Stop telling someone to dial 911
You know the scene, it’s nearly the same in every movie, someone chokes on popcorn at a movie theatre, a fan gets hit by a foul ball at a baseball game, a dad steps on his kid’s legos while walking barefoot. And every time, without fail, a good samaritan yells, “Someone dial 911!”
If you’ve ever taken a CPR or first aid class you know the problem with that statement. The problem is that we will in a world full of assumptions. We assume the grocery store shelves will be restocked. We assume that when we turn on the kitchen faucet water will always come out. We assume that, when we see a friends post on Facebook asking for prayer for a situation, someone else is seeking the Father on their behalf. And, unfortunately, we assume that someone else is dialing 911. Our directive was not specific enough for our audience. To counter this, CPR and first aid trainers instruct you to call on a single individual and tell them to call 911.
There is power in this individualized call to action as it takes away the assumption that someone else is responding.
As of August 6th, there are 4,500 children in foster care in the state of Arkansas. Only 75.8 percent of those children are in a family home. There are 5,956 in Arkansas. I’m sure you’ve seen the posts, heard the statements that if we could have one family from each church in Arkansas we would easily be able to care for all of these children. And once we hear that we assume someone else is that one family.
So what if we can remove the assumption? What if we can better communicate the call to action?
I need you, whoever you are reading this post, to get us one foster family from your church and four families to support them. That foster family may be your family, or someone that you know within your church body. I need you to find them. Not “someone” find them, but you find them.
In Isaiah 6, the question is asked, “Who shall I send? Who will go for us?” Isaiah doesn’t look around to see who else might be responding, he jumps at the chance to serve his God and responds, “Here am I, send me.” Isaiah was not the savior of the people, Jesus was. He just took it upon himself to ensure that his people knew.
This is how we are going to provide homes for the 8,300 children who spend time in foster care each year.
Ok, you haven’t stopped reading so maybe you’re not too upset with me yet. The above call to action isn’t to prove a point, it’s not to help you understand how we need to clarify the message about needing foster parents in Arkansas. The statement above is a legitimate instruction for you to take personal responsibility and help us find a foster family in your church.
Your church needs to be part of the answer to the foster care need in our state, and since you are an ambassador for your church and the one to whom I am currently communicating, you are volunteered! But don’t stress out…
Your church doesn’t need to add ministries, remove ministries, rethink how they do anything. You just need one foster family and four families committed to supporting them.
If you can do this, it changes everything.
We will still have hundred of kids in need of homes. We will still need hundreds of new foster homes. But for the children placed in that home, it changes everything.
In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
You can’t be a foster parent? That’s fine. You can’t give steps one through one hundred of how to tackle the foster care crisis in our state? That’s fine. You aren’t your church’s pastor or leader? That’s fine.
We don’t have time to wait on the perfect person to come forward to meet the need. We need you.
Not someone… you.
We can’t solve this issue and provide families for our waiting children unless we are all willing to stop assuming that someone else is taking action, and instead, take personal responsibility. Can you imagine how many children would be placed into families instead of facilities if we all said, “Here am I, send me?”
The CALL in Pulaski County
You can learn more about partnering with The CALL in Arkansas to provide homes for children in foster care and how to support current and future foster and adoptive homes by visiting