dc127

We’re going for it.

Posted by | Blog, Safe Families for Children | No Comments

 146 measure filled in trying again FINAL

Last month, we celebrated DC127’s two-year anniversary and the amazing things we’ve accomplished as a network. With over 7 church partners, 20 in process or active homes through both foster care and Safe Families, and over 50 mentors, coordinators, and coaches dedicating time and energy to investing in the kids of our city, we get pretty giddy when we think about what’s to come.

A lot has happened in the past two years, but we’re not done. We want the city to know that the church is serious about being a leader in caring for children in foster care and children at risk of entering, so we’re pushing forward. We already have 15 Safe Families Host Homes in process, and are actively serving 3 families, and each of those situations directly prevented foster care. But here’s the thing, we’re getting calls every week about families who need the community support of Safe Families, and we’re not able to say yes to all of them because we don’t have enough space.

That’s why today we’re launching our 146 Campaign. Our goal is to have 46 Host Homes and 100 people in support roles in the next 146 days. And we have no doubt, that with prayer and your help, we as the Church can reach this goal and empower churches to be places of refuge for families in DC.

Will you join us over this next 146 days in prayer, support, and even getting involved yourself?

Here’s a breakdown of why we believe this is important:

  • Because we’re serious about bringing the church to the table: If we are serious about this, then like other agents of change, we need to set goals, pray specifically for them, and work hard to achieve them. When you set out to make change, you don’t passively wait for it to happen. You go for it.
  • Because we keep getting calls: DC127 is consistently getting calls for families in need, and we’ve had to turn away three families in the past two weeks because we didn’t have Host Homes. We want to be ready.
  • Because DC127 is in this for the long haul: Saying the word “campaign” may make you think of something short-term, but that’s not us. We’re doing this to get to a place where we can serve families for the long haul. 46 Host Homes doesn’t represent 46 one-day, band-aid solutions- 46 Host Homes represent over 46 relationships where communities and homes open their doors to families experiencing isolation and crisis.

146 measure option 2 FINAL

We already have 15 Host Homes in process, and 30 people stepping up in support roles, and we know that together we can reach this goal. But we need your help.

Here’s what you can do to make this happen:

1. Pray about being one of the 146:

Is God calling you to step out? There can be a lot of hesitations around being a Host Home- and we totally get that (here are some frequently asked questions about hosting). And if you can’t host, we need you in a support role. You could support by being a Family Coach, a Family Friend, or even by bringing meals, babysitting, or donating clothes and diapers. Having a community of support is what makes Safe Families unique and possible. Will you consider taking the next step? You can learn more here, and take next steps here. You can also check our calendar for our next info night and trainings, or contact a staff member to get more information now.

2. Connect us with your church:

DC127-0079If 9 churches recruit an average of 3 Host Homes, we’ll hit our goal. We can do this. Whether your church is already engaged, or if you want to be the first connection to your church- you can play a leading role in mobilizing your community to open its arms to a family in need. Will you help?

 

 

3. Invest in DC127 and our dream of mobilizing churches to support families in crisis:

foster the city-86It costs about $40 for one individual to go through the Host Home training, and $100 to train their support team. We keep all of our trainings free to volunteers, and also provide additional trainings throughout the year to better equip our homes. When you invest in DC127, you help ensure that each Host Home and volunteer is prepared to serve families well. Will you invest in DC127 today and help us provide the best support to our Host Homes?

 

And finally, will you pray with us? From the beginning, we’ve known that we’re not going to get far without relying on God to call the churches, the homes, the mentors, and the supports our city needs. And that hasn’t changed. Over these next 146 days, please pray with us. Pray that God would call individuals, families, and homes to open their doors. Pray that fears and concerns of volunteers would be put at ease. And finally, pray for the families that we are serving and will serve. Pray that in a difficult time, they would experience the love and support of a community.

We’re genuinely excited about the next 146 days. We’re excited because we’re envisioning November 8th (which is also Orphan Sunday) when we, as a collective Church, will celebrate how God has answered our prayers and how we’re able to say that we are ready for the families and kids of Washington, DC.

