Four years ago, my husband and I attended a local meeting for doctors of our faith. Two women were presenting about a national program that was relatively new to our community: Safe Families for Children.
The cause immediately resonated with me as a much-needed alternative to foster care. Basically it consists of families helping other families who are in crisis. No money is involved. It's voluntary on both sides and as personal or anonymous as is desired by both parties (though volunteers are vetted thoroughly first).
What kinds of crisis? I've seen people ask for and receive help while experiencing: temporary homelessness, marriage and addiction counseling, acute depression after death of a partner, job loss, respite for care of a terminally ill child, and more. We all need help; for people without extended family, Safe Families can fill that role to help the children have peace in a chaotic time and help the family recover.
Although we were able to help a little financially, during the presentation I felt a strong pull to do more.
The program was looking for host families. At the time we were hoping to get pregnant with #4 and my husband and I shared a Subaru Outback with three car seats squeezed across the back. How would we help even one additional child?! We were already maxed out.
It seemed like a crazy thing to do on one hand, and on the other hand it felt like a perfect fit. I love supporting families and I have a soft spot for single mothers and kids in a rough spot, probably because my dad spent some time on the streets as a child. Yet, because my hands were full at home I wasn't exactly able to get out in the community and help in more typical ways (soup kitchens, after school programs, etc.) What kept running through my head is that what these kids in crisis needed most was a home. That was something I could absolutely give. It's what I spent most of my time on, creating a loving home for my own kids.
My husband is a gem and he's my biggest fan. He saw the fire in my eyes for this cause and said he'd support me in it and he has 100%, even though it's been a wild ride.