Why The Fostering Community Needs Unbound

My husband, Zach, and I have been foster parents for more than 6 years. It has been a long road and a wild ride, with a lot of beautiful bumps along the way that have shaped my understanding of what it means to live in community with all people. We have welcomed kids from birth to 16 years old, through both long-term placements and respite care, and have seen the huge variety of needs that come along with these placements. While fostering a 16-year-old and a 10-year-old last year, we encountered a particularly high amount of red tape, road blocks, bureaucracy and “sorry, we can’t help you” responses from workers in the foster care system, doctors, educational administrators, and more. We, as parents, needed resources to properly take care of our kids, and they weren’t there. This lack of resources is one of the main reasons foster parents quit this calling. I want to change that.


There are a huge number of nonprofits that serve the needs of foster kids in communities across America. These are wonderful organizations who do meaningful, important work! However, through my own life experience, I have seen and felt an additional need. There are no organizations in our area who focus specifically on the needs of the foster and adoptive parents. And, by meeting the needs of these parents, there will be an undeniable positive impact on the children they love and serve in their homes. By giving these parents access to resources for their own needs, these families will be stronger, healthier and can bring stability to more children.


Often, it can feel uncomfortable for foster parents to ask others for help. We aren't sure if those around us want to be a part of this messy, crazy foster care like that we have chosen for ourselves. But, there have been a few times in my family's fostering journey that we have publicly asked our friends and family to pitch in and help us with a need. And every time we’ve done that, we get a response from people that is so fast and so comprehensive that it truly overwhelms me. And this behavior by my friends and family made it clear that people want to help foster and adoptive parents in their communities, they just don’t know how to proactively give that help. And foster/adoptive parents need help, they just don’t always know how to ask for it. What our community is lacking is a place that connects the foster and adoptive parents who need help, with the people who are willing and able to meet those needs.


We need a place where foster parents can go with any request, big or small, and be connected to the help they need. No hesitation, no discomfort, no embarrassment. A place where these parents are seen and understood, and where they don't have to explain how the system works. We understand how it works, we know how hard this is, and we want to provide support. 


So, I formed The Unbound Collaborative to be that place.


Why The Unbound Collaborative? I wanted a name that conveyed that we aren’t tied down by the broken and failing systems that are currently in place. The ways The Unbound Collaborative will serve and love foster and adoptive families won’t be held down by the rigid systems of agencies and counties. Real life change often happens in the grey areas, and we aren’t afraid to meet parents in this space. In the short-term, this means that this nonprofit will be a collaboration of people who approach this service work with an unbound mentality. In the long-term, there are no limits on the ways we can impact and change the lives of foster and adoptive parents in our community. 


I will outline more of exactly how we will do this work in upcoming communication, and on the website. For now, if you want to get involved there are several ways:


-Donate to Unbound so we can begin doing this work as fast as possible. We have received federal 501(c)(3) status and all donations are tax deductible.


-Volunteer! Get started by emailing volunteer@theunboundcollaborative.org. As a new organization, we are still identifying all of the volunteer roles that are needed, and this will expand and change over time. Literally everyone is welcome; no amount of time is too small, and it will truly make a difference for foster and adoptive families. (Note: some volunteer roles will require submitting to a background check.) 


-Buy something from Mission Market. As of today, 100% of the profits from every purchase go straight to The Unbound Collaborative.


-Pray about this! Pray for wisdom for everyone involved. Some of the dreams we have for this organization will involve the thick red tape of foster care – pray that doors open wide for us to help these families.


Thank you for all of your time, prayers, consideration and donations. We are going to serve foster and adoptive parents in ways unbound, and give them the freedom to focus on their families.


Carrie Kountz

Founder, The Unbound Collaborative