This Blog post was originally written Thursday, October 11th, 2012
Our beautiful state of Oklahoma is facing an orphan care crisis.
On January 1, 2012, there were 8,308 (eight thousand three hundred and eight) children in state custody (foster homes, group homes and shelters).
The number of children in state custody has grown as the year wears on and in June, the number was in excess of 9,000 children. Recently in our Tulsa shelter, there have been approximately 65 children in the shelter per day. Last week, 18 of those 65 children in the shelter ranged in age from infant to 5 years old. While our shelter is a lovely facility and they provide a safe environment for the children, the shelter is an institution that is meant to be a short term solution at best. Children do not belong in an institution, they belong in a home.
Foster families are needed. But DHS realizes that not all families are equipped to foster. They have developed a program called...
Home for the Holidays
for families who want to help on a temporary basis. In 2012, our family became involved in the Home for the Holidays program. We completed 4 forms and went through a short home visit and we were authorized to bring children home from the shelter for holiday weekends. Our first holiday was Labor Day. Our church actually had 14 families who hosted 17 children from the shelter that weekend and we planned fun events for the families and children to attend throughout the weekend. Our family hosted a precious 8 year old girl. She was sweet, cheerful and helpful. She easily engaged with our family. She had been in the shelter for at least 4 months and we were the first family she stayed with. We requested to host her in our home every weekend until she was placed in a foster home. We were able to host her for two weekends in a row before she received her placement. Two weeks ago, we were contacted because the shelter had more children than they were staffed for. We were able to keep an adorable, cuddly 11 month old little girl. She stayed with us Thursday through Monday and she was showered with lots of love, snuggles and smiles while she was with us. We hope that both of these little girls were blessed by their time with us, but we’ve found that WE were blessed by them more than we could have imagined.
I work with such beautiful families whose hearts are drawn toward adoption. I would bet that many of my waiting parents would love to care for some precious children through this program. If you are interested in participating in the Home for the Holidays program, please let me know. I’ll be happy to answer questions about our experience and to connect you with the liaison who matches children with families for these weekends. I would actually treasure your questions because I would love to create an FAQ page about this program. So I need some FAQs to answer
Blessings to you and your family!