More than 7,500 kids are currently in the care of the state of Kentucky. Most of these children have been removed from their homes because of abuse and neglect. A child’s average age when removed from his or her home is 6.
James 1:27 teaches us that caring for children like that is one of the marks of true religion. Yet, right here in the state of Kentucky, among 750,000 Kentucky Baptists and 2,400 Kentucky Baptist Convention churches, as many as 300 children in the foster care system typically have no placement. We believe it’s time to change that—and I’m asking you to help.
The “Be the One” challenge from Sunrise Children’s Services wasn’t just a Sunrise idea; it was my wife, Michelle, who asked me one day, “What can we do to get more people involved in taking care of these hurting children?” Be the One is our answer to that question.
It’s an invitation for every KBC church to find at least one family in the church that will commit to becoming foster parents through Sunrise. Then, as a church, you will “surround the one.” That is to say, you will come around that family and support them.
What does it mean to support a foster family? Church members can be trained to provide respite or relief care to the foster children, help with doctors’ appointments, run errands, or simply provide prayer support.
Every year, half of the total number of trained and certified foster parents quit. The average foster family doesn’t make it two full years.
Most foster kids have been through a lot. They come from broken homes, abusive families, drug-infested neighborhoods, and are being cared for by a government system that is just a little less dysfunctional than the situation from which the government seized them. And yet they are children; little boys and little girls who want to play and watch cartoons and be safe and loved. But all they have seen, heard and endured is still ringing in their ears, haunting their dreams, and affecting their behavior.
Getting involved with a broken family in a broken system to care for a broken child is risky, but no more risky than stopping on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho to bind the wounds of a man who has been stripped, beaten, and robbed. And, according to Jesus, that’s what a Good Samaritan does for his neighbor. Jesus said, “Go and do likewise.”
Jesus also said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” How do we let children come to Jesus? We bring them to Him by bringing them into our families and into our churches so we can bring them to Jesus.
Will you be the one? Call Sunrise today at (800) 456-1386, or visit www.sunrise.org/surroundtheone to learn more.