Since launching their foster care ministry in early 2016, His Hands Church in Woodstock has seen God work in many ways, including bringing a community of believers together.
When His Hand’s foster family, Chris and Becci Morgan, realized their foster child’s two siblings also needed a home, they went into overdrive. They needed to convert their garage into a bedroom for their biological daughter, so the siblings could use the daughter’s former bedroom, and they needed to do it quickly.
With the love and support of their Community of Care at His Hands, as well as family and friends, they were able to renovate their home and make the sibling reunion possible.
Brian VanDine, the ministry team leader at His Hands, spent many hours coordinating the renovation and actually doing some of the work himself. In addition, First Baptist of Woodstock’s We Foster Community of Care also jumped in, since the Morgan’s foster child was originally a We Foster child. They sent a carpenter out and helped put the finishing touches on the renovation.
“The [FaithBridge] Community of Care has worked beautifully with our foster family,” Brian said. “The respite families and volunteers have poured into the family in so many amazing ways.”
Brian and his wife Lisa lead the His Family Foster Ministry leadership team at His Hands. As former foster parents who fostered for 10 years and had 16 children placed in their home and adopted two (in addition to their four biological children), the VanDine’s care deeply about the children in their area.
“We had to close our home when we adopted a second child from foster care, but we still felt the calling to minister to children in our county,” Brian said.
Today, His Hands has one foster family, three respite families and about 25 approved and involved volunteers.
“When we first launched, though, we quickly discovered a large-scale launch did not work well for us. We had over 190 families sign up at our launch but only had four families and 25 volunteers actually follow through. Most of those who signed up for volunteer roles dropped out because it took a long time for us to have a placement,” Brian said.
“My advice now to other churches is to start small and be patient. Concentrate on recruiting foster families first and then when you have foster families almost finished with the approval process, begin recruiting volunteers.”
For His Hands, they’ve helped spread awareness of foster care and the need in several ways. Their pastor has dedicated a couple Sunday mornings to talking about foster care and the need in the county, and they’ve filmed two videos to show in services as well.
“We also held a baby shower for our foster and respite families to help them gather clothing, toys and other supplies that they would need to help serve the children placed in their homes,” Brian said. “We’ve discovered that the personal stories we’ve shared have worked the best with our church – either videos or when our pastor shares from the stage.”