Will you join us?

Arms Wide Open

Posted by | Safe Families for Children | No Comments

For as long as I can remember, I have been the girl who asks, “May I hold your baby?” Frequently, even when I was hardly more than a baby myself, parents have answered, “Yes.”

Not surprisingly, I grew up to be a nanny. When you meet me, you will very quickly realize that I still harbor a bit (okay a lot) of a child in me. Hanging out with kids helps me stay in touch with that light-hearted and freewheeling approach to life that young children carry with them. Over the years, “hanging out with kids” has become much more than just a babysitting job for me.

Through the national initiative Safe Families for Children, I can play a part in supporting and strengthening families in DC. Everyone can have a role in Safe Families. Whether you are single like me, or not, live in a studio apartment or a group house, have 10 hours or 10 minutes, you can be a part of extending God’s love to families living in isolation here in DC.

I know first-hand how debilitating a sense of isolation can be; I have struggled with clinical depression for many years. The support, encouragement and accountability from my God-given community of family and friends are all integral to my mental health. My experience with depression has given me sensitivity to the need for authenticity and community – a safe place to be known. I have a growing vision and passion for extending the arms of the (capital C) Church community to envelop families in our neighborhoods. Practically speaking, that might include coaching parents, mentoring children, babysitting, providing meals, moving furniture, or even temporarily hosting children in your home when the need arises.

What if no one were asking to hold your baby? What if you were living in virtual isolation, without family or friends to call for help when you hit rock bottom, or when everyday life suddenly flares into major crisis?

I dream of a day when no baby lacks for safe arms to hold her, and when no child lacks encouragement to be the very best he can be. I dream of a day when EVERY family receives an overflowing abundance of love, acceptance, and support from the Church. Together, let’s extend our arms, wide open, to share the love God has showered on us.

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” – James 1:27 (NLT)

 

Learn more about how you can open your arms to a family experiencing crisis here.

 

kathryn_headshot-2

 

About the author: Kathryn Parent attends National Community Church (Georgetown location) and is new to the DC127 community of volunteers. A transplant from the Inland Northwest (Idaho), Kathryn enjoys reading, hiking, bicycling, and cooking. After graduate studies in chemistry and six years working in the field of chemical education, God resurrected her dream of being a stay-at-home-mom, though she is neither a mother (just a Parent), nor does she stay at home (just at other people’s homes).

 

One City. One Hope: Who is the Mother to the Motherless?

Posted by | Foster Care and Adoption | No Comments

DC127-0079

On November 7th, we hosted a night that brought 15 churches and 100 people together to pray for and unite on behalf of the kids in DC’s foster care system and those at risk of entering.

That’s the meat and potatoes. But as we all know, the details never do it justice. For me, November 7th was a reflection of the heart of DC127. People from churches all of over the city came together because of their love for Christ and their commitment to the children of DC. And that’s kind of beautiful.DC127-0013

If you weren’t able to make it, we’ve uploaded the video of our main speaker, Robert Gelinas, below (and it’s posted here).

The whole thing was quite powerful, but there was one question in particular that Robert posed that struck me. He said that if we are the Bride of Christ, and if God is the Father to the fatherless, then who is the mother to the motherless?

I hadn’t thought of the church in this sense before. I’ve prayed over and over that as the Father to the fatherless, God would move in Washington, DC on behalf of the children without homes. I’ve prayed that as the Father to the fatherless, God speak to each child so they knew they weren’t alone. And I have prayed that the Church in DC would reflect this trait of Christ and take up the reputation of caring for the orphan that the Church has heDC127-0056ld since its founding, but understanding the Church as the mother to the motherless gave a name, role, and new light to our responsibility as Christ’s Bride, Body, and People.

Our goal is to see Washington, DC be a city where every child has a home and families get the support they need, but there are many ways we could do this without taking the time to create a network of churches. There are many wonderful initiatives in our city, but it would be a sin if the foster care wait list was reversed and the church wasn’t part of that success. Inherent to this vision of a city that cares for its children is the leadership of the church in DC ensuring the success of each child.

