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Fallin' For Foster Families 2016

On November 13th we had the privilege of partnering with Wandrin' Star Farms to create a fun-filled evening at the farm for some deserving families brought together through foster care. One of the amazing foster mamas who attended so eloquently shared her family's experience at the event...

With a van full of children, we drove over country roads past cattle and fields of oaks to Wandrin’ Star Farms. Though we’d never been, it felt a little like going home. I think it was because the village gathering to visit and break bread on that balmy Sunday eve in the middle of November was one that we intrinsically, seamlessly identified with.

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Foster Village Austin’s Fall Festival celebrating Foster Families in the Austin area created a high fun and low stress space that allowed kids to be kids and parents to relax a bit. In the gaga ball pit a group of contenders fought hard for the win. The game itself would be enough to cause me to stop and watch (I’d never seen it played before), but it was the picture of it all that halted me. Who belonged with whom? I looked at the faces, features, and skin tones trying to match up siblings and parents. After a quick second, what I was looking at settled on me like an embrace- I couldn’t tell. In this place, in this sacred space we were invited into, the substance that links families together transcends what’s perceivable with my eyes. The thing that binds is courageous love and a decision to step into a place of brokenness so that others may begin to heal.

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As I made my way over to the petting area where my girls were conspiring to smuggle a bunny home, I stopped at the baby chicks where children were clumsily loving on those little birds. Their small hands so tender and willing to demonstrate their affection to these wee creatures juxtaposed in my mind with the knowledge that tender hands may not have been so available to them.

After a quick and definitive conversation with my kids about how a rabbit absolutely wouldn’t be joining our family anytime in the near future, I went to find Mike who was crafting with our small son while talking with fellow foster parents and their children. The conversation was easy and the mood was mellow as they slowly added beads to their creation. I walked away thinking about how peaceful the atmosphere was.

While I adjusted our six and a half month old foster daughter who was hanging out in her favorite spot- her baby carrier, I drank in the view. There were little ones on a barrel train being pulled by a tractor, its driver’s copper hair shining in the light of the golden hour. Groups of adults organically pulled together by the stories they share, so similar and so different. Woven in-between tales of toddler tantrums or recollections of ‘the early days’ are words like, ‘agency’, ‘guardian ad litem’, ‘CPA’, and ‘permanency goals’. Missing was the pause that usually follows to explain the terms. We all knew. And in the knowing found community. No two cases are ever the same, but the similarities that are threaded through- the victories and the battles yet won, the baby steps forward and the bridges we build- tie us all into the same colorful afghan.

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There were moms and dads with biological children and children adopted, a sweet couple anxiously awaiting their first placement, a family made up of two superhero moms with a sibling group of 5, families whose children had grown up, another family with 4 kids who are helping to equip a young woman aging out to be successful and anchor herself. Families just beginning to dip their toes in and families like my own; deep in the trenches of the unknown clinging to the stories of those who have swam this channel before.

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On the ride home I glanced back at our tribe of tired children and whispered my thanks that we could be counted among such an extraordinary group. A village sanctified by hard things and hopeful hearts. There’s a spot in Central Texas where s’mores crumbs fall into the footprints of happy kids. It’s a place I went to meet some new folks and let my kids run around, but when I left I realized it was hallowed ground.  

~Amanda Moore

{you can follow the Moore Family's foster journey by heading over to www.mikeandmandymoore.com}

We are so grateful for all of the volunteers and businesses who made this event possible! What a beautiful example of being a Village. We are already looking forward to doing it again next year!