“Dear Friends: We have an URGENT, immediate need for families to house incoming-placement foster kids.”
Almost weekly this message is awaiting me in my e-mail inbox. My heart breaks every time I read it. Honestly, it is easy to just hit delete. After all, I know what it says, and what it says just makes me sad. Besides my house already has six kids. I’m full. But ignoring a problem doesn’t make it go away and having a full house doesn’t mean the problem isn’t still mine. As a follower of Christ, I must do more.
God has brought together a group of people just like me. We have full houses and a call to do more. We are trying to reflect God’s heart for the fatherless in our own lives. We are agreeing with God that doing nothing is not an option and is not His plan for the Church. We are called Project 1:17. Over the past two months we have grown our group to include representatives from various local agencies involved in foster care and adoption.
We are asking the church to step in, step up, and join God’s heart for foster children. Our first mission is to ask each church in our community to designate one Sunday in the month of May, which is National Foster Care Month, to bring awareness to foster care. These Sunday’s would be used to shine a light on the urgent need for foster families, to advocate and pray for foster children, and to challenge families to consider if they are ready to become foster families themselves. Our prayerful goal is to have 117 new foster families in our counties of Cass and Clay by the end of the year.
We are not only urging churches to hold a foster care awareness Sunday, we are equipping them to do so. We have written a bulletin announcement and a flyer that churches can use, we are producing a local video that can be shown during services and we are willing to both staff an informational table and to present a 2-5 minute announcement in church. The involvement of each church could look different.
But what is next? We have made the need known. Now what? As families feel the tug to become foster or adoptive parents, we will direct them to local agencies using the connections we have made. Two community informational meetings are scheduled for those from churches that are interested in learning more about foster care.
Representatives from our local foster care and foster-to-adopt agencies (Cass County, PATH, AASK, and Lutheran Social Services) will be joined by our Project 1:17 team and will be available to answer questions. Information will be presented about getting started, licensing, and foster care options. Testimonies from foster families and former foster children will be given.
If you are feeling called to join us in Project 1:17, or have questions about foster care, I’d love to share my own families journey with you. It is quite an adventure.
So there you have it… that’s a bit about my new project. I am ready to walk beside you as you start your own journey deeper into God’s heart for the fatherless. Together we are on a grand adventure.
Janelle Steinberg, Mrs. North Dakota International 2014
“Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.”