say that I’m confident in this truth, but there are certainly days when I question this. As a child welfare professional, I’m confronted everyday with the reality of “not enough.” I was so thankful for Dr. Ford’s interview and her ability to share the vision for a child welfare system that is characterized by abundance. Prior to this course, I don’t know that I ever considered a future reality where “more than enough” was possible. As I continue to learn, grow, and trust, it is helpful to lean on the vision and confidence of others in this regard. I’m thankful for this community of believers and the burden that God has placed on the hearts of many to meet the needs for children and families.

    • #72851
      Tina Jones
      Participant

      On our own it is not possible, but we have a God who continues to bless above and beyond & overfill our cups.  In Greenville, we have the population, churches & agencies to do this.  I believe I’m seeing that we need to come together at the table and make a plan so we can bridge services rather than duplicate.  This communication can also allow us to see what we’re missing.  Not sure if I’m more excited that the children will be able to go to more ideal placements or that others will see a living testimony of what Christ called us to do.  Perhaps this ‘salt & light’ living will draw some to faith who might never walk into a church.

    • #72854
      Lani Barnes
      Participant

      I believe it is possible. I am encouraged by the doors that have been open to see the possibility of More than Enough in San Diego. I just have to remember to listen to what God says and do my part to plant that seed for others to join the foster care movement.

       

    • #72865
      Kyle Dahl
      Participant

      Yes, I believe there is more than enough families of all types, kinship, foster, adoptive in the greater OKC metro area.  We are close if not in the historical “Bible belt”, which means that there are lots of large, active, energetic churches doing awesome things.  And kind of like we’ve said before, if these churches knew specifically how they could help in realistic, understandable ways, then they would be more than willing to jump in and help.

    • #72891
      [email protected]
      Participant

      If I try to do it alone, then no it is not possible, but as a community, yes, we can see more than enough. None of us are equipped to fully meet the need, but as I see churches, families and community partners coming together to meet the need of foster children and families in my area, then I full believe that it is possible.

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