Amy Greene and her twin sister grew up the only children in a quiet Michigan household. In spite of being super shy as a child, Amy wished for more buzz and excitement in her house. She envisioned a home with lots of kids coming and going and told herself, "When I grow up, I want it to be crazy!" She wanted an open door policy someday, the opposite of her childhood home.
Even as a young adult, Amy began opening her home to children in need. 24 and single, she took in a foster baby right from the hospital and cared for her for 7 months. The baby was adopted by another family, and the whole experience was a positive one. Amy also worked for a foster care agency in South Carolina for 12 years before getting married, eventually becoming the director. And when she got engaged to Jim Greene, she talked to him about the possibility of doing foster care someday. Jim was on board with the idea of helping families if they could.
Fast forward 10 years, and the Greenes are settled in East Tennessee with four energetic daughters and room for more. Last year when GFC began partnering with Safe Families for Children by equipping church families to serve as temporary host homes for families in crisis, Amy noticed the announcement in the bulletin. She pointed it out to Jim, saying, "This is something we could do." They attended an info meeting at GFC, went through the local host family training, and were ready to open their home as a temporary "safe family" for a child in need when the time came.
After many years serving in foster care, the idea behind the Safe Families program was not a foreign concept to Amy. She saw it as a way to come alongside a family in need directly. It felt like a simple way to make an impact on a struggling family, by helping prevent kids from having to go into foster care in the first place. With Safe Families, the host family receives no financial payment, and the families (usually single moms) place the child in a host home of their own free will during a crisis situation.
Jim and Amy have hosted three times now, with three pairs of siblings each time. Their first placement was for two weeks and the next ones for two nights only. Although excited to serve the children, Amy was nervous at first about how to get the kids to sleep in a strange environment. They worked that out, and it has not been a problem for any of them since.
When they get a placement, they let their girls know once it's confirmed and the guests are close to arriving. For the Greene girls, it's like Christmas. They get so excited and run around the house in anticipation. Having to share their stuff does not dampen their enthusiasm for new playmates, and they proudly show the newcomers where everything is.
For Amy, she now has the home she has dreamed of (though she wouldn't mind a quiet hour or two here and there!). Even though the kids are placed short-term, she says, "I just love them while they're here." She cannot follow them on, nor ensure their future safety. She can't control what's next. But Amy takes it by faith that God has a future planned for each one of them, and He will be following them on their journey. She's just ready to love them while they're here.
Posted on Thu, October 6, 2016
by Grace Outreach filed under