Back in May, I introduced Home for Good here on Finding Chaya. During my chats with Home for Good that led up to that post, we also agreed that I could share some of their blog posts on here. As I know that not all of you are in positions to foster or adopt right now, I’m kicking off these posts with one on how we can best support families who are able to.
This post is being shared with the permission of Home for Good. The original blog post can be found at: https://www.homeforgood.org.uk/ten-church-support.
Home for Good believes God is calling the whole church to advocate for vulnerable children. Some may be called to foster and adopt, while others will be prompted to stand with those who do, and we think the Church is ideally placed to welcome and support families who care for vulnerable children.
Here are ten things your church can do that will really make a difference:
1. Stay in the know
Sign up to our mailing list to keep up-to-date with Home for Good’s news, including new articles, blogs, resources and news of what’s happening in your area.
2. Take part in our children’s and youth leader training
Our training equips and resources leaders to better understand the needs of children who have been adopted or are in
foster care, enabling them to carry out effective, practical and appropriate ministry. Learn more.
3. Co-ordinate suitable practical support
Most churches are prepared to provide meals for families with a newborn baby or who are struggling with illness, so broaden this to also encompass families who foster or adopt. Practical support could also include ironing, DIY, cleaning and babysitting birth children (and fostered/adopted children where appropriate), and shouldn’t just be limited to the first weeks after a child arrives in the home. When families are experiencing challenges, ongoing practical support can be a huge help.
4. Use Home for Good resources in your services
Particularly on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, but we also produce resources for Christmas and Adoption Sunday, so you can ensure your church is regularly raising awareness and being sensitive to foster and adoptive families.
5. Speak and teach about radical hospitality, adoption and our Biblical mandate to care for vulnerable children
The Bible is packed with teaching that correlates with fostering and adoption, be inspired about what you could share by this great article from Dr Tim Davy of Redcliffe College. You could also invite foster carers or adoptive families within your church to share their testimony as part of your service, or you could book a Home for Good speaker to come and share with you.
6. Host a Home for Good meal or information event or explore the Foundations course
The Home for Good meal is an informal and simple way to facilitate you church to learn more about fostering and adoption, or you can connect with our regional staff or a local movement near you to host an information event at your church. The Foundations course delves deeper into the themes laid out in the Home for Good book, and can be used in a small group, as a family, or as a personal Bible study. Each of the six sessions includes a combination of bible study and
reflection, practical information, real-life stories, and opportunities for discussions, questions and prayer.
7. Change your language
This is such a small thing that can make a HUGE difference. Simply using inclusive language in your churches and conversations is agreat start, for example saying to children ‘go and find your grown up’ or ‘who did you come here with this morning?’, or to the congregation ‘the adults who are collecting children should go now’, rather than just using ‘parents’ will mean a lot.
8. Be willing to adapt and change
Recognise that children who have been looked after will 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 your programmes, your routines, and your expectations to accommodate them, rather than expecting them to do so for you.
9. 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. Ensuring that these are kept updated and followed at all times will keep not only the children and young people safe, but will also protect those who serve in your children’s and youth ministries. For help and support with this, click here.
Home for Good believe in the power of prayer. Pray for foster carers and adopters in your church and their children, pray for the looked after children in your community, pray for the thousands of children across the UK who are waiting to be adopted, and please also pray for the ministry of Home for Good. But please, talk to foster and adoptive families in your church before praying publicly in your services, especially if you would like to pray directly for them, to ensure these prayers are appropriate for the family and the children in particular.
Thank you for all that you do to love and support foster carers, adopters, and their wonderful children.