This month we are highlighting agency support and our blog story comes from Ricardo Garza who is an advocate for The Forgotten Initiative and serves as the Agency Support Leader for the Regional Alliance with his wife, Tiffany. One of the many ways that we can come alongside foster care agencies is by creating Journey Bags which are filled with practical items for kids just entering the system and being placed with a new foster family.
Here is a story of the impact these bags have on kids, families, and the social workers who get to deliver them.
“Our church recently built 21 Journey Bags for babies 0-12 months old and they were done so well. We challenged the small groups of our church to take ownership of providing the items for just one journey bag which would be given to the agency in need. I’m thankful to say that once they caught the vision of agency support, each group went above and beyond by placing sweet notes, super soft blankets, and toys inside each bag. Within a few days of delivering these bags to Koinonia Family Services there was a certified foster family who took in newborn triplets. Because this family was already in the process of adopting a one year old, they had the heart to take in these triplets, just not the resources. Thankfully, because our church took the initiative to find and fill a local agency need, this family was able to immediately receive a (Journey) diaper bag for each child. Each of the three bags were filled with all the essentials: wipes, diapers, onesies, toys, a blanket, a Jesus Story Book Bible, and even a photo album to take with them as they grow up. The foster parents were overjoyed to say the least!
When social workers call a foster family to let them know that a child is in need of a home there may only be a few hours of notice before that child arrives. Since that does not leave much time for the foster parents to run out to the store for the correct size diapers, clothes, and supplies these Journey Bags are and excellent way for the agency to provide some of the child’s immediate needs. Now social workers can arrive at a placement visit with information, assistance, and GIFTS! This is a great way for families to feel supported while also bridging the gap for a child who is adjusting to their new environment and could really use the comfort of a new blankie or teddy bear.”
While there are many ways that we can wrap around local case workers and foster care agencies, this story reminds us that our little steps to take the initiative and serve have a ripple effect of encouragement. What Ricardo’s church did to support this Foster Agency has now blessing numerous foster families and foster children including those newborn triplets! What an encouraging story for all of us to hear as we consider how God is calling us to take the initiative and wrap around those we know who serve children in need!