The Power of Tools and Why You Need Them in Foster Care Advocacy

This morning one of my daughters told me that she wanted to climb Mt. Everest someday. When I asked her why, she said, “Because I like to make snowmen.”

Sometimes we make things harder than we need to.

I remember one time in particular I was hanging a large cabinet in our laundry room by myself. I had hoisted it up, aligned the screws and anchors with the holes in the wall, got them part of the way in and realized I was going to need a hammer to tap one of the anchors in. I looked around and realized I’d left the hammer on the floor behind me. I couldn’t let the cabinet go because it would rip part of the wall out.   I also didn’t want to undo all the lifting and alignment I had already done so I quickly scanned the top of the washer and dryer and noticed my tape measure sitting there.

I picked it up and began whacking away at the anchor with my tape measure. A lot. It didn’t work.

Things are harder than they need to be when we don’t have the tools we need at our disposal. You can’t use a tape measure to do the job of a hammer. You can’t use a wrench to do the job of a chainsaw. My father-in-law has been saying something for decades that I’ve found to be true over and over: “When you need a tool, you need a tool.” Not only is it a true statement, but it is what you tell yourself when you head to the store to spend money on a tile saw.

If you are leading a church orphan care ministry, or doing child advocacy, coalition building, and recruitment, you need tools. And you don’t really have the time to create the tools you need. You could go without them, but you probably won’t end up with the results you are looking for.

That is exactly why we created Foster Movement U. We wanted to (1) create and (2) find the best tools in the country for building foster care movement in your church, zip code, county and state and put them in a tool box that is easy to find. Here are a couple of examples:

  • Last night we were at our church’s orphan ministry meeting and someone mentioned that we needed something to help people explore other ways to get involved in foster care besides adopting and fostering. Foster Movement U Session 2 includes a free PDF entitled “The Faces of Foster Care Engagement” and is designed for that very purpose.
  • This morning I received an email asking if we had a list of all of the verses in the Bible about orphans and kids who need families. We do. It is part of Session 1 and is called “What Does the Bible Say About Kids Who Need Families”

This is stuff you can use to pass out to your team, take with you to an appointment with a pastor, or distribute to an entire congregation. The Foster Movement U Tool Box is filling up more and more every month. In fact, we are just about to release session 3, “How to H.E.L.P. Child Welfare Professionals in Your Community.” Which brings me to my second point.

Not only are our members and partners working together to create great tools, but they are also throwing the great tools they’ve already created into the Foster Movement U Tool Box. There are a couple of great examples of this as well happening right now:

  • We saw a fantastic video done by Westside Family Church in Lenexa, KS that was a perfect fit for this next month’s session on helping child welfare professionals. We asked them about it, and without hesitation they were willing to add it to the Foster Movement U tool box to inspire others around the country. (You can see the clip here).
  • We are building a guide booklet for this FMU session containing practical ways to love and encourage workers. The team at The Forgotten Initiative graciously sent over the list of ideas they’ve been using to be included.
  • The team at A Home for Me is giving their great idea of a H.E.L.P. Tree for Child Welfare Professionals to the entire country (see the H.E.L.P. guide booklet to learn more)

So not only are we offering you tools, but we’re also asking for them. If your church or organization has built something that you think might be useful to others through a Foster Movement U session, we want to know about it!

There are more and more people in this country who want to provide more than enough for kids and families in foster care in their own zip codes. They just need the tools . . . because when you need a tool, you need a tool.


(Explore Foster Movement U Resources Here)

This post originally appeared in our Foster Roster e-newsletter which is delivered each Friday. We try to keep it short and sweet and fill it with practical articles, videos, blog posts and other tools for leaders like you working to help kids and families in foster care.  To sign up, go to