One of the best ways to find families for children waiting for adoption in foster care is to connect with people in the community increase awareness of the issues surrounding their experiences. While Barker is not religiously affiliated, churches in the area are in a great position to not only increase awareness around the needs of children in foster care, but can help create a positive adoption culture within their congregations and communities.
Here are 5 ways churches can support foster care and adoption:
1. Speak about foster care and adoption from the pulpit regularly.
Ministers have the opportunity to advocate for these families by speaking with their congregations regarding what Scripture says about adoption. Help to make connections with how adoption correlates with the Gospel as Christians have been adopted into the family of God. Ministers may talk with their congregations about the call Christians have to care for orphans and to be there for those who are oppressed and in need. One way to do this in the local church is through National Adoption Month which takes place every November. This time each year provides a consistent opportunity to celebrate adoption, share stories, and advocate from the pulpit.
2. Encourage your congregants to prayerfully consider becoming a foster or adoptive parent in their own lives.
By praying this prayer, Christians have the ability to radically reduce the overwhelming amount of children currently in the foster care system in America. However, ministers must be mindful to not only encourage these parents to foster and/or adopt. Many churches are effective at encouraging their congregants to pray about and pursue foster care and adoption, yet fail to supply proper support for those who follow God’s lead in this calling. Some ways to do this include equipping potential foster parents with the necessary training, advocating for foster children/parents, providing needed financial resources, and making available educational materials. The local church ought to support these families throughout this sacred journey through practical provision.
3. Support foster and adoptive parents tangibly.
Many foster children are placed in a home with little to no belongings. As these foster and adoptive parents open their homes to children in need, the needs of these families increase. In these cases, local church has the opportunity to provide for physical needs that these children may have including school supplies, toiletry items, clothes, food, and financial concerns. In addition, the local church may support these families through practical services such as providing meals, mowing lawns, providing tutoring, and offering prayer ministry. These are all ways in which to offer post-adoption support for families who have answered God’s call on their lives to care for these children.
4. Provide respite for foster and adoptive parents through childcare.The local church may provide respite care through practical means such as recruiting people to become licensed as respite families assigned to one particular family, offering respite mornings during the day at church, and providing a Parents Night Out quarterly at the church. Ministers may encourage their congregants to become certified to provide childcare for foster children. Local foster care agencies will often provide certification courses which include CPR training. Ideally, each foster family would have several families in their lives to provide this sort of respite support, but often times they have no one. Ministers may promote that congregants find a foster family and become certified through their local foster agency. In doing so, they may support this family by allowing the parents to occasionally have a date night, time to run errands without children, practice self-care activities, or be available in times of emergencies.
5. Make connections within your community.
The local church may identify the foster care and adoption agencies in their church’s surrounding community. Take the opportunity to contact these organizations to find out ways in which your church can partner with them. Some ways in which this may be done could be through raising money to support the agency’s mission or to host trainings or workshops at the church’s facilities. Also, the local church may build a relationship between the church and the agency to make them known as a resource.
If you are a part of any place of worship that can host us to table in the lobby, distribute brochures, or present a workshop about older child adoption and the needs of children in foster care, please contact Alex Williams, Outreach Specialist at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 301-664-9664
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