If 1 family from each church in Arkansas became a foster family, we could solve the foster care crisis in our community.
If out of every 10 churches, 1 family adopted a child from foster care, all children whose parental rights have been terminated would have a new forever home.
Foster care and adoption
Michayla* is 9 and was just taken into foster care when it was discovered that her living situation was unsafe. She needs a safe and healing place to stay now. Not tomorrow, but right this minute. A social worker with the Arkansas Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) will call down the list to available foster homes, hoping to find someone who is able and willing to take in Michayla on a moment’s notice for an unknown duration.
Given that there are around 8,200 children in foster care in Arkansas in a year, and only about 1,600 foster homes to care for them, Michayla’s social worker will have likely be on the phone for a while. And when she does make the placement, Michayla may find herself going for a long car ride, as the foster home is probably going to be in another county and maybe the other end of the state.
This reality, playing out as around 20 children come into foster care every day in Arkansas is why The CALL exists. God called us to stand in the gap for the least of these and make a difference.
Foster care means providing a temporary home for a child who is not able to live in his or her home of origin for whatever reason. It may be for a short time or may be a long-term affair. When removing a child from its biological family, the goal of DCFS is always reunification: to see that whatever caused the need for removal is fixed and to return the child (or children) to their biological family. As foster parents, we’re part of that process, helping that child heal and move forward, getting them ready for life, just like you would any other child.
In some cases, a child is not able to return to the biological family and parental rights are terminated in a court decision. That child is now available for adoption.
Everyone needs to belong, some place to connect and return to. As Christians, we’ve been adopted into the family of God. Adoption changes a person’s legal status. Instead of being a temporary guest in a household, the adoptee belongs there with full rights and privileges. We sometimes talk of being adopted as gaining a “forever home”, one that will always be there, even when you’re grown up and off to college or wherever life takes you.
A 3-step process
The CALL encourages families in the Christian community to consider foster care and adoption, then equips those families through training and walking through the process to become certified as foster or adoptive parents and by supporting those families once they are actually doing foster care or adoption.
You may have heard that becoming a foster parent is complicated, there are lots of steps and it takes a long time. The CALL has walked through that process with hundreds of families over the past 10 years and will help demystify the journey for you. We will be there every step of the way for you too if you choose to pursue becoming a foster or adoptive parent.
The CALL works in close partnership with DCFS to make sure you are not left wondering what’s happening at any stage of the process. We’re also able to provide the required training specially packaged into 2 weekends, making it as easy as possible for prospective parents to fit it into already busy schedules.
Every journey starts with a first step, even the most life-changing of journeys. The first step on your journey as a foster or adoptive parent is closer than you might think: Plan to attend an Info Meeting in your county:
- Get an overview of the process to become a foster or adoptive family
- Hear from current foster and adoptive parents
- Learn about volunteer opportunities
- Ask questions and get answers
- Start the process if you choose to get more involved
You come, you listen, you ask questions, and then you decide — if being a foster or adoptive parent is right for you, if you can be the one to make a difference in the lives of children who need safety and healing, if this is how God would want you to be involved in your community.
You could be the one to make all the difference to Michayla or someone just like her.