G6:2 serves local adoptive and foster families
By Abigail Thorpe
Shelby Beck and her husband have six children—four biological and two adopted. As they began the transition of blending their family, they soon realized each member of the family was experiencing his and her own trauma. In many ways, they felt left on their own—as much as friends cared and wanted to help, it’s a situation that only those who have gone through it can understand. “That's when we knew we needed to try and start something for other parents and families in our area to no longer feel alone in this tough ministry,” says Beck.
The Becks’ family church Sandpoint Assembly seemed the perfect place to start. Pastor Tim and his wife Karla are foster parents and understand firsthand what the experience is like. “Pastor Tim has a heart that simply just wants to help people. He encourages the church weekly to be the hands and feet of Jesus by showing others love and helping wherever we can,” says Beck. Two other pastors’ families in the church are experienced in fostering or adopting as well—Pastor Steve and his wife have adopted four kids both domestically and internationally, and Pastor Luke and his wife have previously served as foster parents.
“So you have a church with three pastors, all who have experience in this area,” says Beck. “It's incredible to have these dynamics.” It was the ideal support group to start a program that could reach those in the community who needed help or support in their own foster or adoptive journey.
Sandpoint Assembly and Beck formed G6:2, which stands for the scripture verse Galatians 6:2 that says, “Bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” The program serves North Idaho by providing awareness and support to the foster and adoptive community in the area. “Our mission has been to help bear some of the burdens foster and adoptive families may have,” says Beck, who serves as the director of the program.
The program does this in several ways. They offer monthly support meetings and also provide tangible support to families through initiatives like their placement backpacks.
Sandpoint Assembly and G6:2 host monthly support meetings through the Department of Health and Welfare, run by an experienced foster parent named Carrie Hull. The program is open to anyone and serves people from Sandpoint and the surrounding areas. “People come from Careywood, Boundary County and Priest River for support,” remarks Beck.
The meetings are centered around parents finding support, community and encouragement. Each meeting counts toward the foster parent training hours parents need each year, and childcare is provided for attendees, as well as refreshments, treats and chocolate. Each month the program raffles off a free date night to a local restaurant as a fun surprise.
“It's just our little way of saying we see the hard work you do day in and day out, we're here for you, we understand what it's like to care for kids from hard places, you're not alone. We appreciate you,” says Beck.
Meetings are currently suspended due to COVID-19, but the program plans to continue to host trainings in the future. It’s been difficult for families who have grown to depend on the support group. “Without that monthly time with other peers and support in general, it’s been very tough,” explains one local foster parent. “It’s nice having time together with other people who share your struggles and celebrate your wins as well because they know exactly what you’re dealing with."
G6:2 works in other ways to help local foster and adoptive families adjust, including gathering placement backpacks through donations. These are made available for any new foster placement and include essentials foster kids need when they move into a new home.
“Many foster kids come to their new adoptive parents with nothing,” says Beck. “The new foster parents find themselves at Walmart quickly trying to get basic needs for the new placement. This can be stressful in many ways, and we'd like to try and help the transition be a little easier while also providing the child with a bag of their very own items to keep.”
Many kids in foster care carry their only possessions from home in a trash bag. A trash bag is not luggage, says G6:2. The organization wants to help get each local foster child personal items and a bag that can belong to them.
G6:2 is always looking for volunteers and donations. Their website, G62Ministries.com, is a great resource for ways to help and includes information about what items are needed for the placement backpacks.
They are also working on cleaning out a storage area to hold donations like pack ‘n play cribs and newer car seats to help with local community foster needs. While they’re not accepting clothing at this time, they are always in need of other items, says Beck.
Whether you are a family involved in foster care, adoption, or you simply have a heart to support those on the front lines, G6:2 would love to partner with you!