Ask us to share the work of Home for Good and our local movement in your church! Whether its 5 mins or 20 mins we’d love to come and talk within your church service or event.
With 40,000 children coming into the UK care system every year, it’s an important time for the Church to get behind the need. Some children may need a temporary home (fostering) while assessments and decisions are made. They may return to their birth families, however when reunification is not possible children then need a forever home (adoption) Unless you you know someone who has fostered or adopted you may have never even considered the awful lives that many children are experiencing. Children from newborn-teenagers are coming into care because of the chaotic, traumatic, abusive and neglectful and desperate circumstance they experiences in their birth homes. We want to raise the profile of these vulnerable children in the hope that more Christian will consider if they could provide the much needed homes these children need. The local authority and agencies can promote generally within our county but can’t easily reach faith groups to promote the local need. We can. And we can also identify links between our faith and how we are called to care for the the vulnerable in our communities. Home for Good believes the Church is well placed to find new homes for those who need them and to support families that foster and adopt. Parenting children who have experienced such trauma in their early years is rewarding but not necessarily easy. Christian carers will have the advantage of a network within their church who can pray and support through their journey. Ask us to share the work of Home for Good and our local movement in your church? Whether its 5 mins or 20 mins we’d love to come and talk within your church service or event. Come to one of our information events? We plan regular information events across the county, throughout the year, where we those interested can learn more and listen to carers/adopters stores and ask questions. We need buildings to hold these in and networks of churches to help promote these events. Working together with local churches we can raise awareness and find more families. Sign up here if you would like us to speak at your church or learn about our next information event near you!
Equipping Churches Home for Good believes the Church is well placed to find new homes for those who need them. But it’s essential that the whole church family wrap around those who foster and adopt to support them. Children need a loving and stable home but the church can help make children feel a sense of belonging and acceptance. We have heard stories of how churches can be such a support:
‘Our church prayed for us throughout our assessment’ ‘My church brought us meal when our children first came home’ ‘Members of our church came and sat with our poorly newborn so that we could have our ‘date night’, a meal just for me and my husband once a week’ ‘We were offered loads of equipment and clothes from members of our church’ ‘We needed a suitable pram/car seat quickly and were loaned one straight away’
The church can be a source of tremendous support for adoptive, foster, kinship and special guardians families but it can also be a place where they or their children feel misunderstood, isolated or even criticised. Sunday morning can be the most difficult time of the week for families that foster and adopt. The struggle it takes to get the family to the service can be exhausting, but once there, the disapproving looks, the tuts or an unhelpful comment, can make them wonder if its worth it. ‘Church is a difficult place to bring my boys, as they have attachment issues and don’t fit the norm’ ‘Our three foster children have been with us for two years now. They regularly come to church with us but no one has ever inited them round to play with their children’ Why do adoptive and foster families need support? The majority of children placed in foster, adoptive, kinship or special guardian care have been removed from their birth families by children’s services for their own safety, not freely given up. Therefore most of the children have experienced abuse and neglect of some kind. Many will suffer lifelong effect from their birth mother using drugs and excessive alcohol during pregnancy. Others will have disabilities and conditions such as autism. 68% have special educational needs. For many of us, if we think about it at all, we might still image adoption as a baby given up at birth – and a happy ending but these children early experiences have caused their brain connections to be formed differently. They need therapeutic parenting to help them recover, which can take a lifetime. Love and stability is or course what is essential but that alone is sometimes not enough – please don’t think because children have been with adopters for a few years that ‘surely they should be all right now!’ All children who have come into care will have suffered multiple moves, disruption and loss. For many this will have had an negative impact on their attachment, resulting in an Attachment disorder. Attachment disorder describes a variety of behaviours which many arise after a child has lost their ‘primary carer’ or has experienced neglect in their early years. Children can become overly anxious, desperate to do anything not to be abandoned again. Some express their chaotic feelings in chaotic behaviour. Others turn in their own pain and withdraw, unable to relate to other. Caring for their children can be other physically and mentally exhausting, placing strain on marital relationships. This stress can be ongoing or come and go in waves. Some adopters and foster families may not experience any of these difficulties. Tips …
- Think about how you address the families. Foster families are usually know to the children by their first names however adoptive parents are usually know as mum and dad! To be inclusive it might be helpful to adopt ‘finding your grown up or the adult who brought you‘, if the children are returning after a children’s group/sunday school.
- Try to look beyond the ‘naughty’ behaviour. You will probably see a child who is frightened, anxious or overwhelmed
- Avoid asking personal questions in front on the children
- Mother’s Day and father’s Day celebrations can be a painful time for families.
- Use birth parents rather than ‘real’ mum/dad.
- Try not to judge how we are parenting. Often adoptive and foster children have a delayed social and emotional skills so we therefore have to treat them and react accordingly. We may be adopting practices you feel are babyish and inappropriate e.g still bottle feeding an older child, still using a dummy or playing baby games but sometimes they have missed out on those experience and they need to go back and fill in the gaps.
- Train your youth and children’s workers.
- Pray with and for families.
- Offer practical help – meals, ironing, baby-sitting, DIY
We are happy to come and talk to churches about how they can be more inclusive and welcoming. We also provide children and youth training. complete the form below to let us know how we can help!
Getting Churches involved
What is a Home for Good Church?
Home for Good Churches are those that want to join a national movement of UK churches that are passionate about their call to care for vulnerable children. They want to commit regularly to pray for children in care, foster carers, kinship carers, Special Guardians and adopters and the work of Home for Good. They will also consider how they can financially support Home for Good. These churches will be welcoming places for families who foster or adopt and those cared for by kinship carer or special guardians. They will understand the needs of vulnerable children, making sure that the children’s and youth provision is inclusive and their safeguarding practices are robust and effective. Home for Good Churches will be encouraged to think of practical ways to support the local movement. Is your church:
- passionate about helping vulnerable children in your community?
- wanting to be a welcoming and supportive environment for families who foster, adopt or provide kinship care?
- excited about supporting the Home for Good vision to find a home for every child who needs one?
Get in touch with us to see how we can work together. Find out more about Home for Good Churches https://www.homeforgood.org.uk/get-involved/churches/become-home-good-church/sign
Home for Good in Suffolk
Currently we have 12 Home for Good Churches in Suffolk
- St Augustine’s, Ipswich
- Stour Valley Vineyard Church, Sudbury
- Clare Baptist Church, Clare
- Southgate Church, Bury St Edmunds
- Colchester Road Baptist Church, Ipswich
- Lowestoft Community Church
- Garland Street Baptist Church
- St Mary’s Haverhill
- Greenfinch Church, Ipswich
- Bradford and Rougham Baptist Church, Bury St Edmunds
- Hope Church, Ipswich
- Rushmere Baptist Church
What can I do?
- Invite us to come and speak at your church service or event
- Help promote our information events through your social media and church notices
- Take part in Adoption Sunday, Mothers Day or Fathers day Campaigns
- We’d love to have named person, we call a ‘Champion’ in each church
- Signpost carers/adopters you know so they can connect with our groups and events
- Sign up to received our news bulletin with prayer points
- Include adoptive and foster families in your prayers
- Give practically e.g. offer your buildings for our events and Connect Groups, provide refreshments for out events.
- Give financially e.g consider tithing to us or supporting our fundraising activities