A story from Hong Kong

Cadence Lam shares how her church’s ministry to vulnerable children has changed her life and her church

I’ve always had a heart for vulnerable children. The seed was planted back in 2008 when my husband (fiancé back then) and I went on a mission trip to Xining in Western China.

Fast forward to 2014. I was a mother to our first daughter and whenever I read the news I became saddened and angry at the situation vulnerable children in Hong Kong faced.

From talking to friends in the West, what I saw happening to vulnerable children in Hong Kong wasn’t too different to what they were seeing. Most vulnerable children became so because of family situations where parents were not able to care for them properly. In Hong Kong, we are seeing a lot more children become vulnerable as a result of addiction and challenging situations.

Generally, when parents can no longer take care of their children, the child could end up in an orphanage, small group home or a foster family. However, as there are not enough placements, sometimes the children would remain in their own homes at risk until there is a place for them to go to. We are seeing more babies who are stuck in hospitals because they have nowhere to go. 

As a new mother, it broke my heart to read such sad stories, knowing that children so young had to go through so much. I'm trained as a solicitor so I'd been thinking about how I could use my skills in this area.

In 2016, we had our second son and I left my job at the law firm. By this time, God had been stirring in my heart to foster so I could do something for the vulnerable children whose stories broke my heart.

‘Coincidentally’ during that year, various speakers who worked with vulnerable children came to our church to speak, and many other hearts were stirred.

Our senior pastor, Samuel Song, felt that we needed to start a ministry at church to address this issue. He knew that I had a heart for vulnerable children and asked me if I would join the staff team part-time to start this ministry.

When we launched, four other families came on board, and together we journeyed into the world of being foster families to vulnerable children. Just two and a half years later our church has 17 families welcoming vulnerable children into their homes.

These foster children have nothing, but they have been a blessing to our church and our biological children.

This ministry isn’t easy. A lot of us – including my family – are fostering for the first time and taking care of a young baby is challenging. We often have to rearrange our schedules and space (Hong Kong flats are tiny). We also need to prepare our families such that everyone is on board. Plus, saying goodbye is hard when the child moves on to their adoptive families.

God has also been challenging us to take in children with more complicated backgrounds. This means that their lengths of stay can be more unpredictable and this all has a big impact on our everyday lives.

But this is what God has called us to and we believe this is mandated in the Bible in verses like James 1:27 and Matthew 25:34-40.

And there have been so many moments of joy along the way. We have seen so much love in our church community and we’ve seen that spill out into the lives of those who don’t attend church.

When we had our first foster baby at church, our whole church community were so supportive. We were able to collate all the baby items within three days and have it delivered to the foster family.

When a foster child leaves our church to move on to their adoptive family, we often have a send-off prayer of blessing during Sunday service, inviting the adoptive family too.

One of our foster families had such a good relationship with the adoptive family that they asked the foster mother to be the child’s godmother. It was such a beautiful thing!

We have also seen the power of prayer. There were some delays in the adoption process of a particular group of children. There was a real possibility that these children could become stuck in the system indefinitely. Our group of intercessors started praying for God to move this mountain and after less than a year, we were told that all the children in that group had been matched with a family!

I have so much hope for the future of this ministry and can’t wait to see what God will do as we encourage more to step up and care for children with more complicated backgrounds. I would love to see mentors who can walk alongside the birth parents so that foster children can be reunited with their birth families in situations where that is possible.

I also hope that we can inspire other churches to care for vulnerable children in Hong Kong. Of course, their ministry may look very different, unique to the calling God has placed on each church. I think it would paint a beautiful picture of Hong Kong if different churches were known across the country for caring for vulnerable children.

Author:
Cadence Lam for Home for Good


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