This Thanksgiving, like many of you, I’ll sit around a large, beautifully decorated family table. We’ll walk into my cousin’s home, and be greeted by uncles, aunts, grandparents, cousins, neighbors, friends. We’ll get hugs, our coats will get hung up, our pie added to the dessert table and my kids will quickly make themselves at home playing tag and snatching grapes off the fruit tray.
I’ll breathe a sigh of relief. We made it through the tears, the road construction, the wrangling of kids into sweaters and dresses, the pie that fell in the driveway and the last-minute grocery store stop to replace it.
We made it home.
We made it to our family.
We are finally in a place where we belong.
Perhaps your day looks like mine. Perhaps it looks entirely different.
Regardless of who you are with or how you celebrate, would you consider pausing for a minute and asking this question -
“Is there a place at our table for one more?”
That sigh of relief many of us are able to exhale as we settle in to time with our family is a feeling many children in foster care may never have.
Many times we focus on the ‘big picture’ vulnerability of a child who is waiting for an adoptive home. Statistics about incarceration, homelessness, trafficking, poverty and the like. These statistics are clear - children need to belong to be safe.
However, have you ever thought how downright hard it would be to be in need of a family? Forget the statistics for a minute and remember that these are children. Children who desire nothing more than to have a family to belong to.
When we interview children from around the state who are in need of an adoptive home, we ask them, “What could a family do to make you feel like you belong?” We think they’d want really hard stuff, but their answers are simple. Play with me, make meals together, play a game, tuck me in, stick with me, even when it’s hard.
“Is there a place at our table for one more?” So what’s the point of asking this question? Is this our attempt at guilting you into foster care or adoption. Far from it. The last thing we want to do is guilt anyone into fostering or adopting. Trust us, this is not our recruitment strategy!
Rather, by asking this question we hope you open up a conversation. While you are sitting around your Thanksgiving table, will you take time to ask some of these questions?
“What would it look like to adopt a child?”
“Why haven’t we considered fostering?”
“Do we have the support we’d need to do something as hard as fostering or adopting?”
“What would the impact be on our biological children?”
“Are we the kind of people that could make this work?”
“How could our family support others who are fostering or adopting?”
“What can we do to impact the life of a child in our community?”
We know not everyone is called to foster or adopt. However, are more of us called to care for children in this way? Are we missing our opportunity simply because we’ve never stopped to consider what it would look like?
Let’s commit to a pause, a conversation, a moment to reflect on whether or not this may be the next right move for our family.
And maybe it’s not the right move. But maybe it is. Perhaps you’ve just never given yourself permission to ask the question or start the conversation.
Today is your day. Let this Thanksgiving be your moment.
Is there room at your table for one more? - asking the question is the only way to find out.
If your answer is “yes” check out tnfosters.gov to discover your next step.