Alongside Our Foster Families: A WRAP Story
Our small group had been talking about wanting to serve together in some way for a while. We just hadn’t figured out how that would work until one of our small group leaders brought us the idea of serving as a WRAP team for a foster family. WRAP is a ministry developed by Brook Hills members that gives us practical ways we can help support our foster families. It consists of four primary ways the Church can come alongside foster children and foster families:
Wrestle in Prayer:
Intentionally and continually pray for the foster family.
Care for either the foster children or other children in the family in order for the foster parents to have a few free hours or to give one-on-one attention to a specific child’s need.
Acts of Service
Provide meals, run errands, tutor, transport kids to home visits, counseling appointments, and sharing of time and talents.
Promises of God
Sharing Scriptural encouragement with the foster family through notes, emails, phone calls, etc.
So, we reached out and the WRAP coordinators connected us to a foster family.
We weren’t sure how to organize ourselves at first but decided to start out by designating “team leaders” for each letter/aspect of WRAP. My husband and I were leaders for the W (Wrapping in Prayer) section. I contacted the foster mom to introduce ourselves and to get the WRAP questionnaire they had filled out so we could see what some of their initial needs were.
When I first looked at the family questionnaire they filled out, I was blown away by the simplicity of their needs. It included things like being able to go to the dentist or hairdresser, a date night, and prayer for their lost siblings. They’re not asking for extraordinary things. These foster families are serving and taking care of their children. So sometimes the parents don’t have the time to do the simple things that some of us take for granted.
Next, we set up a time that our whole small group could go to their house to meet the family, hear their story, and pray with them.
I contacted the foster mom weekly to check on prayer needs and set up a calendar for a different couple in our group to be their prayer partners for a week at a time. We did that for a couple of months, but eventually we decided there were too many different people contacting the foster family. We truly wanted to build a strong, trusting relationship with them. That led to a shift in our approach. Since I had been the first to contact the foster mom about prayer requests, I assumed the role as the communicator for the group. Instead of having a designated team leader for each letter of WRAP, we found this to be better for all of us.
There is no perfect plan for going about the WRAP process or one way to do any part of it. I think you just have to learn what works best for your group and the family you are serving. As an individual, you could volunteer to help with one of the four aspects of WRAP. In our case, our one group serves all those aspects.
Some examples of ways we have been able to serve include prayer, meals (randomly, during times of sickness, death in family, new foster children, etc.). We also send notes of encouragement (text, mailed, hand-delivered, etc.), and help with babysitting (ourselves or paying a babysitter). For the kids specifically, we’ve given Christmas presents, goodie bags for when the family goes out of town, and activity baskets for court days.
One thing that has stood out to our group over the past year of serving this amazing family has been how much they are an encouragement to us. Our goal is to be an encouragement to them in what they are doing to serve the Lord, but through that, God has used them to touch our lives too. Their strength and trust in the Lord in all circumstances and the responses they have had in times of trial are just amazing.
Many couples in our small group want to foster or adopt someday. So it’s been eye-opening and encouraging to see what God has done and can do through foster parents. It is awesome to have an ongoing connection to one family and see all that God is doing month after month, and we have been humbled, honored, and blessed to be a part of what God is doing.
Something else the foster mom mentioned in their WRAP questionnaire stuck out to us: “Sometimes it feels like we’re on an island doing this foster thing alone.” I think that encompasses what the WRAP ministry is all about: supporting the foster/adopting families in our churches so that they don’t feel like they’re doing this alone. While parents are being the hands and feet of Jesus to so many children who need love and hope, we can come along beside them and be the hands and feet of Jesus to their family.
Kara Walters and her husband, Justin, moved to Birmingham a little over two years ago and started coming to Brook Hills shortly after. In addition to serving as her small group’s WRAP coordinator, she also volunteers with the Student Ministry teaching 11th grade girls. Kara is a graduate of the University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy. She loves doing crafts, spending time with her friends and family, and cheering on the Ole Miss Rebels!