“That’s a flower!… there’s the duck!…what’s that?…here’s one!…fishes!”
My niece is getting ready for a birthday party for her 3 year old little boy, Caleb. I’m going for a walk with Caleb, down by the brook so he can show me the duckies. He is pointing out everything he sees. He is full of questions and wonder. He laughs and we laugh unreservedly!
It seems like such a simple thing. To spend time with a little one so mom can get things done for this happy event! But there are families next door to you, down the street, around the block, and across town who don’t have a great-auntie to come alongside, to babysit, and to lighten the load. There are parents who can’t get to the doctor’s appointment because the lack ‘of people’ let alone prepare a celebration for their baby! What they would give to be able to celebrate!
You can make a difference as a Family Friend! In some ways it is simple – but not always easy. As Kathy Hegarty, a Family Coach Supervisor once said, “There are several Family Friends who are learning how to walk beside moms in various communities. Walking beside is more challenging than leading, fixing or doing for…pray for continued wisdom and grace as many are venturing into this way of life.” This way of life. What is that way? Extending ourselves to our neighbors, near or far. Sharing acts of kindness in order to show others they are worth it. They are loved. They are valued. There is hope! The way that you have people in your life.
This way of life is the Safe Families Way! We’re not talking about adopting kids. We aren’t talking about fostering kiddos from the foster care system. We are talking about coming alongside parents so that they have the opportunity to “be” the parents they long to be! Just like you and I. Just like my niece. Loving on kiddos who have a parent or parents! Loving on parents who want to have a chance to breath, to widen their social network of support – to get to the job interview, to go to the grocery store, to take care of their own medical needs – and to celebrate their kiddos like you and I! Check out https://safe-families.org/involvement/family-friend to see how to get started in becoming a Family Friend for families who, like you, need people! You can make a difference!
Written by Dr. Robin Chamberlain
Robin has been with Safe Families since its inception in 2003. She expanded the movement to Maine in 2010 and currently serves as the Director of Safe Families for Children – Maine. This is in addition to assisting local chapters across the country. She comes to Safe Families with over 30 years of professional experience in the field of child welfare and is passionate about seeing the lives of families transformed through this incredible movement of the local church. Robin is also a Host Family herself.
Robin is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor. She holds a Doctorate of Ministry in Formational Counseling, Ashland Theological Seminary (OH) and a Master’s in Child Welfare, St. Joseph College (CT).