foster-parents-need-support.png

WHO WE SERVE

We empower families for child-centered advocacy amid fostering and adoption challenges.

"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men."

- Frederick Douglass

How We Empower Families

Empower Families

EXPERIENCED GUIDANCE

We enable more families to enter & remain in the fostering/adoption process; by filling the most crucial gaps where standard state processes fail to prepare or produce competent advocates. We do this by guiding the family through the systems’ challenges from the moment they express interest throughout their first two years. Providing them the ability to competently advocate and apply their training in the context of their specific circumstances.

Empower Families

REAL-WORLD TRAINING

We provide more positive outcomes by properly preparing families in the realities they will face through experienced-based trainers, practical tools, and emotional preparation. We provide families with the most diverse and realistic training possible through our proprietary training developed from over 400 hours of collaboration with experienced frontline families, child welfare professionals, and victims of severe childhood abuse.

Empower Families

FAITH-FILLED STRATEGY

We unite faith, family, and fostering to meet the needs of families desperately seeking guidance on applying their calling to serve victimized children. First, we acknowledge that the evidence-based data reveals the Christian community is the most significant respondent to fostering recruitment nationwide. We enable those families in effective advocacy by uniting Biblically-based strategies, purposeful prayer, and practical wisdom.

Frontline families are the “cog in the wheel” that makes the fostering or adoption process work. These courageous caregivers allow for more at-risk children to be rescued from their abusive situations. The solution for victimized kids is strong, loving families. Research confirms the POWER OF A FAMILY in a child’s life. Nothing can replace the power of a family unit! Even for a short time, a loving family can change the trajectory of a child's life! Despite the importance of these frontline families, they are the most overlooked in the service of children. By empowering these courageous caregivers with guidance, real-world training, and faith-filled strategy, we can help them navigate the system's brokenness and become competent child-centered advocates.

man%20sitting%20on%20pathway%20holding%2

Answering the Call

We are here to help YOU ANSWER THE CALL to foster or adopt victimized children. This can often feel overwhelming, mixed with a wide range of emotions. Take comfort, we have once been where you are. We know the questions and anxiousness you feel. Fostering is NOT for everyone. There should be no form of pressure or guilt in making this decision. We are here to help you obtain information, dialogue about your family, and assist you in making a peace-filled decision that creates positive outcomes for your family. If fostering becomes your journey, we are here to help you confidently partner with the Father, to give a child the most priceless gift of all, 

LIFE-ALTERING LOVE...a love that holds arms wide open, with a heart exposed!

By removing barriers between loving families and waiting children we can provide BETTER OUTCOMES for victimized children. Many potential families experience conflicting or confusing information when trying to learn about fostering or adoption. Inefficiencies from states and agencies result in poor follow up. What's even more disturbing is that states are losing over 50% of new foster families in their first year, due to a lack of preparation and support. These BARRIERS ARE UNNECESSARY and we are passionate about removing them! We have identified the top six barriers thru evidence-based research and national-based surveys. We have built our Family First Program to address each of them in very strategic and purposeful ways.

COMING SOON!

Our Family First Program will be made available to families beginning January of 2022. 

Our Families First Program provides crucial services to empower families amid the challenges of engaging in fostering and/or adopting thru the state.  These services will work with and in addition to current state processes. These services are purposefully built to FILL THE GAPS in the most common areas where families are left confused, unprepared, or overwhelmed. We are your family's advocate, anchor, and advisor while you serve children in the trenches. 

THE MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

About Fostering or Adoption

How Can I Become a Foster Parent?


Becoming a foster or adoptive parent can feel overwhelming and intimidating to most, but it doesn't have to be. Through direct and relationship-based connections, we help you make an educated and peace-filled decision for your family. With experienced foster families, we are ready and available to answer all of your questions and assist your family in making the best decision. Families enrolled in our Family First program will be provided with a dedicated support team to help throughout their fostering/adoption process. Including being a guide, an advocate, and a resource as you become licensed with your state. Simply put, our job is to help make it easier for you. We do not have to fill the obligations required by state agencies, as we are an independent organization whose sole mission is to serve you as you serve children! We will help you find a licensing agency, and we will work with them to provide you as smooth of a process as possible. To request more information about fostering, please contact us, and we would be happy to help!




