Not everyone can foster. Some people are currently in situations where it’s not ideal- you may already have a house full of children, both partners may work a full-time job, or you may be unsure of where you’ll be in the near future. There are plenty of reasons why now just might not be the right time to foster for you. And that’s okay.

However, if you’re one those people, but you feel passionate and sense your heart pulling you to be part of the solution, there are still ways you can help out now- without being a foster parent. 

The biggest thing you can do is educate. Educating those around you on the problem is essential in order to make a big change in the world. When you’re already so involved, it’s easy to forget that you, too were once unaware. You may find yourself feeling anger towards others for being ignorant about the issue- but it’s not their fault. Do your best to teach those around you about the dire need for help in the foster community, like the fact that there are over 415,000 children in the foster care system nationwide, and that less than half get placed with a family before they age out. Strike up conversations with family members or close friends, or even share on your social media. Just remember to use kind, encouraging words- we are all trying to support one another.

Secondly, show your support and actively help out foster families in your area. Foster families come in many different shapes and sizes, and some may need more help than others. More than anything, most foster parents need a friendly face to talk to and lean on for support emotionally. But there are plenty of ways you can be actively helping out. Bringing over a meal is a great way to offer support. While one meal is nice, a regular rotation of meals is even better. Work on creating a community of people willing to be of service, and create a meal-schedule for multiple families in your area, so they receive an easy meal once or twice a week. FoodTidings makes this super easy! 

Become certified to babysit foster children. Whether the parents need a date night out or an afternoon to get some house chores done, this is a great way to show that you want to be a primary provider for a foster family. With extra children, all that transportation can become time-consuming. Offer to help in transferring kids to and from school, extracurriculars, or any foster-related appointments. Be sure and check out the specific laws and required related to babysitting for foster children in your state, usually including a training seminar and certification program! 

Of course, talk to the foster parents in the area and ask them how you could best be of help to their families. Ensure them that you are there to offer support and love to both them and their foster children in the best way that you can. No matter what, be sure and be a listening ear for anything they may be struggling with. Most importantly, pray for God to work in the situation. Pray for the foster child, the biological families, the foster families, and the biological children. Pray for peace for all of them no matter what the present moment holds. 

Remember, you don’t have to do everything all at once. Start by taking a few small steps and see where God leads you.