There are about fifty other points in Robert’s talk that made me stop and think, so I’ll just let you watch the video instead of parsing them all out here. The last point, for me, is if God is the father to the fatherless and if that does make us the mother to the motherless, then that truth eradicates any doubt that God is with us, strengthening us, and moving us forward.

-Chelsea, Director

P.S. If you want to see more photos from One City. One Hope, click here. And we’d like to thank Andrea and Renata for capturing the evening through pictures, and Nathan Cronk, Raphael Derungs, and InterMotion Media for recording the evening and creating the video below. And if you want to hear more from Robert, check out his new podcast.

One City. One Hope. – Robert Gelinas 3 from DC127 on Vimeo.

Our Orphan Sunday Prayer

Posted by | Foster Care and Adoption | No Comments

Blog-ButtonAs we work to recruit churches to our city-wide prayer gathering, One City. One Hope on November 7th, we’re calling on all churches to join churches across the globe in observing Orphan Sunday.

We’re asking all churches to join us in this prayer. As a collective Body across the city praying this prayer together, we’re engaging in Orphan Sunday alongside churches around the world.

You can print out the PDF version here: Orphan Sunday Prayer

You can also use the text version of the prayer below:

A prayer for Orphan Sunday

On this Orphan Sunday, we join with your people across our city, country and world to pray for children. We know that love for these precious children begins not with us, but with you. You pursued us when we were wayward and alone. You adopted us as your children. You invite us to address you as Abba and to live as your sons and daughters. Truly, we love because you first loved us.

You tell us also that you are near to the downtrodden and destitute. Your heart aches for children that face the world alone. You champion the cause of those who have no one else to take their side. And you call us to do the same.

So we pray that you would rouse us to share your heart. We ask that you would stir your people to passion and vision and action on behalf of children that have no family, and those in families in crisis.

We lift up to you the millions of children in the world who have lost their parents to disease, to war, to addiction, to poverty, to abandonment. As you promise to do, place the lonely in families. Be their defender, their provider, their hope and peace. Help us to do the same.

We pray also for the 400,000 children in our foster system in America, and the 1,200 children in Washington, DC. So often, they are bounced from home to home, knowing little love, consistency or true nurture. Please be their love, their consistency, their nurture. Help us to do the same.

And we pray for children at-risk of being removed from their families. Support these parents with your love, your grace, and your patience. Teach us to open our communities, welcoming families in distress and strengthening them as a unit.

We confess that we have often lived with little regard for these precious lives. Please forgive us. Lead us to take up their cause, not in guilt or obligation, but as a joyful response to your great love for us.

As we do, we pray that you would use our humble response to transform. To transform the lives of countless children both physically and spiritually. To transform us as we encounter you in them. To transform your Church as we lift our eyes beyond our own comfort and self-focused religion to live out the painful beauty of the Gospel. And finally, to transform a watching world as it catches glimpses of your love made visible through the actions of your people.

We commit all this to you, the One who is a father and mother to all, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

We’re hiring!

Posted by | Safe Families for Children | No Comments

We’re hiring a Family Intake Representative to join our team. If you or someone you know is interested in applying, please have them email us their cover letter and resume at info@dc127.org and put the position name in the subject line.

DC127 is partnering with DC Child and Family Services Agency to bring the Safe Families for Children movement to DC. Safe Families focuses on providing support for families in crisis so that the children never have to enter foster care in the first place. Our volunteer Host Families provide a temporary safe haven for their children, just like an aunt or uncle would.

The Family Intake Representative will help conduct home screenings of new Host Families, and help families in need through our intake process. This is a part-time position.

We would really appreciate it if you shared this with your network of friends and colleagues. Stay tuned for more announcements about Safe Families!

foster the city-391

Resources for prospective foster parents

Posted by | Foster Care and Adoption, Resources and Awareness | No Comments

It’s National Foster Care Month! (See the Presidential Proclamation below). During the next few weeks, we’d like to offer some resources to assist you as you deliberate getting involved with foster care. A few of you will decide to become foster parents. While you can never be fully prepared for this challenging but rewarding calling, the links below will get you started as you embark on the adventure of opening your home to children in need.

