Why the answer to the UK's adoption and fostering needs ... could be the Church
Adoptive dad and foster parent KRISH KANDIAH explains why more Christians should consider opening their hearts and homes to vulnerable children ...
Adoptive dad and foster parent KRISH KANDIAH explains why more Christians should consider opening their hearts and homes to vulnerable children
1 It can change your world
We have only been foster carers for seven years, but it changed our world from day one.
We had three birth children already when we were approved, so we thought we knew a few things about parenting. But our eyes were quickly opened to the challenges and trauma that children in care have had to face.
As we heard the heart-breaking stories of addiction, chaos, abuse and neglect, it made us want to do everything we could to show these children something of God’s perfect love and kindness.
We have learned the power of therapeutic parenting and the impact of helping children to rebuild trust and form meaningful attachments.
This could have frustrated our birth children, but it has been a delight to see them grow in understanding, compassion, and care for their foster siblings.
Constantly juggling to meet everyone’s needs is hard work, but it has been an immense privilege to offer a loving home to some wonderful children.
Watching them develop physically, socially and emotionally is incredibly rewarding for everyone involved.
Yes, we have helped change the lives and futures of vulnerable children, but thanks to our foster children, our lives also have been changed and deeply enriched.
2 It can change your church
Our small church was used to praying for typical middle class concerns. But a growing passion for fostering and adoption has spread through it.
There are two adoptive families, and three fostering families, but this is the tip of the iceberg. Most of our church members express affection and interest in the lives of the adopted and fostered children and go the extra mile to provide toys, clothes and practical support.
They have helped us access appropriate medical treatment. They have laughed and cried with us.
They have prayed for the wider issues around poverty, deprivation, mental health, rehabilitation and neglect. They have committed themselves to supporting local struggling parents.
When we threw a farewell party for a little girl who had been with us for three years, half the church turned up and many were in tears when they left.
Despite having never said a word due to her disabilities, she had deeply impacted everyone with her loving nature, kind disposition and winning smile.
Our church has become a more loving and caring community because of its encounter with vulnerable children.
3 It can change our nation
Churches have developed a reputation for being judgemental hypocrites, saying and doing the wrong things at the wrong time.
But thanks to excellent initiatives like Foodbank, Street Pastors and Christians Against Poverty, things are beginning to change. Our local communities are seeing the love of God demonstrated practically through our churches.
Fostering and adoption has the potential to change our nation. Successful committed placements reduce the chance of scarred children turning to crime or drugs or becoming homeless, sectioned, or incarcerated later in life.
But we do not need to wait 18 years to make a national impact. Currently, there are 4,600 children waiting to be adopted.
Recruitment teams are desperate to find 9,000 more foster families to keep up with the growing numbers of children coming into care on a daily basis.
The Church can meet this entire national need.
Through Care for the Family, CCPAS (Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service) and the Evangelical Alliance, 15,000 churches are being asked to find one family in their congregation who can open their home for the good of vulnerable children. The church can then wrap around that family informed and committed encouragement and support.
What better way of showing the unconditional, sacrificial compassion of God than to open our hearts and homes to these children?
What a radical way to see change in ourselves, our churches, and our nation. Come and join us.
Together we can do this.
• Find out more from www.homeforgood.org.uk
Home For Good by Krish Kandiah with Miriam Kandiah, is published by Hodder and Stoughton, price £12.99