HARTFORD, Conn. — Have you ever had a heart for fostering but know you can't foster a child in your home?
There's still so much you can do to help the children that need it.
May is National Foster Care Month, and two mothers who are the founders, and co-presidents of the non-profit Fostering Family Hope highlight the ways in which people can still help.
Fostering Family Hope is a non-profit established this year. They said they are driven by a strong foundation of support, community involvement, and physical along with financial donations to meet the needs of the foster community.
"I have four children of my own and wanted to be able to show them you can give back every day and not just the holidays," said Megan Pearson, co-founder of Fostering Family Hope. "And really be able to make a difference in the biggest ways or the smallest ways.
"Faith played a big role for us," explained Erin Johnson, co-founder of Fostering Family Hope. "But also support and encourage the parents who are separated from their kids in foster care and build families up together."
The journey has been one that spanned several years for Pearson and Johnson.
"So we started about five years ago," said Johnson, "We were in the same training class, and between us, we've had about 40-50 kids come through our home."
When they both began as foster parents, they had certain expectations as to what it would be like. They explained the highs and lows that can come with fostering.
"In foster care, the highs are really great, and the lows are pretty terrible," explained Pearson. "We had a little guy for a year and I picked him up from the hospital. We loved him for a year and he got matched with an adoptive family. The adoptive mom and I got to be really close and now we're a part of their family. We see them often and that's really the crown jewel of foster care – being in these kids' lives forever."
"Sometimes we get that good relationship with families both biological and adoptive," said Johnson. "We just remind our kids and our families that the reward is seeing families come together whether it's reunification or adoption.
HOW CAN YOU HELP:
• Become a CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate)
• Babysit for Foster families so they can attend court, meetings, or have a night out
• Provide meals for a foster family you know or send gift cards
• Offer your professional services - accounting help, haircuts, family pictures, open your business off-hours to a support group
• Connect with Unashamed Inc. to help provide educational financial support or contact a DCF office to learn how to mentor a teen
HOW YOU CAN HELP FOSTERING FAMILY HOPE:
• Donate gift cards to FootLocker, Ultra Beauty, teen clothing stores
• Monetary donations
• Host a donation drive at your school, workplace, or church
• Toiletries (shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, lotion)
• Diapers & wipes
• Backpacks and duffel bags
• NEW pajamas, socks & underwear
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