Educate yourself:

  • Child welfare/foster care statistics. These resources provide state and national data on the number of children in the child welfare system, trends in foster care caseloads, and well-being outcomes. Learn about sources of data and statistics on children and families in the child welfare system and considerations for understanding the limitations and potential use of the available data.
  • FAQs about foster care. These questions cover the basics of how foster care works.
  • Foster care reading. This is a list of fiction and non-fiction books that will provide information about the foster care system.
  • Homestudy requirements for prospective foster parents. This product presents State laws and policies for licensing or approving family foster homes.

Prepare yourself:

  • Time for learning about foster care handbook. Being a foster parent means taking the hand of a child or adolescent and becoming a guide for a period of time during the child’s life. At the same time, foster parents have similar needs for stability, a way to handle intense emotions, and a method for organizing the world and anticipating events. This handbook is intended to be a guide to help meet those needs.
  • What kids want foster parents to know. In the writing contest in the last issue of Fostering Perspectives, children and youth in foster care were asked, “If you were a foster parent, what would you do to help the children living in your home?” These are their answers.

Let DC127 help:

  • Newsletter. Our goal is to unite DC churches around the foster care crisis and reverse it so families are waiting for children and all children available for adoption have a forever family. This newsletter is our way of keeping you informed about all the events around foster care happening in DC, organized by DC127 and other programs committed to the same goal.
  • Information Nights. We also offer regular foster care and adoption information evenings. Come learn more about the licensing process for foster care and adoption through foster care in Washington, DC. We’ll discuss the steps to getting licensed, agencies in DC, common fears, and the supports provided to make sure that you and the child succeed. Email us at info@dc127.org for more information, and the next date.

###

Presidential Proclamation

Every child deserves to grow, learn, and dream in a supportive and loving environment. During National Foster Care Month, we recognize the almost 400,000 young people in foster care and the foster parents and dedicated professionals who are making a difference in their lives. We also rededicate ourselves to giving every child a sense of stability and a safe place to call home.

While the number of young people in foster care has fallen, those still there face many challenges, including finding mentors to guide their transition into adulthood and getting the support to make that transition a success. One third of foster children are teenagers, in danger of aging out of a system that failed to find them a permanent family.

Across our Nation, ordinary Americans are answering the call to open their hearts and homes to foster children. From social workers and teachers to family members and friends, countless individuals are doing their part to help these striving young people realize their full potential. My Administration remains committed to doing our part. This year, the Affordable Care Act will extend Medicaid coverage up to age 26 for children who have aged out of foster care, allowing them to more easily access quality, affordable health coverage. We are working to break down barriers so every qualified caregiver can become an adoptive or foster parent. Additionally, in the past year, we awarded grants to States, tribes, and local organizations to give communities new strategies to help foster children, including methods for finding permanent families, preventing long-term homelessness of young people aging out of foster care, and supporting their behavioral and mental health needs.

This month, and all year long, let us all recognize that each of us has a part to play in ensuring America’s foster children achieve their full potential. Together, we can reach the day where every child has a safe, loving, and permanent home.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim May 2014 as National Foster Care Month. I call upon all Americans to observe this month by taking time to help youth in foster care and recognizing the commitment of all who touch their lives.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.

BARACK OBAMA

# # #

We’re hiring!

Posted by | Safe Families for Children | No Comments

There are a lot of great things happening with DC127 – and we need some help.

We’re hiring an Outreach and Program Coordinator and looking for a Summer Intern to join our team. If you or someone you know is interested in applying, please have them email us their cover letter and resume at info@dc127.org and put the position name in the subject line.

Outreach and Program Coordinator: DC127 is partnering with Safe Families and DC Child and Family Services Agency to bring the Safe Families program to DC. Safe Families focuses on providing support for families in crisis so that the children never have to enter foster care in the first place. We’ll be sharing more about the program and how you can get involved, but first we’re looking for someone to help kick it off.

