Here at Levana Bratique, we love celebrating women that are making a difference. Since November is Adoption Awareness Month, we wanted to highlight someone that has spent the last several years making an impact in the lives of foster children in our area.
Kelly Hughes and her husband Andrew became foster parents in 2013. When their first foster placement of three children arrived with just a trash bag of full of some dirty belongings, she knew they deserved better than that, and the idea for Foster Love Project was born, with the initial idea of providing a backpack full of some new clothing and toiletries for every child that is entering foster care.
The mission of Foster Love Project is 'to provide love in action to foster children as well as support to the foster families who are providing care for them. This may look like providing a placement bag for a child, easing the transition with gift cards, assisting with additional resources or connecting families with a time of respite.’
Kelly was kind enough to answer a few questions for us about her experience as a foster parent, how Foster Love Project began, and ways that people can help.
What made you decide to be foster parents?
We had a desire to walk alongside families who were experiencing crisis and be a part of support in that process.
What has been the most rewarding experience of fostering/adopting?
We've learned a lot about the challenges of trauma and how that affects kids who walk through foster care and adoption. For us, being able to maintain a relationship with our kid's biological family has been a key factor in helping some of our kid's challenges.
What do you wish you had known/is there anything you would do differently?
I wish that we had more opportunities to build relationships with the families of kids we fostered from the beginning. Sometimes we would only see families in court where tensions were really high. It would have been very helpful if our foster agency would have been able to help us connect better with families.
Tell us a little about Foster Love Project:
Foster Love Project started as an opportunity to provide placement bags for kids transitioning into new homes. It grew into a free donation center where kids in foster care can come ‘shop’ for items they may need including clothing, luggage, toys, books, bedding, diapers, baby gear + more.
How did Foster Love Project come about?
We started in 2014 with the goal of collecting 300 placement bags. Over 1,300 were donated that first year and the rest is history!
What are your future plans for Foster Love Project?
Our desire is to continue to provide love and dignity through more opportunities for kids who experience foster care or adoption. We host a yearly family retreat as well as different family events throughout the year. Our goal is to continue to listen to the voices of those who walk this road and continue to put programs in place to provide arms of support.
What are some ways that people can help Foster Love Project?
Our current bag drive is running Nov 15 - Dec 15, 2019. Packing a bag for a foster child in need is a great way to support our community during the holidays!
Giving Tuesday is on December 3rd and we are grateful for all financial support as we look to 2020.
Our donation center is dependent on volunteers each week! Sign ups are available on our website.
You can find bag drive information, ways to give and volunteer information at https://www.fosterloveproject.org/.
Thank you so much Kelly, for all that Foster Love Project is doing in our community to help children and families in need!