Fostering the Family is hosting an interactive 5k in Rock Hill, South Carolina with some elements that offer insight into the life of a child traveling through the child welfare system. Our specific intention is to raise awareness about the foster and adoption crises and see our community come together to bring about change.

Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect to see at our Fight for Families 5k.

When you register for the race, you’ll get your race packet in a garbage bag, which is what many children traveling through the child welfare system have to store their belongings in.

Next, you will walk by a table with some food. You’re hungry, but these snacks don’t look very appetizing. Your family never ate anything like that before. Not only do the snacks look unfamiliar, they also look a little gross, so you walk away in spite of your hunger and others pushing you to eat.

Walking on, you’ll see a table where a person gestures you to come over excitedly. You approach and they throw their arms around you in a tight hug as they passionately exclaim, “You can call me ‘Mom’!”. You take a step back in surprise – you don’t know this person, and they want you to call them “Mom”? That feels uncomfortable.

As you keep going, you’ll hear someone from another table telling you to hurry, because you need to do your homework and there isn’t much time to finish it.  A little thrown off, you take the pencil and paper and try to do the problem in front of you, but it’s hard to concentrate. You have a new foster family again, which means a new school, new teacher, and no new friends yet.

Before starting the race, you’ll get to choose one item to bring with you from a table of options. Maybe a small piece of luggage, a cherished photo, or a favorite stuffed animal?

While running the 5k, you’ll have a lot to contemplate, as the adoption and foster care crises are weighty.

The good news is, that’s not where the story has to end.

At the end of the race, you’ll be greeted by a team of organizations devoted to making a positive difference in the adoption and foster care crises. You’ll be able to gather information from any of the organizations you like, and hopefully you’ll find the perfect opportunity for you, your family, or maybe even your church to get involved.

While the reality of many children walking through the child welfare system is heartbreaking, YOUR involvement can help make a difference so that doesn’t have to be the norm any longer.

Fostering the Family wants to see our community join together to bring about change – spreading love, hope, stability, and the chance for a brighter future to vulnerable children.