James 1:27 (ESV) tells us that, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” Isaiah 1:17 (ESV) tells us to “bring justice to the fatherless.” Many families at Eastridge have been touched by these and other Scriptures and have become involved in foster care and adoption. This ministry is designed to organize and coordinate with those families, and to reach out to new families who would like to make a difference in the lives of children.
The first Sunday in November is nationally recognized as “Orphan Sunday.” It is a time for churches all over America to focus on orphans across the globe. At Eastridge, the Sunday morning service will be dedicated to raising awareness in the congregation for the need to be involved in these children’s lives. Several different adoption and foster care agencies will be available before and after services to answer questions and help you with the next step. November is also “National Adoption Month” with the Saturday before Thanksgiving being “National Adoption Day.”
Foster and Adoption Workshop
Began in 2013, this annual workshop is a way for people who may be interested in foster care or adoption, or in supporting the ministry at Eastridge, to come and get more information. Local area experts, as well as Eastridge members who have “been through it,” come and share their experiences and wisdom. Break-out sessions are held for attendees to get more detailed information and ask questions about the areas they are interested in.
The fifth Sundays at Eastridge are set aside for giving to specific causes or needs. One of these fifth Sundays has been designated to support the Foster Care/Adoption Ministry at Eastridge as well as some of the agencies and organizations listed below.
Families who decide to become foster parents will be supported through this ministry. Support groups will help these families share experiences and knowledge. The Foster Boutique will be available to them for their needs. Foster parents are required to have training every year, and many of these training events will be hosted and sponsored by Eastridge.
Families who adopt are to be celebrated. Adoption celebrations, similar to baby showers, will be held for these children and their new forever families – no matter the age of the child! Adoptions can be costly, so a portion of the cost incurred by Eastridge members will be covered by donations given during the fifth Sunday contribution and through donations given throughout the year.
Foster parents sometimes need a break, but foster kids have special restrictions on who can babysit them. Respite care providers must have background checks and CPR training in order to be certified to care for foster children for limited time periods.
Court Appointed Special Advocates are volunteers who ensure that the child’s rights and needs are being attended to while in foster care. As a child moves from foster home to foster home, the CASA volunteer stays with that child, and will often be like a member of his or her family.
Many times, foster children come at a moment’s notice. The Foster Boutique will be a room at Eastridge stocked with everything from diapers, formula, and bottles, to clothes, toys, and bedding, all the way up to cribs, car seats, and strollers. Foster parents can come and take what they need and return them when finished for the next family. Welcome baskets for the older foster kids will also be available, including toiletries, a Bible, and any other short-term needs they may have.
There are several agencies involved in foster care and adoption that we support financially at Eastridge, or that our members are involved in. Please click the links for more information.
· ChristianWorks for Children
· ChristianWorks for Children/AdoptionWorks
· Arms of Hope
· Jeremiah’s Hope
· Orphans Lifeline International
· Youth Reach International
· Christian Homes & Family Services
How can I be involved?
Prayerfully consider whether foster or adoption is right for you and your family. It is a life changing decision and must not be taken lightly. Be sensitive and supportive to those families who do decide to foster or adopt. These children they’ve taken into their homes are not their “other children,” they are truly loved and are a part of their family, as much as their biological children are. If foster care or adoption is not right for you, perhaps you can be certified as a respite care provider or as a CASA volunteer. If you have items or money that can be donated to stock the foster boutique and keep it stocked – you are needed! The boutique will need to be organized and inventoried, and welcome baskets will need to be assembled. If you have special training in child care or a medical field, you may be needed to teach during one of our training opportunities. As a parent, your experiences will be useful for our support groups. Please help us with our Adoption Celebrations by hosting or attending the event. Above all, add the orphans, their birth families, their foster families, and their adoptive families to your prayers.
Fill out the form HERE for more information.