Can I Adopt from Foster Care


Yes, adopting from foster care is possible. Many choose to foster and also have the desire to adopt. As we approach this subject, we must first remember three crucial factors about adoption. 1) The Way Your Approach Adoption is Important The desire to adopt is the heart of God within you, desiring to love a child the way He has loved you. Families stepping up to provide homes for children in need is a beautiful and redemptive thing. Adoption is on God's heart, He sets the lonely in families (Psalms 68:6), and He cares about children having families. As you consider adoption for your family, no matter what type of adoption you are considering, we urge you to examine your heart and ask why you want to do it. How you approach the topic of adoption is very important. Because adoption has nothing to do with GETTING a child, it has everything to do with GIVING your family to one. As adoptive parents, we know what it is like to desire to adopt and put your heart out there and risk disappointment. It is a big decision. The first thing to realize is that no adoption process is easy. All of them provide challenges and frustration. Initially, we thought foster care was the most challenging type of adoption. Now that we have experienced it, we no longer agree with that idea. We are here to help you understand what it looks like to foster and/or adopt from the US foster care system. We are here to help your family make a peace-filled decision. 2. Adoption is NOT the Goal of Fostering, but it is a Potential Outcome Fostering is about providing a loving home to a child until the courts can determine what is in the child's best interest. Reunification with their biological family will be the primary goal. As a foster parent, your role will be to provide a safe and loving home to the child, care for them, advocate for them, and support the process of reunification/restoration. Many people falsely assume that adoption is God's only desired outcome for children in foster care. It is not. When we look at the life of Jesus as our example, we see that He is the ultimate Restorer! His ways are always to provide an opportunity for restoration. Foster care is the same. It allows biological parents to receive support and resources they need to pursue reunification with their children. As foster parents, we are not only serving the children in our homes; we are cheering on the parents to seek and receive the restoration Jesus desires for them. After the due process has been made, and IF the parent(s) are unable or unwilling to be restored to their child, they will become available for adoption. In our introductory training, " Becoming a Steadfast Child-Centered Advocate," we will teach you practical ways to support reunification while maintaining healthy boundaries. We will also show you how to have a voice for the child whenever you have concerns. As foster parents, our primary OBJECTIVE is always to advocate and serve the child's best interest. 3) There are Many Children in Foster Care Waiting to be Adopted There are children whose parents' rights are terminated, and the child is legally ready to be adopted. There are currently over 125,000 children available for adoption within the US foster care system. Many of these children have been waiting for years for a family to step up and adopt them. These children have many different reasons for a long-awaited adoption. Sometimes it is due to being a part of a sibling group or because of their age; sometimes, they have struggled due to severe childhood trauma or medical conditions. For many of these children, they have lost hope of being adopted into a family. If you feel called to adoption, we highly encourage you to look at the adoption profiles of children who are waiting for forever families at adoptuskids.org To request more information about adoption, please contact us, and we would be happy to help!




How Will Fostering or Adoption Effect My Biological Children?


Fostering and adoption can be an excellent experience for your biological children! Their compassion and their awareness of the brokenness of others grow exponentially. Many families often state that their biological children are the ones convincing them to continue opening their homes to children in need. The key to fostering or adopting beneficial to your children is to approach it with practical wisdom and boundaries. We recommend families with children to utilize the following tips when contemplating these decisions for their family:

  • Be in Unity. Unity is the most critical aspect of fostering or adoption because it is not something you do by yourself. It will affect every member of the household, and it needs to be a family decision. We encourage incorporating your children into the discussion, starting around the age of six or age-appropriate for your specific child.
  • Create Boundaries. Boundaries provide assurance and safety to your children that you will protect them; this is very important! We cannot sacrifice our families on the altar of good intentions. Establishing predefined boundaries as a family before fostering or adopting helps the family stay in unity and reduce chaos. One of our favorites is that "we will not take the placement of a child unless everyone in the family agrees."
  • Teach as You Go. Many of the things that come up while engaging the brokeness of others are complicated. It can be challenging for your children to comprehend, mostly all at once. Creating a teaching culture that addresses things as they come up is vital to children feeling safe. It also reduces confusion and creates an open dialogue for your child to express anything that may concern them.
  • Don't Make Promises. We cannot guarantee any outcomes in fostering or even adoption. It would be best to communicate with your children multiple times; "we don't know what will happen." Even if the case looks like it is going a particular direction, don't make any promises! We often say, "we will let you know on adoption day"!
  • Give Visuals. Visuals are potent reminders of our words, and this is especially useful for homes with younger children. We recommend using picture boards to explain the differences between "forever family" and "children we love."
We will dive into these tips and many more in our introductory training, " Becoming a Steadfast Child-Centered Advocate," made available to you through our Family First program.




What are the Costs Involved with Fostering or Adopting from Foster Care?


In most states, Fostering incurs no cost for the families to have background checks, training, or licensure. All expenses are absorbed by the state in which you are licensed. Adopting a child from foster care is often funded by the state, and in most cases, there are few or no fees.





About the Family First Program

Why Do I Need the Family First Program if I Want to Foster and/or Adopt?


