Supporting foster and adoptive families: 10 things that really make a difference

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 family is ideally placed to offer this wrap around support.

Here are 10 things that you can do that will really make a difference:

1. Pray

Home for Good believes in the power of prayer and the transformational and restorative work of God. 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.

2. Be a friend to the foster carers and adopters in your church

Let them know you care and are praying for them. Send an encouraging text. Buy them flowers or something practical the family can use, like a cinema or bowling voucher. Sit with them in church, even if their child is screaming. Come alongside them in a considerate and loving way. 

3. Listen, but don’t expect all the information

Like any parent, all foster carers and adopters will sometimes need someone who will listen to them, especially when things are tough. If they trust you to be that person, listen with love and care, but respect that there will be some things they cannot share. Don’t probe them with questions, especially about the history of the children in their care, and understand that there are some things that will need to remain confidential.

4. Learn children’s names, but never use them on social media

It means a lot when you remember children’s names, to the foster carers and adopters, but also to the children when they’re old enough to engage with you. But these names are precious and it may be that for their safety, the whereabouts of these children needs to be protected. Don’t use these names in a public forum, especially on social media, and if you are privileged enough to have photographs, share them only with the carers or adoptive parents.

5. 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 visit the house to play with a younger child while the carer is helping an older child with homework. Also consider how you can help a family with birth children, especially during times of transition, as they may well appreciate the offer of babysitting or trips out.

6. Be 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. For more information and to become a champion, click here.

7. 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.

8. Be willing to adapt and change

Recognise that 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 your programmes, your routines, and your expectations to accommodate them, rather than expecting them to do so for you.

9. Find out more and keep on learning

Read the Home for Good book or come along to one of our regional events or our annual national Summit to equip you to understand and help even further!

10. Never, ever, ever give up

Foster carers are committed to their children and will stick with them for as long as they need a home, and parents who adopt are building a forever family for their children, faithfully loving 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.

Thank you for all that you do to love and support foster carers, adopters, and their wonderful children.

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