Summer Intern: We solemnly swear that as the DC127/ District Church intern you will never go get coffee (unless you’re needing a personal caffeine boost). Rather, you’ll be working directly with the Director and with the future Outreach and Program Coordinator to accomplish DC127’s mission. You’ll get exposure to non-profit operations and management, urban justice, child welfare, and community organizing.

It’s also important to us that any intern achieves professional goals, so we are happy to shape the internship depending on the person’s skills. This can be a part-time or full-time internship. The deadline to apply for the Summer Intern position is May 5th, 2014.

If you have any networks or groups that you could share these openings with, we would appreciate it. Stay tuned for more announcements about Safe Families and what we’re doing this summer!

foster the city-391

DC127 staff and volunteers after a long and crazy day at Foster the City.

Thank you.

Posted by | Safe Families for Children, Supporting Families | No Comments

46-by-friday-header

Thank you for partnering with us.

Thank you for joining us in saying that enough is enough and the cost of doing nothing is too high.

Thank you for committing to help us show our city’s youth that we haven’t forgotten them.

We are so excited to begin working with our new church partners and individuals who share our passion to reach our city’s most vulnerable kids. By joining us, you’re moving beyond lip service. You’re taking action to help more families answer God’s call to care for kids in foster care, mobilize more mentors, and recruit even more churches and individuals.

DC127 was never envisioned to remain the work of just one church or just a handful of people. Alone, we will never achieve our goal of reversing the list: ensuring every child has a home and families are waiting for children rather than children waiting for families.

But together, we will. Together, we will show every child who is waiting to be adopted that they are not unadoptable. We will tell the children waiting for a safe and loving family that they are not forgotten.

We are still working towards our goal of 46 monthly donors, but are amazed and humbled by the response from all of you this week and are ending the week with 18 people who have committed to investing in DC127 on a monthly basis. Thank you! (To see just how grateful we are, check out the pictures on our Facebook page)

If you’re interested in joining that group of 18 and and making it 19 and eventually 46, you can do so and invest in DC127 here. We are grateful.

And maybe if after reading this week’s posts and stories (here, here, and here), you are ready to take the next step through fostering, mentoring, or being a catalyst in your church? You can email us at info@dc127.org.

We’re also having a Foster Care and Adoption Information Night on April 23rd. We would love for you to join us and learn more about taking the next steps to care for a child in foster care.

Again – thank you. We’re so glad you’re on this team.

RSVP for a Foster Care and Adoption Information Night

A DC127 story: ‘Yeah, let’s do it’

Posted by | Safe Families for Children, Supporting Families | No Comments

46-by-friday-header

Throughout the week, we’re sharing more about DC127 and our mission to reverse the foster care wait list. While today’s story isn’t about traditional foster care, it is about churches working together and a family opening up their home for an amazing young woman and her daughter – which is what we’re here for. This week, we’re specifically looking for 46 people to commit to being monthly supporters of DC127’s mission. Will you join us and help make more stories like this one? Read more about what we’re doing in our first and second posts of the week.

Just about two months ago, DC127 Founder Amy Graham was put in touch with Hafsatu and her one-year-old daughter Nahla. They were facing a rough time, and as a teen, Hafsatu’s options were limited. As it became clear that Hafsatu and Nahla needed a temporary home, we reached out to DC127’s church network. We were overwhelmed by how God moved and the support that poured in from churches across the city as people donated baby supplies and support. Within an hour and twelve minutes of the email being sent, Ben and Christie replied, offering their home as a safe place for Hafsatu and Nahla. It has now become a more permanent home where they both can thrive and Hafsatu can finish high school. Thank you all of you who have been a part of settling Hafsatu and Nahla through support, meals, prayer, and a lot of love!

Getting to know Ben, Christie, Hafsatu, and Nahla has been an honor, and we are incredibly grateful to call them friends. They sat down with us to share their story. Here you go:

So walk us through getting that first email. What was your thought process?

