Christmas and New Years is a great time to give back to the community, and the adoption and foster community is one area that really could use your help. As you determine where you want to donate this year, here are some ways you can help to support adoptive and foster families in your neighborhood.
- Offer babysitting services. This is a busy time of year, and nothing would be better for foster/adoptive parents than to have the opportunity to get out without the kids tagging along. But babysitters can get expensive, so what better way to alleviate some of their burden and allow them to use their money to benefit their kids instead!
- Elf a family. This is an idea that has been circulating around for several years now. The concept is pretty simply. Fill up a basket of treats, leave a sweet note, drop off on the front porch, ring the doorbell, and run away! Especially in this season of COVID, this could be a real uplifter to a foster/adoptive family. Even after Christmas, this is a great way to surprise a foster/adoptive family!
- Donate to a local children’s home or foster parent association. At this time of year, these places desperately need supporters to donate money, toys, clothes, bikes, and even food items. Get your whole family involved and take them to the closest drop-off location. As the new year approaches, clean out those closets and give the best that you have to those in need.
- Adopt a child’s wishlist for the holidays. Many areas already have lists out for children in need. Pick a name or two and fill out their wish list. Be sure to pick a list that you can actually fulfill. The purpose is to try to get as many items on the list as you can. If you missed the opportunity to do this before Christmas, check back in with one of your local relief organizations. There may have been children who were missed this year.
- Volunteer. Looking for some ways to get your family to serve others this year? Take them down to a toy drive to help sort and wrap gifts or let them help hand out food items to families in need. This is a great way to get involved all year long!
- Decorate (or undecorate) their home. Some families may not have the finances this year or just the time to decorate the outside of their home like they would like. Gather a group together and light up their home. If you can, do this while they’re gone, so they can come home to a great surprise. Another twist to this is helping them undecorate after the holidays. Many families are exhausted and hate the idea of having to take down everything they just put up. Give them an hour or two of your time and help them check this off their to-do list.
- Share a meal together. If you can, invite a family over for a meal. Foster/adoptive families often get overlooked during the holiday season because they come with a few extra people, but what an encouragement to them when they do get invited! If COVID numbers are rising in your area, maybe you can eat outside (if you live in a milder climate) or just do a Zoom meetup. Get creative with this!
- Make them a meal or have one delivered. This is so appreciated during this busy holiday season. As they are trying to connect as a family and navigate a new life together, having this one thing taken off their plate can be a great blessing!
- Take care of an expectant mother. We want to focus on all parties of the adoption triad, so we definitely don’t want to leave out the important person who is making a very hard decision. Expectant mothers often place for adoption because they don’t have resources available to them. Consider taking in an expectant mother by inviting her for Christmas dinner, buying her Christmas presents, or delivering a basket of goodies to her. Or volunteer at a local women’s shelter. These women need love and respect during the holidays as well.
- Donate financially. There are many non-profit organizations and agencies who depend on donations to help keep their services running. Places like Lifeline Children’s Services (https://lifelinechild.org/) or Pathways for Little Feet (https://pathwaysforlittlefeet.org/) are non-profit and help families with the adoption process. Or find a local family who is adopting and donate to their adoption fund.
Get creative this holiday season! A pandemic hasn’t stopped our families from growing, and the foster/adoptive community could use all the love and support they can get!