‘I’m Doing Something Good’: Foster Crew and One More Child Support Foster Parents Providing Stable Homes to Kids in Need
“We all can’t do everything, but we can all do something!” Sundy Goodnight is a foster and adoptive mom. Sundy recently spoke with The Stream about foster parenting and the support needed for those families. Sundy has partnered with One More Child, a nonprofit organization dedicated to changing “the lives of children and families through Christ-centered services.” One More Child also supports foster families through its Foster Crew program.
A Foster Crew is “a ministry of the local church partnering with One More Child to mobilize church members to walk alongside families on their adventures.” Churches form crews of volunteers to provide services such as meals, household services, babysitting, prayer, encouragement and more. One More Child staff connects volunteers and families, as well as offers training, resources and program infrastructure. A Foster Crew is headed up by a team leader and consists of multiple teams led by family advocates and other roles.
Here’s Sundy’s story.
How did you become involved with foster care and why?
I come from a big blended family. I always loved children. I cannot remember a time in my life not thinking I would adopt or foster children. My parents have been a beautiful example of loving children from hard places. Ten years ago they adopted my now sisters. My eyes were opened then to the children in the world who need a loving home. Almost six years ago, I came to work for One More Child.
I had been involved in humanitarian work for 12-plus years prior to my work here, but my heart for children grew. I met incredible foster parents, and I spent a lot of time speaking and advocating for children. One morning I realized being single wasn’t a reason NOT to foster. I threw off all the excuses of why now wasn’t a good time, and I started classes to become a licensed foster parent. Within three months, I had children in my home.
Can you give me an idea of what it’s like to foster parent?
It’s exhilarating and also a wild adventure. One day my house was quiet and there were no children. Then the next night, with a simple YES, I had two little ones tucked in my extra bedroom — children totally dependent on me. It’s full of reward, but also full of challenges. It’s a feeling of, “I’m doing something good.”
What has been the best part of foster parenting?
I know every child who comes into my home is going to be safe, have their basic needs met, and be loved (a lot!). Watching children thrive in my home has been incredibly rewarding.
I also love the feeling of “being mom.” I know to most of the children who’ve come through my doors I’m not going to be their forever mom. For a season, though, whether a few days or a few months, I can show them a mother’s love. Somehow, in the midst of their trauma and chaos, I can give them the sense of family and stability they need.
What has been the greatest challenge of foster parenting?
I face many of the same challenges other full-time, working, single moms face. There is always the juggle of finding childcare. There’s the deep struggle of wanting to be the “hands-on, all-the-time mom,” yet, still having to work to pay the bills.As a foster mom, I do feel out of control. I want to be able to write the endings of each of the children’s stories. But that just cannot be the case. Judges, caseworkers, guardian advocates, biological parents, therapists, and others all are a part of each child’s journey. It takes a positive mental attitude and a one-day-at-a-time love and care mentality to be a successful foster parent.
Can you talk about adopting your child and why you chose to do that?
My little one came to me as an infant. As the bond between us formed, I knew if she needed me long term then I would provide forever for her. All of my life, statistics haunted me. There’s the fact that there more than 140 million children orphaned in the world. Over 400,000 children are in foster care. I knew I wanted to be an answer for children. So when Emmerson entered my life, that answer was an easy YES!
How great of a need is there for foster parents?
There is a huge need for foster parents in our nation. There is a large and growing need for families who can take larger sibling groups and teens. There are approximately 437,000 children in foster care, and 125,000 children waiting to be adopted. These stats come from the 2019 Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS) report conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and partners.
Talk about the importance of support for foster parents.
Supporting foster parents is a key, if not the key, to successful foster parenting. The first several weeks after adding a new child or children into your home, there are appointments, adjustments, and financial burdens. Many children come into homes across America with a small bag of items, and others come with nothing at all. The foster parents are adjusting to a new “normal,” and they are rearranging their schedule and lifestyle to make room for the new children. Not only is the child’s life turned upside down, but the foster family is learning to adjust, too.
Yes, we signed up for it, so we agree to the chaos wholeheartedly. Individuals and churches who are able to provide meals, donate clothing, help with errands, and even babysit, not only are an encouragement to the foster parents, but the children also are able to see “love in action.” They feel love by a full community of people. It’s a win-win-win for everyone. Those serving are blessed. The children are blessed. The foster parents are blessed.
Less than 24 hours after receiving a child in my care, a good Samaritan, who also was a former teen in the foster care system, went above and beyond to meet the need of that child.
I’ve had a neighbor bring me bottles and lactose-free milk for a child coming to my home late in the evening. I’ve had families pray for me and bring me clothing for the children in my care. One generous woman even gave me a diaper service that delivered diapers to my doorstep each month.
I will never forget one Mother’s Day going to a small church in a fishing town in Florida to speak about our ministry. I was completely surprised when the women’s ministry threw me a surprise baby shower for my newest foster baby. That baby later became my forever daughter and that kindness will stay with me my entire life. I will tell my now daughter this story for years to come.
How can people help?
One More Child ministry understands the vital role of individuals and the local church to provide support to foster children and their families. Foster Crew is a ministry of One More Child that equips churches to provide support to local foster children and their families. Nationwide we are looking for prospective team leaders and churches who are interested in starting a Foster Crew in their community.
For those who want to meet a tangible, immediate need today — give diapers to a foster parent like me. You can provide diapers for foster children by simply drop-shipping diapers to One More Child through Amazon.