A Day In the Life of a Foster Care Volunteer (or Two)
Foster care is one of LWB’s most expansive programs. With sixteen foster care programs in seven different provinces, LWB needs each and every one of our nearly 50 volunteers to keep these programs running smoothly! Two enthusiastic foster care volunteers have agreed to let us peek into their daily lives as an LWB volunteer and see what inspires them to dedicate their time to helping orphaned children in China.
Jessica White, Huainan Foster Care Co-Coordinator: I first learned of Love Without Boundaries during the process of adopting my daughter Emma. I remember reading and rereading Love’s Journey, and thinking that “someday” I would love to get involved with such an amazing organization. That “someday” came three years later when one of the mothers from my travel group mentioned that LWB was looking for volunteers in their foster care program. We had recently adopted our son Will from South Korea, and he had spent the first year of his life with a foster family. The difference that foster care had made in his life was remarkable. I immediately sent in my volunteer application and joined the foster care team in 2009. A few months later, I transferred to the Huainan Foster Care program that serves my daughter’s orphanage, and I cherish the opportunity to remain connected to her first home.
I am a stay-at-home mom to a four year old daughter and two year old son, so most of my LWB work is done at naptime. After I get the kids tucked in and the lunch dishes in the sink, I settle down with my laptop to catch up on the day’s emails. I share the responsibility of coordinating the Huainan Foster Care program with a good friend and fellow Huainan mom, and we communicate frequently through texts and emails. We receive reports from China on each of the children in the program, and a large part of my job is to review and format these reports before sending them on to each child’s sponsors.
The best part of my job is watching the way the children grow and thrive in loving foster families. I become so attached to each of the little ones in our program and feel so blessed to be able to become a part of their lives. I cheer when they take their first steps, worry when they have runny noses, and shed tears of joy when I hear that they have found their forever families. I consider it a privilege to be able to contribute to an organization that is making such a difference in the lives of these precious children.
Meg Gallson, Fuyang Foster Care Assistant Coordinator and Associate Director of Adoption Advocacy: I’m a licensed social worker, and in January 2007 I had my first experience matching a family with a special needs child who was also in a LWB program. It was WONDERFUL! I was able to learn a lot about LWB through discussions about what LWB did for her while she was in their care. I could tell immediately that LWB cared about this child (and could assume that they truly cared about ALL of the children they were able to help).
I spend time every day e-mailing and reading e-mails that have to do with LWB. Usually my breakfast includes reading the daily Yahoo de-briefing — a great start to my day! Getting to read the updates on various programs, new children who have joined the programs or received surgery, as well as learning about new ways we are getting the word about LWB out to the world — all are important on a daily basis. Because I work with Fuyang Foster Care, I get to help Vicki Hossack read the children’s monthly reports and then edit them a bit before sending them out to the children’s sponsors. It is always rewarding to get to say thank you at least once a month to these magnificent sponsors who are ultimately equally as responsible as LWB itself for getting these kids into a foster home. Without them we could not afford for these children to reap the benefits that a foster family can provide!
I also have been able to help keep track of grants that LWB provides for specific children’s adoption. It is SO rewarding to be able to help make a child’s adoption possible by providing some monetary assistance. Every day I am keeping my eyes and ears open for news about children who are part of the Love Without Boundaries program – and sharing the word of what LWB does for children to family, friends, and random people I meet.
It is most rewarding to be a part of something that serves someone else, and not just anyone, but children – the most vulnerable of all. Amy Eldridge, our Executive Director, said something the other day about how many children in orphanages really need someone to believe in them. Almost all of them have faced a great loss or abandonment in their lives, and so she explained: “ it is for this reason that we feel such a responsibility to make sure that when a child comes into OUR hands – that we do everything possible to not let them down. While we cannot change the entire orphan situation, we have learned that when you give your all to one child in need, AMAZING things happen.” This is what I enjoy about LWB. Every day we touch people in ways we do not even realize most of the time. Touching someone positively, doing something filled with “hope” and possibility – this is what I believe all people are here on earth to do, and LWB is one beautiful way we can do it.