Christie: Well, Ben saw it first. I think I was in a meeting at work. He wrote me an email back.

Ben: I said, ‘This would be really cool to do, but there is no way we could actually do it, right?’ It was almost a dream or something, almost a joke.

Christie: And then I wrote back and I said, ‘No, we should definitely do that, right?’ We didn’t even call each other, we just texted a couple times and sent a couple emails and said, ‘Yeah, let’s do it.’

photo (65)

Ben, Hafsatu, Nahla, and Christie

Backing up a little bit, where did your original interest in opening up your home or potentially fostering come from?

Ben: That’s a deep question. I spent a year abroad before I came here. I lived in Costa Rica, I spent some time in Haiti, and I was around orphanages a lot there and I remember being really heart broken by the idea of people not having families.

Christie: My parents did foster care when I was a kid, and so it was kind of always a normal thing growing up with that. I wouldn’t say that my desire for doing foster care is completely because of that, but I would say that’s probably a big part of it. I’ve also spent some time in different orphanages… and I’ve seen what it’s like for kids to not have families…It just makes me really sad to think of that.

What has been one of the best moments so far?

Ben: It was one of the first weekends you, Satu, were here, and we went to a movie together and everything was crazy, but in that evening, it felt normal, ‘Yeah, we’re going to a movie on a Saturday night and taking the bus.’ There wasn’t anything weird about it, and there was something about that that was really fun for me.

Hafsatu (Satu): I think the best moment for me so far is going to Pittsburgh to visit Christie’s family. I just enjoyed their whole family and getting to meet them. They were really sweet. I felt like I was loved and I felt like I was wanted there.

I felt like I was loved and I felt like I was wanted there.

Christie: I think my favorite moment so far was this past weekend when we went to Georgetown. We went to Georgetown Cupcakes, and then we went and walked around down by the water, and Ben’s host mom from Costa Rica was here…We all have such different backgrounds and stories, but to have everyone hanging out there together…It felt really normal.

Ben: I had this moment this weekend… I’m looking around and, to state the obvious, Christie and I are white, Satu and Nahla are African, and my host mom is from Costa Rica, but somehow this is all really normal. It’s a beautiful thing.

What have been some of the challenges as you integrate as a new family?

Christie: It’s been a really complex situation with paperwork. I remember one time, Satu, you told me that you felt like you were in the middle of a spider web, and really caught up in the midst of that.

I would say on a more personal level, though, a challenge is redefining what normal is, probably for all of us. It wasn’t normal for Satu two months ago to be hanging out with us on a Tuesday night and sitting around our dinner table. It wasn’t normal for her and it wasn’t normal for us. Just trying to figure out what it looks like to be a family and what it looks like to spend time together.

Ben: Just to add that, it’s also been a really awesome thing. I would add to that the schedules and the focus of your priorities [have been a challenge]…Before, Christie and I just had to just focus on ourselves, focus on our work, and focus on each other, and now we have a lot more things to think about.

Hafsatu: I think the most frustrating part was when I was trying to get the paperwork. I just thought it wasn’t possible and would be really hard. I mean, we still don’t have everything, but before I thought that it just wasn’t going to happen, but now I have hope and we’re making progress and we’re moving along.

Ben, his host mom from Costa Rica, Christie, Hafsatu, and Nahla

Ben, his host mom from Costa Rica, Christie, Hafsatu, and Nahla

You’re not in traditional foster care, but your situation is similar. Can you talk about what support you’ve received and how that has impacted your journey?

Christie: I think the support had been incredible. I have felt support over the past two months from our church community, DC127, and people that we have never even met, like several steps removed from people we even do know. It’s been a really a phenomenal thing. When we got back from Pittsburgh, for instance, our house was full, so full. There were so many things. It took over an hour to open and go through everything…Whether someone sends an encouraging email, or sends a check, or sends a gift card or something, it’s been a really powerful thing to see the body of Christ unite for this. And it really does make it clear that God is in this and God is all over this, and I think the support we’ve received from that body of people is really proven that to me.

