Resource Thursday: What is The Forgotten Initiative?

I asked my partner-in-crime, Kristin Solomon, to share what The Forgotten Initiative means to her. So grateful for her response....

The Forgotten Initiative exists to bring joy and purpose to the foster care community. We are the foster care branch of Lifesong for Orphans.

That's the official description.

What is TFI to me?  

It is the blessing of being able to fulfill God's calling on my life in a way that's doable (in his strength alone). It's a pathway for God's people to begin to understand what the world of foster care is all about. It's an easy on-ramp for folks feeling the nudge to help local children in crisis but not yet ready or able to commit to foster parenting.

Basically we are "the middle man" in the foster care community, connecting this community and their needs to people in the Church willing to meet these needs.  We've developed relationships with workers at the local agencies, and as we build relationships with them, they have opened up concerning their needs with us. Often these are material needs, but over time, the results extend far beyond that.

Since our beginning in Birmingham in 2011, your partnership has equipped TFI to provide Christmas for more than 200 teens in foster care, prepare backpacks full of school supplies and uniforms for over 400 children, making back-to-school possible, complete Project Sunshine visitation room makeovers on five rooms at three local DHR offices, and deliver hundreds (I've lost count) of Journey Bags for children coming into care often with nothing but the clothes on their backs. Physical needs previously not met are now being provided for.

But beyond the physical needs, we're seeing spirits brighten within this community. Workers whose job it is to help provide for Christmas or back-to-school no longer fret over how they will provide for so many kids. They know they can ask us, and God's people will step in and provide. We've been able to support these workers with celebration and encouragement baskets and breakfasts to remind them they are making a different as community children care advocates. And they welcome our partnership.

Foster parents who previously had to decide whether to go to Walmart first or go pick up waiting kids brought into care, can now focus on those children coming into their home, knowing a Journey Bag filled with basic necessities will help them through those first few hours and days. 

Birth parents and children who were once uncomfortable as they visited in an unfamiliar location are now comforted by bright rooms whispering that someone cared enough to provide a fun, cheerful place for them to work on becoming a family again.

The children continue coming into care. The workers continue to be overloaded. The foster parents continue to become overwhelmed. The birth parents continue to grow discouraged. 

The needs seem endless.

And yet, steps are now being made. Foster parents are finding relief. Workers' burdens are being lifted. Birth parents are encouraged.

Steps...baby steps are being taken. And it's exciting!

But we also dream of giant leaps as well. Life skills being taught to teens who will eventually age out of the system. Respite nights for foster parents to have a date or just an evening alone so that they can look ahead and take a deep breath. Real help for birth families who truly long and fight for reunification. We long to see mentors for teens, families, and children who are earnestly desire to start a fresh story.

And the list goes on.

How can we keep meeting needs? How can we expand to more projects, to meet more needs?  How can we go deeper and see real changes?

Only if you step up. One person at a time. One Sunday School class or small group. One church. One community, moving forward for the benefit of children and families.

Consider becoming a monthly partner with us at The Forgotten Initiative. Find more information here. Always be sure to note Birmingham as your recipient. Or, consider discussing with your church how you can become a church partner for the areas into which God is moving us!

We are so humbled to serve children and families in crisis with you,

Looking unto Jesus,

Kristin Solomon....and

1 comment:

  1. beautifully written my friend! thank you both for serving so faithfully!