Every fostering & adoptive family deserves a community of welcome in their church

Father and Child
They say it takes a village to raise a child.  At Home for Good we’ve stretched the saying to “It takes a church to raise a care experienced child”
When a family in your church become foster carers or adopters, they will need you, their church family, to wrap around them and create a great web of support, encouragement and perhaps the occasional Victoria sponge or curry delivery!
Here are some things that you can do which will really make a difference:
  1. Pray
For them, their social workers, the 100s of children in the UK waiting to be adopted.  Keep it high in your eyeline as a church.  Try to keep that command in Psalm 82 to “Defend the weak and the fatherless;  uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy;  deliver them from the hand of the wicked. 
  1. Be a friend who listens
Let them know that you care.  Sit with them in church even if their child is screaming – help the rest of the church family to accept the behaviour as trauma informed not naughty by modelling complete acceptance.  Invite them to dinner, all of them, fostering can be lonely.  Listen, but don’t expect all the information about the child in their care – some things need to remain confidential.
  1. Think creatively about practical support

Sometimes the most obvious support, like babysitting or helping at bath or bedtime, isn’t appropriate or allowed when children are being looked after or have recently been adopted – but there are still many ways you can help! Cook a meal for the family, offer to take away some ironing or clean the house when the family is out, or perhaps you could cut the lawn or the hedge, or even walk the dog for them.
  1. Become a champion for Home for Good in your church

We’re looking for individuals who are passionate about fostering and adoption to be our champions. You will be at the heart of all we do – raising awareness in your church and supporting the vision of Home for Good. Contact me for me more information.
  1.  Make sure your church is safe and secure for vulnerable children
As well as being kind, accepting and welcoming, it is important that your church is prepared with the right safeguarding practices and child protection policies in place. Encourage your church family to do some learning through reading the Home for Good book or taking part in some training.

     6.  Be willing to adapt and change
Children who have been looked after will often have suffered trauma, they may have experienced abuse or neglect, and they are usually having to cope in new and scary situations – and their foster carers and adoptive parents are doing all they can to love, nurture and support them. Be flexible and ready to adjust.  What is more important at the end of a Sunday school or youth group session: that children know the intimate details of a Bible passage or that they are loved and accepted by both God and you?

     7. Never, ever, ever give up
Foster carers are committed to their children and will faithfully love them even when it is hard. If you can journey with them and support them every step of the way, you will be playing a vital role in providing stability and security, and echoing God’s heart of love, compassion and mercy for these vulnerable children.
Written by Clare Walker, South West Regional Lead for Home for Good. clare.walker@homeforgood.org.uk 
Home for Good is a UK charity seeking to inspire and equip individuals and families to open their homes to vulnerable children. We resource churches to be a welcoming and supportive community for fostering and adoptive families, and advocate for vulnerable children at all levels of government.

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