It’s been a really powerful thing to see the body of Christ unite for this

Ben: The support from our church community has been fantastic – our friends, our small group, and like Christie said, even friends, of friends, of friends that have contributed. And on the other hand, DC127, I know it’s cheesy, but really, what you and Amy have done for us has been phenomenal… For all of us, it’s so brand new and none of us know what to expect or what’s going on and the fact that you and Amy have been there and you’ve been able to walk with us, each of us, and hold our hand through the process every step of the way has been amazing.

Hafsatu: I was just amazed at how supportive everyone was. Coming into this, I did not think it was going to be so great. I did not think I was going to have so many people write messages, and so many people trying to make us comfortable and try to make us feel at home… Even after starting school, Kristen got me a folder to put my papers in and just made it clear that she was thinking of me. John and Hannah got me two movie tickets and wrote me a sweet note saying they were thinking of me through my first week of school and they were praying for me. Everyone has just been really great.

Do you have anything to say to people who might be hesitant to bring teens in to their homes?

Ben: I’ll just be honest. I would say it’s been the most rewarding thing and the most challenging thing… For example, Nahla has only been on earth for a year so she doesn’t have a whole lot of prior things that she is bringing into it. Satu is a full adult, and we’re all full adults. We all have our backgrounds that we’re bringing into it and we’re trying to figure out how to match that up… It’s an amazing thing. It makes it more rewarding and it makes it more challenging.

Christie: It changes everything in a very beautiful way. I think that in order to be successful in having a teen in your home, from the little tiny bit that I’ve seen so far, it requires a lot of flexibility and a lot of open-mindedness. Everyone has to be able to respect and hear out everyone’s opinions. I love the idea of having a teen in the house because you do get a whole other set of perspectives and it’s really pretty great.

How has this impacted your faith?

Hafsatu: There’s a quote, I don’t know exactly how it goes, but it goes like ‘the hard times don’t last forever, good things are coming.’ These past two years have been really hard and while I was going through everything I had no faith that things were going to get any better and I thought I was just going to live that way forever. Then all of a sudden I got connected with Amy, and you, and Jennifer, and everything just started to fall into place and everything just started to get better. And now… I have faith that it does get better and better things are coming, you just have to wait on it.

Christie: I’ve never felt God to be as real as I’ve felt him to be in these past two months. I’ve just felt the presence of God in a way I haven’t before.

Ben: I would second that. Our pastor, Tommy, gave a sermon on this before all of this happened and I feel like it’s really come true. The more you test faith, the more faith God gives you… The more we lean on Him, the more he pushes back. I’ve really experienced that in a way I can’t describe.

I’ll just say one other thing. It’s kind of cheesy, but we really love you, Satu, and we’ve told you that, and that love came to us before Satu even arrived. We had a moment when we were getting our house ready and you guys were coming over and Christie and I looked at each and said, ‘It doesn’t even matter who walks through that door, we’re going to love her.’ I don’t know how else to explain that other than God. I don’t know how you completely fall in love with someone before you’ve even met them. That’s just a miracle. That’s a small glimpse of the kind of love God has for everyone and I feel like it’s a new avenue or a new world of love that I’ve never experienced before. It doesn’t really make any sense, but it’s there.

The more we lean on Him, the more he pushes back.

One last question, what’s been one of the funniest moments?

Christie: The first one that comes to me is when Satu was teaching me about her hair. [They all laugh] She was telling me about her hair and it was when I found out that she wore a wig, and I had no idea. She told me she found it in a bush outside near the train tracks. And that’s where her wig was from. And I thought it was amazing.photo 2 (6)

Hafsatu: Make sure to add that it was brand new, and it was in a package, and I washed it. I think Ben and Christie are just funny human beings. They have really corny moments, and they say some outrageous things. What was it?

Christie: Was it when I said drinking water from the fire hose?

Hafsatu: She said something about drinking water from a fire hose and I was just like, [gives a look and shakes her head]. They have these really funny things that they say that are really weird.

