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Celebrating New Advocate Ministries in MO, MD, IL, and GA!

By August 16, 2021August 19th, 2021Blog

Did you know that the main thing we do here at The Forgotten Initiative is equip people just like you to launch and lead thriving local foster care ministries?

Our favorite thing as a team is seeing people take a step to intentionally bring hope and support to their local foster care community.

And we’ve recently seen quite a few new people take that step! We’re so encouraged!

So today I want to introduce you to four people:

  • Marcy Long, TFI Advocate in Greene County, MO (Launched in July 2021)
  • Mary Grant, TFI Advocate in Harford County, MD (Launched in June 2021)
  • Karen Weiss, TFI Advocate in Elgin, IL (Transitioned Into Leadership in March 2021)
  • Alex Martin, TFI Advocate in Thomas County, GA (Launched in January 2021)

Each of these people are incredible leaders with a huge heart for the foster care community, and we are so excited to have them as part of the TFI family. Here’s a little bit more about each of their journeys, and some encouragement they have for you!

Why did you choose to pursue becoming a TFI Advocate?

Marcy: While looking for information about foster care and helping our family in that journey, I found The Forgotten Podcast and heard about TFI Advocates. After I had heard this term “TFI Advocate” several times, I started doing a bit of research on the TFI website. I loved the thought of helping churches learn how to help the whole foster care community. I knew that the congregation where we attend (Brookline Church of Christ) already eagerly and excitedly put on a Christmas activity for foster children called “Joy of Giving”, so I thought if I became an Advocate, this congregation would be a logical place to start. I also loved the idea of not needing to “reinvent the wheel” and using ideas and resources provided by TFI. The focus on the whole foster care community, particularly biological parents, along with not needing to “reinvent the wheel” by using ideas and resources provided by TFI, is what ultimately pushed me to jump in.

Mary: I want my community and church to be aware and involved in the needs of the foster care community. But it’s often hard to know where to start. After I heard about the Advocate role, and prayed through that decision, I knew this was the right step.

Karen: I had been a coordinator (supporting the previous Advocate in our area) for a while when our Advocate stepped down. Honestly, I said no at first, but felt God consistently directing me to take on the Advocate role. I have stepped out of my comfort zone and God is stretching me in many ways. I am finding as I am simply willing to step out, God is doing the work.

Alex: God has given me a burden and passion to help our children/orphans in need. After learning and researching more about foster care, that passion expanded to the rest of the foster care community as well. I’m truly so thankful for them all and what they are doing! I began reaching out to serve in our community and saw the gap that was missing. I saw a way I could help and was excited to be able to do so!

What are you most excited about and hope to see take place in your community?

Marcy: I would love to see churches in Greene County become a huge support system for foster families, biological families, and social workers. While we have lots of resources in Greene County for getting the physical items we need, there seems to be a lack of support-type services. There is a great need for respite care so that foster parents can get a break. We need mentors for both foster youth and biological parents. Foster parents/social workers need help with transportation and supervising visits. I am the most excited to see some/all of these things happen in our community.

Mary: I am most excited to build a meaningful connection with my agency to be able to build bridges throughout the community and be a direct resource to their needs!

Karen: I love seeing the hearts who want to help. There are many who want to be part of making things better for those in foster care. I look forward to seeing how God will continue to work in it, as I’ve seen His hand in many ways already.

Alex: Every little thing I can do to help excites me! I know to me these things seem small, but during a placement or a tough situation, those small things help in a big way. I will be the most excited when we can see a higher number of foster parents in our county.

Is there a Scripture that has been encouraging you recently?

Marcy: “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.” – Matthew 6:34 (The Message)

Karen: “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.” – 2 Corinthians 3:5 (KJV)

Alex: “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10). It’s so simple right? I’ve been seeing it everywhere lately and it has helped ease my spirit in many areas and situations in my life right now. We simply just need to BE STILL, (stop, stop worrying, stop putting pressure on ourselves, stop questioning), AND KNOW (don’t doubt, have faith), THAT I AM GOD. (God is almighty, our creator, our hope, and He will lead me). Its a simple verse that reminds us of so much!

What’s one word of encouragement you’d like to leave with those who make up the foster care community?

Marcy: Don’t give up! Keep walking through the hard stuff, but don’t walk it alone. Give those hard things to God. He will handle it. Keep fighting for the kids. They deserve to be fought for.

Mary: Keep up the GOOD work. Keep advocating, keep providing, keep showing up! What you are doing matters so much!

Karen: Many love and care about you. They are lifting the foster care community up in prayer, asking that God will carry you.

Alex: Persevere. Stay the course and stay renewed in the spirit. You are doing a mighty and good work! We see you, we support you, we are here for you, and cheering you on!

Aren’t they awesome? I hope you were encouraged by this today, and just encouraged in how people are stepping up to support the foster care community!

Are you interested in learning more about the Advocate role? Check it out here!

Applications for our next round of Advocate training are going live on October 1, so now is a great time to go ahead and reach out. There are no strings attached when you reach out—we would simply love to talk with you about this opportunity and help you get a better overall grasp of whether this is the right next step for where God is leading you!

(Want to read another story of how Advocates are leading change? Meet Cherith Craft.)

You Can Make a Difference.

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Jami Kaeb

Adoption, foster care, and advocacy were not part of Jami’s dreams for her life, but God changed her heart when He made her aware, and she is passionate about helping others become aware too! She and her husband Clint are parents to their seven children (five through adoption).

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