BECAUSE WE HAVE LIVED IT! No theories here! The entire Family First program was designed based on evidence-based research, national surveys, and seasoned foster families' experiences. Our program's introductory training, "Becoming a Steadfast Child-Centered Advocate," is a TRAINING SPECIFICALLY CREATED FOR FRONTLINE FAMILIES BY FRONTLINE FAMILIES. It was written in partnership with child welfare professionals and survivors of extreme childhood abuse. We developed this training with a focus on equipping families in the REALITIES of fostering and adoption. With Biblically-based principles and a relationship-based approach, we provide families the confidence to use five core competencies at the right time, in the right situations, with the right people. By expanding the traditional policy-based training that states already provide, we empower families to become a voice for the voiceless amid a broken system. 10.18 Strategy's Exclusive Family First Program Provides the Following:

  • Topics were chosen based on a national survey of experienced foster parents and what they felt their state standardized training lacked in preparing them for the realities of fostering or adoption.
  • Real-life stories and case studies from multiple families and individuals to bring diverse perspectives
  • Practical and effective ways to work with the system, not against it for positive outcomes for children
  • A strategic approach to trauma mindfulness and how to handle difficult situations and people
  • Tips and tools on how to walk through the emotional ups and downs of fostering, by experienced frontline families, who speak candidly and from experience.
  • A biblically-based perspective that focuses on merging the spiritual and practical responses to injustice




Why Does the Family First Program Have a Christian Faith-Based Emphasis?


We have a Biblically-based emphasis because it is who we are; we are faith-filled people! Our Christian faith has been a central part of our fostering and adoption journeys. We cannot separate our faith from our experiences because our faith gave us strength when everything else failed. Yet, it was wisdom that grounded our faith in practicality. Far too long, we have attempted to approach complex issues with either faith OR practicality. Our challenge is, why not both? When we look at Nehemiah's Biblical story, we can learn some simple and profound truths. He was able to accomplish things of great magnitude and in a short amount of time (Neh 4). But how? We learn many inspiring things from this story, but the one we want to talk about here is the partnership of faith and practicality. With a sword in one hand and a hammer in another, he led a team of people that rebuilt the broken places in record time, and they did it all in the context of their family! We, too, have seen profound and supernatural things happen when faith (sword) and practical wisdom (hammer) were brought together in the context of fighting for children who come from broken places. The system is fractured and faulty. Practicality alone amid the brokenness of this reality will leave you discouraged and frustrated. Faith without works (practicality) is dead (James 2:26) and will leave you full of discouragement. There is power when we bring together the influence of both faith and practical wisdom. The tools, resources, and ideas we provide through our organization and our Family First program come from the overflow of our faith, our own family stories, and our fostering experiences. We are unapoligetically a people of Faith, Family & Fostering!




Do I Have What it Takes to Do Fostering or Adoption?


The beauty is that JESUS IS THE HERO OF EVERY CHILD'S STORY, so you don't have to be! Thankfully, being a foster or adoptive parent is not about being the hero. It's merely about walking in obedience to what you have felt called to do. No family has everything they need before entering fostering or adoption; this is why our mission is to educate, train, and aid families like yours. We are here to teach you how, but only you can determine your why! Fostering or adoption is NOT about getting a child; it's about giving your family to one! This approach is crucial! The first step to building positive outcomes for both the child and your family is that a child-centered approach must necessitate your why. From our experience, we have found that families who have contemplated and processed the following three items tend to be most successful in building positive outcomes. These items are not requirements, but suggestions on things that need considerable thought. We encourage you to discuss, pray, and weigh these items carefully. If you need someone to talk to, please contact us, and we would be happy to help! 1. Feel Called to Do It - having a personal conviction that you feel called is an essential component that will carry you thru difficult moments. Approaching fostering or adoption from guilt or good intentions to "save the world" often creates a lack of boundaries and chaos. However, coming to the journey from a calling-based perspective tends to make room for peace, even amid an overwhelming idea. We are here to help your family make a peace-filled decision. 2. Your Faith in a Just God, Not a System - As foster/adopt parents, you will encounter the system's injustice and brokenness. Facing these injustices can be extremely difficult when you expect the system to provide justice, but fails to do so. The system is broken, and yes, things need to improve. However, talking about the brokenness of the system can quickly become a waste of energy. We must meet these injustices with a two-fold approach, practical application of strategy, and faith in a God Who is just! We know that this topic is difficult, and the healing process is complicated. We encourage you to first ask a self retrospective question, "Am I full of anger or turmoil about the injustices I have experienced, or have I found an element of peace and trust in God despite it?" Your answer will help you determine if fostering or adopting is right for you in this season. As you come face-to-face with victimized children's gross injustices, it is easy to become bitter and angry. Knowing how to navigate, process, and dialogue with the Lord and others through these emotions is central to being a peace-driven foster parent. We will help you learn how to, but only you can determine if you feel ready to take that journey on. 3. Be Teachable and Willing to Learn - thru our Family First program, we equip families like yours in the care and advocacy of victimized children. As you go thru your journey, you will see things you cannot unsee. You will know things that you can't unlearn. You will have opportunities to show compassion in ways that you never thought possible. And you will parent entirely different than ever before. There is nothing like fostering and adoption; it will change you; it is a beautiful journey that will transform your life and your family. But it requires you to be teachable, humble, and compassionate. The hardest of all, it will need you to set aside your own opinions to benefit another. We understand that all of these topics are somewhat complex. Don't worry; we are here to help you through them. We will address all of them and more in our in-depth introductory training, " Becoming a Steadfast Child-Centered Advocate." This training and many other services and resources are available to you through our Family First program.