A Message from Shea Carter, Sunnybrook Cares Coordinator
"God is at work in Mississippi. Foster care is inevitable. We live in a fallen world, but we have redemption through our Savior Jesus Christ, and I want to tell you that God is at work in Mississippi. Not everyone is called to foster- just like not everyone is called to the mission field of Peru. However, the church body is called to love, encourage and support those who have taken up their cross in these callings.
Sunnybrook Cares, a new program of Sunnybrook Children’s Home, provides support and encouragement for foster and adoptive families- as well as childcare advocates. We are a unique program bursting at the seams here in Mississippi as we encourage churches and individuals alike to love, encourage, and support those loving children who are not biologically their own.
So, what does this look like? JaneKelly Husband, an advocate in North Mississippi for Sunnybrook Cares, has been working closely with two faith-based CPS (Child Protective Service) workers as they go into churches looking for foster families. JaneKelly explains what a foster care ministry looks like, what the specific needs are, and how supporting them can be different than supporting other families due to the various needs that may arise."
As the ministry slowly grows, many ask, "Why is a foster family different than any other family, and what special needs of support do they need from my family?"
- Prayer. We know that this is our greatest gift- to be able to go to our Heavenly Father. Often, foster families need the support of others lifting them up with very specific requests. Foster families are often working with children from hard places, having to make visits with biological family members, having social workers in and out of their homes, constantly in and out of court rooms, and the list goes on. This is all in addition to adding a child to their home and making sure that certain paperwork is updated, etc. Prayer is crucial!
- Meals. By providing an evening meal, frozen meals, or even restaurant gift cards for foster families, this can be a huge blessing as family schedules are very uncertain in many cases.
- Free Babysitting/Respite Care. As a foster parent, one can’t leave a foster child with "just anyone." If you are interested in providing respite or babysitting on a regular basis to foster families in your community, we would love to talk to you about this!
- Counseling. This is a primary need for foster families- not just for the children, but also for the parents! Foster children come from all kinds of situations, and most of the time, it’s hard to be prepared for how that will effect one's home life, marriage, routines, and schedules. Having access to affordable or free counseling is a major bonus!
- Supplies. Clothing, beds, diapers, formula, car seats, backpacks, etc… Often, there is no warning when children are placed and families make immediate adjustments to a home. Try to be in the know and be available to help or assist when placements are made. Part of Sunnybrook Cares is The Locker where foster families are welcome to drop off clothing/supplies not being used any longer or to pick up items they need.
- CONNECT 4. This is different for each church, but the concept is the same: 4 hours of respite for foster parents and 4 hours of fun for children in foster homes. Depending on resources and space, each church can create their own Connect 4. If you would like someone to call you about creating a "Connect 4" event at your church, contact Shea Carter at 601.906.0106 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Overall, our vision is to collaborate with churches and child care advocates by providing unique resources focused on sustaining those caring for children by connecting them to a team of people ready to help with any need. Our goal is to provide a family for every child and support for every family.
RESPITE: Something New
Sunset Hill, a branch of Sunnybrook Cares, is a place of respite, retreat and hospitality for families engaged in foster care and adoption. If you know of a family that could use a weekend retreat at Sunset Hill in Flora, MS please contact Shea Carter at 601.906.0106 or at
Philip & Shea Carter have been hosting families since December. Here are some comments from those families:
“Thanks for all your hard work today! Feeling pampered!”
“I enjoyed myself. Can’t stop talking about it or thinking about the hospitality of you and your husband. Love you guys- thank you for being an ear and encouragement as well. Have a blessed day and enjoy the beauty of God.”
“Just being able to come out here with the family for us all enjoy each other without me having to cook has been a huge blessing!”
“I can’t remember the last time I slept that late-- what a treat!”
At Sunset Hill we are looking for those willing to help with dutiful chores so that we may use our energy to serve families that visit us here. These chores include:
- DUSTING (lights, tables, library, picture frames, window seals, etc.)
- CLEANING BASEBOARDS
- VACUUMING & SWEEPING
- CLEANING WINDOWS
- CLEANING FURNITURE
- HELPING MAINTAIN THE LAWN (weeds, mowing, etc.)
Any amount of assistance is appreciated!