'I DIDN'T ASK FOR THIS'
"I didn't ask for this," she told me with a wild look in her eye. "But the Lord is telling me to do it."
I have a friend. Her name is Amanda. She is a fellow foster mama with an enormous heart for abused and neglected children.
And God is doing something big in her life right now.
Amanda sat me down for coffee in February to tell me about the calling God has placed on her life to open her own foster care agency and family resource center in Weatherford, Oklahoma.
She told me she had gone to another agency awhile back to ask about volunteer opportunities, which is where God opened the door for her to establish her own agency. She said He had been telling her bits and pieces of His plan for her for years, but she had been resisting it.
In early March, she lost her job as a contract geologist with an oilfield company due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She has since been able to focus her efforts entirely on sprinting toward this calling God has given her.
And now, she is currently in the process of launching her foster care agency -- Love and People Succeed (PALS) Family Fostering Services.
Amanda has been engrossed in the foster care world for several years now, and as a foster mom herself, she knows exactly what kind of support is needed from a foster care agency. I know his background will serve her very well as the head of her agency.
Another thing I love about her, though, is she doesn't want to stop at supporting the foster parents and the kids in their care. She wants to empower birth parents to rise up and do the hard things to get their kids back.
If you follow me on social media, you've seen me talk a lot in recent weeks about the expected rise in child abuse and neglect cases across the nation due to the pandemic. People are more stressed than ever.
Parents have lost their jobs, loved ones are dying, kids are home all day long, and people have lost their sense of security. These times are hard on everyone, but especially the families who were at-risk to begin with -- the parents who were abused themselves, are struggling with a drug addiction, are poverty stricken, or have little to no support in raising their children on a day to day basis.
Can you even imagine what it's like to be them right now??
This is a recipe for disaster. It's not a matter of if the reports of child abuse and neglect will start flooding in, it's when.
My friend, Amanda, wants her agency to be ready with a fleet of foster parents ready to serve these families when the waves come crashing down. She is stepping up to the front lines, and asking you to come alongside her.
Amanda is currently in the process of recruiting foster parents for her agency. She has a goal to have at least 25 foster parents certified within a 45 mile radius of Weatherford within the next 3 months.
Something you should know about foster parent certification is, just because you get certified does not mean you have to open your home full time or say yes to every call you get.
You get to choose.
You can choose to offer temporary respite care for kids in care. You can open your home for long-term placements. You can choose how many children you take in. You can choose what age, gender, and behaviors you feel like you can handle.
It's all up to you, as it should be.
You know better than anyone what you can handle. If you have a heart for kids in foster care, but don't feel like you can totally commit to long-term care, offer respite care.
I can tell you with the utmost certainty, PALS will be an incredibly supportive foster care agency. How can I be so sure? Because I know Amanda, and I know her heart.
I am so proud of my sweet friend for stepping out in faith and pursuing something so big.
If you want more information on becoming a foster parent or would like to donate in a multitude of ways to PALS, please get in touch with Amanda. You will surely be blessed.
Amanda can be reached at PALS@PALS.family or (580) 262-6216. Email, call, or text.
And lastly, at the very least, I'm calling on YOU to hit your knees in prayer for these at-risk families and the children who are being abused and neglected as you're reading this. Pray for safety, restoration, and healing. Pray for peace and provision. Pray for His love to conquer all.