AMARILLO, TX (KFDA) - The need for foster families has never been greater in our area. Although the thought of bringing a foster child into a family may seem daunting for some, there is a special support group in Amarillo with the mission to help the foster system succeed as we see in this week’s “Good News With Doppler Dave”.
“Three foster kids are currently in my home. Two 12-year-old twins and a seven-year-old, two boys and one girl,” said foster mom Melissa Moore.
The foster children in Melissa’s home are just three of what, in reality, is a staggering number of displaced children in our area.
“At any given time in the Panhandle of Texas, there are over 1,000 children who are in the foster care system by no fault of their own,” said Gwen Hicks, Executive Director of Amarillo Angels.
As you may expect, introducing foster children into a home is not always easy.
“These kids are a lot different than your own biological children. They’ve been through a lot of trauma, lot of them have pretty serious issues,” said Moore.
Hicks adds, “Then you add to that going to court, getting the children to counseling, getting them to their visitation with their parents. The impact it has on your own personal children can be pretty tough at times. 50 percent of new families that start to foster seize foster in their first year.”
I asked Hicks to expand a little bit on what the group Amarillo Angels does.
“We exist to walk alongside children in foster care and their caretaker and we do that through three ways. Intentional giving, which is giving the thoughtful and needed items which is a beautiful conduit to the second thing we do which is relationship-building and finally mentorship.”
Moore said, “They have contacted us, Amarillo Angels have before, and had us go somewhere for free and it is awesome. Like a family night you go to watch like the football game. I have been contacted before about one of my foster children going to camp in Canyon at WT.”
Help from the angels is a breath of fresh air for foster families in several ways.
“And then we connect them with a family in our area that fosters and their job is to walk alongside them for a period of a year and just provide few items for them that help off set the budget but mainly build a relationship with them," said Hicks. "They take care of every single person in the family. These are our kids and we can as a community come together, wrap our support, our love, and our encouragement around them and make a huge difference in their lives.”
“You know whenever you have a child in your home that you didn’t raise and you don’t really know them all that well. You’re learning them and they’re learning you and they hug you and kiss you and tell you how much they love you and you’re like wow,” said Moore.
If you have been looking for a volunteer opportunity, the foster system needs you.
“One of the biggest things that foster parents face is respite care. It’s not available. By respite care, what that is that someone is qualified to take these foster kids for the weekend. While possibly foster parents need to go out of town, have a family emergency, just want to go on a date night,” explained Moore.
“We are not all called to foster and adopt. I don’t feel that call at all. You may not feel that call but we can all do something,” said Hicks.
The deck seems to be stacked against kids in foster care but the Amarillo Angels, and possibly people like you, can offer help, Perhaps that child’s life can get better. You can get involved and that’s good news.