Holidays can be both a wonderful and challenging time for foster and adoptive families. Between parties, events, family visits and activities, kids in foster care can easily become overwhelmed. Adding another event to their already-packed schedule can make the holiday season more difficult.
In an effort to help these children and families relax and enjoy their time together, here are five easy ways to lend a hand:
- Drive – In addition to transporting to medical, dental, therapy and other appointments, foster parents transport children to family visitation. Offering to help with these trips can accommodate longer visits with biological parents and siblings. This may also allow the opportunity to see other relatives.
- Babysit – Give the foster parents a chance to go shopping without the kids! Shopping for gifts, even shopping for groceries is hard enough, now add three children under the age of six and a teenager. Enough said.
- Cook – Get a couple of friends together and prepare a meal for the family. After a busy day, Mom will appreciate spending time relaxing with the family instead of cooking for five! If you don’t have time to cook, grab some extra fruit and snacks to drop off on your next trip to the store. Kids are out of school and searching the cabinets for food to nibble on!
- Create – Life books are a great tool for foster and adoptive children and their families. They give kids the opportunity to share about their family and customs with their foster or adoptive family. Life books are also a wonderful way for a reunified family to heal. They help children heal by remembering loved ones that they may no longer be a part of their everyday lives. Give kids disposable cameras to take pictures at family visits other special occasions. Help them create or add pages to their life books or, for those of us that aren’t so creative, buy scrapbook supplies.
- Help – Be a wrapping assistant or help assemble that toy that came in one hundred pieces. A brave soul to climb in the attic to get decorations can be appreciated; I prefer to hold the flashlight. Ask what you can do to help.
Above all, please pray every day for the children in the foster care system. Pray for the families that open their hearts and their homes and love unconditionally no matter the outcome.
Wendy McMillan is the foster care and adoption supervisor for Buckner Children and Family Services in Lufkin. As foster care and adoption supervisor, she coordinates the development of foster and adoptive homes and provides training and support to foster and adoptive families. She has been with Buckner since 2011.
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If you'd like to learn more about ways you can be a family through Buckner foster care or adoption, visit www.beafamily.org.