“My mom and dad had a heart for foster care before I was born. We had over sixty kids come through our home. During that time, my mom started a nonprofit called Project Zero with the goal of having so many families willing to foster that there are no kids waiting to be adopted.
My wife and I always said we were going to foster and adopt one day. In the midst of infertility, we felt the Lord pressing us to take next steps. Just recently, we opened for foster care.
Instead of going through the state, we did our training through an organization called Connected. For us, it was a six-month journey to actually become open for foster care.
Connected still has to meet certain state requirements, like teach a certain number of hours and cover a certain amount of training material. A lot of the training is good information, but it’s about the kind of things that you won’t really understand until you experience them. You’re learning such a broad scope over the training process that you really won’t understand fully until you get into it.
From what I’ve seen, the main issue with the foster care and adoption system in Arkansas is awareness. When you see huge numbers, it feels like a daunting task to help all of those kids who need a home. But there are a lot of ways to care for orphans in Arkansas, including fostering, respite care, adoption, and serving at foster support events. Instead of only seeing a broad problem, we should ask, “What can I do to care for the orphans in Arkansas?”
A second issue with the system is the lack of information around what the process is like. Until we got into the adoption process ourselves, I didn’t realize how little public knowledge there was around it. There were things I already knew, because I grew up around it, but not everyone has that advantage. We need to lay out a clear runway of how families can become open for foster care and give them resources to help answer their questions.
Adoption and foster care is tough, and we should never push someone into it. But we need to spread awareness of the need for foster care and adoption as well as equip families with the information they need to take next steps. When the Lord speaks to families and prompts them to take next steps toward adoption and foster care, better awareness and more information can make the process go more smoothly.”
Arkansan, youth pastor, and new foster dad