Ben: Can you just have a whole paragraph set aside about how funny we are?

Thank you to Hafsatu, Christie, and Ben for sharing your story and allowing us to walk with you.

One of our favorite things about this story is that it wasn’t just one church or one group of people supporting this family. Support came from several churches, and when we worked together as the people of God, beautiful things happened. Whether it’s through foster care or host homes, integrating families is tough, and it can be very challenging, but it’s exactly where we should be. 

Would you consider becoming a monthly donor and investing in DC127? Your support enables us to mobilize churches and recruit families, finding and supporting more homes for teens and children who need them.

And maybe you read Ben and Christie’s story and think God might be calling you to do something similar. We would love to talk to you about different ways to open your home and life through foster care, host homes, or mentoring. Email us at info@dc127.org or join us on April 23rd for our next Foster Care Information Night. 

Invest in DC127 with a monthly or one-time donation

 

The cost of doing nothing

Posted by | Foster Care and Adoption, Resources and Awareness | No Comments

46-by-friday-header

This week we’re diving deeper into foster care and DC127. Read yesterday’s post by our Director. We’re specifically looking for 46 monthly donors  one for each month kids spend in foster care on average. Will you become a monthly donor today? 

We’ve all heard the stats:

  • 400,000 children in the United States are in the foster care system.
  • 96,000 of these children are available to be adopted.
  • 26,000 kids in foster care “age out” of the system, or are “emancipated,” every year.

And to bring it down to our level:

  • 1,179  children in the District of Columbia are in the foster care system.
  • 1,183 children are in their homes, but under the watch of DC Child and Family Services.
  • 108 children have the goal of adoption.
  • Children in foster care in DC spend an average of 46 months in the system (nearly twice the national average).
  • 77 percent of kids in DC waiting to be adopted are over 11 years old and at risk of aging out of care.

So what happens to these kids once they reach 18 and are legally on their own?  Jim Casey Youth has an infographic that spells out the cost of doing nothing: “On average, for every young person who ages out of foster care, taxpayers and communities pay $300,000 in social costs over that person’s lifetime. Social costs include taxpayer-funded costs such as public assistance and incarceration, as well as costs absorbed by the community, such as wages lost as a result of dropping out of high school.”

Studies show that, of the children who age out of the system without a permanent family,

  • 12-30 percent struggled with homelessness
  • 40-63 percent did not complete high school
  • 32-40 percent were forced to rely on some form of public assistance and 50 percent experienced extreme financial hardship
  • 18-26 percent were incarcerated

With 26,000 youth being emancipated each year, this adds up to nearly $8 billion in costs to the country. And these statistics represent only the financial toll on the country. They don’t tell the story of the challenges these kids experience as they age out of care and enter adulthood without the support of a family to guide them as they make big decisions, reach milestones, and build families of their own.

In light of all these dreary numbers, what can we do? Too often, we become overwhelmed and paralyzed. But we  understand that “doing nothing” is not an acceptable response for the church. We believe the answer is prevention. DC127 wants to keep kids from spending a quarter of their childhood in care and we aim to match adolescents at risk of aging out, with loving families before they are emancipated. We want to recruit families to foster and adopt our city’s young people, to ensure they don’t spend four years bouncing around and that they never have to leave the safety of a loving home.

Will you help us?

We’re looking for 46 people—to represent those 46 months kids spend in foster care—to help us achieve these goals.

We’re already seeing success. As we mentioned in yesterday’s post, just this month, using our church network, we were able to help settle a teen mom and her daughter in a home where they are thriving.

Join in our work by becoming one of 46 new monthly donors. Your investment in DC127 continues our efforts to unite area churches to circle around these children, and connect churches and foster families to the resources they need to make sure each child in the foster system has a place to call home and the support to realize his or her dreams.

The cost of doing nothing is too high. Join the movement and help us take action.

 

Invest in DC127 with a monthly or one-time donation

Donate to help those effected by the Coronavirus Coronavirus Response Fund