Home for Good, let’s talk long-term support for families

Home for Good, the Christian charity that encourages the church to get involved in adoption and fostering, has released a new, three-minute campaign video. It’s basically pretty good, but like many pro-adoption campaigns, it lacks a bit in addressing the longer term. And I think that’s a bit ironic, given the ‘for Good’ part of the organisation’s name.

Here it is.

What follows is a longer version of my comment on their Facebook post.

I love Home for Good

I’m a vocal campaigner for Home for Good. I’ve run an event with them at our previous church as an ‘adoption champion’. I love their message of inclusion and care for the vulnerable. But my lived experience and the rhetoric fail to match up. I love and support Home for Good (the sort of support that involves talking, doing stuff, and parting with cash), and I’m thankful that this video addresses this issue of the wider church family getting involved. But let’s widen the discussion. Let’s go beyond the welcome and think long-term support.

Home For Good Let's Talk Long-Term Support

I think it’s wonderful that the Kandiahs’ church has supported them and that there are other churches that do likewise. For every family having this great experience, my conversations with other Christian adopters suggest that there is at least one other family really struggling with church. I’ve shared our experience, and others left theirs in the comments of that post. This weekend Starfish and Me shared hers. The conversation continues often on Twitter (click through to see the replies to the tweet below). It is a widespread problem.

It is right to give raise awareness of the needs of vulnerable children and to advocate for them. But it is equally important to give attention and help to those who step up to care for them. It is only in supporting adoptive parents and foster carers that their caring is sustainable long-term.

Not just welcoming

It’s not just about welcoming children.

It’s about supporting the whole family for the duration of the placement(s), not just a lasagne when a child moves in.

It’s about being there for the school exclusions.

The child-on-parent violence.

The battles to get professional help for our children and young people.

The exhaustion.

The relentlessness.

I speak as a burnt-out adoptive mum of two, in contact with lots of other adopters in a similar situation. Church can be the hardest part of the week. I am an adoption champion and would love to continue to encourage others to adopt and foster, but the reality is that is incredibly hard, and often very lonely.

Adoption And Fostering Guide For ChurchesThe leaflet Home for Good have produced for churches is a great start. I recommend it wholeheartedly. But it needs to be read by the whole church. Not just by the children’s workers, the leadership team, or the pastoral care people.

But by the people who tut at the child who can’t sit still and at the parents who do things a bit differently.

The people who serve the coffee and don’t understand why the adopted child takes six biscuits.

The people who think they are great at support because they showed an interest at the start, but haven’t spoken to the family since.

And then we need to see some action. Not sure what to offer? Try starting with my 10 ways to help an adoptive family. But also ask, because we’re all individuals and I don’t claim to speak for everyone.

Let’s Talk

Please, let’s keep having this conversation – in the comments below, on social media, and in our offline discussions too. It’s not just about homes for children. Let’s support the carers too, and do it for the long haul. Or in other words, for good.


BEFORE YOU GO…

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4 Comments

  1. Jayne
    19 April 2017 / 2:46 pm

    Well said. I ipfind church quite isolating for same reasons you say. I have a couple of friends/families who really get it and support us. But that’s it. Child looked on as naughty not abused. It’s exhausting and after e year we had last year which nearly broke our marriage just due to the violenc from pre verbal trauma. You know the thing that shocked me the most, was lack of gifts or cards when our youngest came home forever (20 ish) compared to 100 ish when our eldest (not adopted) was born. I’d love a date night with my hubby but I’m too scared to ask anyone at church (we have no Grandparents or extended family help)

    • Hannah Meadows
      19 April 2017 / 8:42 pm

      Hi Jayne – I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time. You’re not the first person to comment on the vast difference between the welcome people give to adopted children and birth children – I hear that a lot. Twenty cards sounds about what we received when we adopted our two – and only one or two people sent flowers, not the houseful new parents often get when a child is born to them. I do hope you manage to work out a way to have a date night, and keep in touch so you feel less alone – there’s a great bunch of adoptive parents on Twitter.

  2. 16 October 2017 / 10:38 pm

    My children’s church community was really important to them and their foster family, but they lost it when they were adopted by us. I think there needs to be more thought about what faith and faith communities mean when children move and the connections that need to be maintained. We were told not to worry about their church as the children only attended for the craft group… we later found out it was far more important than this. We had been open about not being a church family and what this might mean during the matching process, we later discovered this resulted in the foster family concealing their faith during introductions (who told them to do this!). A valuable part of our children’s identity and community was lost to us and them. Trying to patch this up still….

    • 18 October 2017 / 6:54 pm

      I’m sorry you had this experience. I think our match was helped by our sharing the same faith as our children’s foster carers, though at panel we had an interrogation because they assumed that Christian = homophobic and we had to show otherwise. I think perhaps social workers could do with some faith literacy training to help avoid both our scenarios.

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