Wrapping Our Arms Around Foster Families

Approximately 1,000 children in Shelby County are waiting for a foster family, and the Lord calls us to care for these children (James 1:27). Families at Bellevue are obeying that call as they receive kids with love and acceptance. But while they love on these kids, it can seem like they’re doing it all by themselves. Foster parents also need to feel loved, supported, seen, and “wrapped around.”

What does it mean to wrap around a foster family? It’s rallying around a family as they walk through the ups and downs of foster care. At Bellevue, this is done through a Serve Out Pathway called WRAP Ministry: a team of 10–12 members serving a foster family through Words of affirmation, Respite care, Acts of service, and Prayer.

Team members WRAP around foster families in a variety of ways, called lanes. There are two or three team members in a lane, depending on their passions and skills. Some people send encouraging texts (Words of affirmation). Some people watch the kids so parents can have a date night (Respite care). Some people provide a meal for the family or mow the lawn (Acts of service), and others present requests before the Lord (Prayer).

When Jamie Reed and her husband were fostering, those four things meant the world. In 2016, they began fostering two boys who later became their adopted sons. A lot of those years were spent in “survival mode,” Jamie described.

The reality is that foster parents have a completely different experience than the average parent. They care for kids who are going through hard things, and it can be very isolating.

“The statistics of families that burn out while fostering are really alarming. A lot of families close their homes within a year,” Jamie explained.

Jamie went on to clarify the reason for this, and it’s not always because of relational issues with the kids or foster parents no longer wanting kids in their home.

“It’s because it’s really hard to do it alone,” she said.

Jamie found out about Bellevue’s WRAP Ministry after she had adopted her two boys, and she very quickly knew she wanted to be involved because she knew the impact the ministry could have. She began serving administratively and connecting Bellevue’s Life Groups to the ministry.

“I realized if WRAP Ministry had been around when we were fostering or in more crisis moments with our kids, what a difference it would have made,” Jamie said.

Community and support are lifelines for foster families. Giving them a space to ask for help is invaluable. People are meant to live in community, so fostering isn’t something that should be done alone.

“I mean, that’s how God designed us to live,” Jamie said. “You experience so much more peace and joy when there are people that are coming alongside you.”

It’s not only up to foster families to answer the Lord’s command to “look after orphans in their distress” (James 1:27). It’s a team effort.

Not every family may feel that call to have children in their home, but every family is called to do something,” Jamie said. “And this ministry allows everyone to get in on what God is doing in the redemption story of these kids.”

As we approach Missions Week 2024, we will share many ways you can serve locally. WRAP Ministry is just one of Bellevue’s Serve Out Pathways and a key way we show compassion to the people in our city. Click here to visit our Serve Out Pathways page and learn more about ministering to foster families.