By J. Lundvall, Host Family
We have two young sons of our own, so we were definitely stepping outside of our comfort zone when we said ‘yes’ to taking in two teenage girls. These girls loved their dad and couldn’t wait to be reunited with him. But for the time being, they needed a home, and some trusted adults who could mentor them and support them during this time away from their father.
Loving Someone Else’s Kids
We were surprised how easy it was to love someone else’s kids. We quickly developed a relationship with them, and they with our boys. Even now that they have gone home with their dad they will still stop by our home for a cup of coffee or to talk about boy trouble or school. Even their father has called to ask for some female advice when one of the girls went through a recent break up with her boyfriend. We cherish the relationship we can have with this whole family.
A Network of Support
Not only does our family now have a new relationship, but we were amazed at how many of our friends, family and church members rallied to provide support to a family they didn’t even know. In fact, three different churches from three different towns in Walworth County got involved during this placement to provide support. We had teams of people who volunteered to help move the family’s belongings into storage when the dad went into the hospital and clean out their house for the landlord. We partnered with agencies like Side by Side and the Time is Now who helped tie up loose ends with bills and landlords, and who helped the girls to get a car. Others donated a storage unit and furniture when the family was finally reunited. Other families from the Safe Families community have welcomed this family into their own homes as well. They have multiplied the safety net for this family. Sharing meals and their homes and friendship. The girls were both able to receive counseling and support services due to the generosity of agencies like the United Way and C.A. Counseling.
Serving in Community
Serving in Safe Families is not something we do on our own. It is something we do in community. It is a way to draw those families who may be living on the fringes in poverty or isolation into our own vibrant, healthy communities. It is a way for our local communities to expand our concept of what a neighbor looks like, and to open our hearts and our homes to provide for those around us in need. We encourage everyone we know to get involved on some level, whether that’s temporarily taking a child into your home or providing support to the family in a multitude of other ways. We can all be a part of creating hope and cultivating community.