Category Archives: adoption

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Melbourne Calling

Dear friends, I am doing a number of international speaking trips in the next few months. Whenever I am travelling I am always keen to make connections with people who have a passion for working with vulnerable children. Last month I had a very helpful meeting in Cape Town with a whole bunch of people from a range of churches and agencies including Message Trust South Africa, Arise Ministries,  Hill Songs and Jubilee church. We met to explore what might be done to engage the church with the the huge fostering and adoption needs across the city. I shared a bit of the Home for Good story not that we might have a franchise in another country but just to see if it might spark a local movement that is appropriate for the South African context. We had a great conversation and I ask for your prayers as a fledgling network develops in Cape Town. Next month I am travelling in Australia with the National Youth Ministry Convention. I am going to be in Brisbane (6th of November) , Perth (8th of November  and Melbourne (10th of November). I will helping to equip youth leaders and workers in equipping young people for Anti-fragile faith by drawing on my book Paradoxology. If you know anyone that would be helped by this do encourage them to book in.

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The generous people at NYMC have pulled together a couple of meet ups form in Melbourne. The first is with  theological educators on the Novmber 10th I’ll be sharing a bit about London School of Theology and exploring partnership opportunities as well as picking the brains of my Australian friends on how they see the future of theological education.

In Melbourne and a special lunch to meet ministry leaders with a passion for working with vulnerable children and so we’ll be sharing the Home for Good story and again learning from those that come insights that will help our UK team in our work to find vulnerable children adoptive and foster families.

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If you can think of anyone that would like to come to that ( spaces are limited as there is food involved )please drop me an email or Facebook or Twitter message or post a comment below.

Finally on the way home I have some time in Singapore and will be doing some work with OMF there then meeting up with the Home for Good Singapore network. Again if you know someone that should be invited to our gathering let me know. Here are the details.

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Home for Good Singapore

You are invited to a special consultation with Vivienne Ng from Home for Good Singapore, Focus on the Family Singapore and Dr Krish Kandiah President of the London School of Theology (www.lst.ac.uk) and Founder and Director of Home for Good (www.homeforgood.org.uk) a brand new charity mobilising the UK Church to care for vulnerable children through adoption and foster care. Dr Kandiah has seen a huge response from the UK church to the need of vulnerable children with hundreds coming forward to provide loving homes for children who have experienced neglect and abuse.

On Tuesday the 11th of November  from 12-2 PM (at a downtown venue to be confirmed) Krish will sharing Home for Good story and looking to hear from the Singaporean Church and learning from their experience in this area. We are praying that from that conversation, we may be prompted to think together about how a similar movement might occur in our churches.

We are hoping for a small group of passionate and influential local leaders to participate in this informal conversation and would like to invite you to join us. Please do RSVP so that we can prepare appropriately. You may already be thinking of someone else you would like to invite – please do so! Feel free to share this invitation with other key leaders in the Church who are passionate about seeing vulnerable children in families. Just remember to help us by sending a quick RSVP to Alisa.choor@family.org.sg .

We are excited to see what God might accomplish through this gathering and what new networks and partnerships might form. Thank you for considering being a part of this event!

Photo CC fromhttps://www.flickr.com/photos/ethanhunt2009/

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Can you Spare Two Minutes?

The Home of Good charity that we have founded is calling the church to reconsider putting adoption and fostering centre stage as part of our calling to serve the world. Our aim is to help the whole church: young and old, married and single to know that we need to respond to the needs of the vulnerable children in our communities who need new families. Sometimes our job as a charity is to shine a light on what is already being done by families in the churches and making sure they get the practical support they need. Sometimes we are challenging congregations to open its eyes to the children in need around them. Sometimes we are calling the Christians to refuse to turn a blind eye while children in our towns and cities suffer.

Help us put adoption on the map by taking part in adoption Sunday. Its very simple thing to get involved with. Here are five things you could do –  any one of which would be a great way to get involved.

1) Two minute  Option

Could your church pray on adoption sunday for more adopters and foster carers?  Simply pray as part of your regular Sunday celebration.

2) Two and half minute Option

Could you show our amazing new Adoption Sunday Video? Just sign up on the Home for Good website and we will send you a link.

3) Five Minute Option

Why not interview someone in your congregation who has adopted, fostered or was fostered or adopted as a child.

4) 15 minute Option

Why not show the new Home for Good video and then do our all age children’s activity in the #AdoptionSunday pack.

5) 30 minute Option

Show the Home for Good video and then use our #AdoptionSunday sermon included in the pack.

Sign up here to get hold of the exciting Free adoption Sunday pack. 

This Sunday I will be in my home town of Brighton and speaking alongside Joel Virgo on Adoption at there three satellite sites of Church of Christ the King.  

Would love to see you there. Click here for details. 

Photo adapted from Nicksie 

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Home for Good South Africa

Arise, Adopt Love, and The Message Trust are hosting an afternoon of collaborative learning with Krish Kandiah President of the London School of Theology (www.lst.ac.uk) and Founder and Director of Home for Good (www.homeforgood.org.uk) a brand new charity mobilising the Church to care for vulnerable children through adoption and foster care.

On Saturday 27 September from 2-4 PM, Krish will be at the Arise Family Centre in Heideveld to share the Home for Good story and hear from the South African Church and learn from our experience. We are praying that from that conversation, we may be prompted to think together about how a similar movement might occur in our churches.

We are hoping for a small group of passionate and influential local leaders to participate in this informal conversation and would like to invite you to join us. Please do RSVP to info@arisecapetown.org.za so that we can prepare appropriately. You may already be thinking of someone else you would like to invite – please do so! Feel free to share this invitation with other key leaders in the Church who are passionate about seeing children in families. Just remember to help us by sending a quick RSVP to info@arisecapetown.org.za.

To reach Arise, it is generally best to exit the N2 at Duinefontein Road toward Heideveld, then take the first right into Ascension Road, the first right again before a Shell garage into Postern Road which bends 90 degrees, then the first right into Groenberg Road. We are immediately on the left at the first gate on the grounds of St. Thomas Church. The physical address is 68 Groenberg Road, Heideveld, if you will be using a GPS.

We are excited to see what God might accomplish through this gathering and what new networks and partnerships might form. Thank you for considering being a part of this event!

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The Evacuation Spirit

It was the “biggest and most concentrated mass movement of people in Britain’s history.” It began on the 31st of August  1939 saw around 3 million people move from the dangers of the cities to rural towns and villages to escape the Nazi bomb attacks.  It was codenamed “Operation Pied Piper. ”  Four days later Britain declared war on Germany and World War Two began. This year marks Operation Pied Piper’s seventy-fifth anniversary.  As they boarded trains travelling out of their home cities, the children did not know if they would ever see their parents again. Yet on reaching the countryside, they were received by families who opened their homes, often at considerable sacrifice. For many from poor inner-city homes, it was their first experience of a healthy, well-nourished life. 13854_s

Three quarters of a century later, we must rediscover the welcoming generosity of Operation Pied Piper. We do not face air raids, but today there are thousands of children who need homes and families. In England alone there are six thousand children waiting for adoption and another eighty-six hundred need foster care. In 1939, even men and women who could scarcely afford it welcomed children – many from difficult backgrounds – into their homes. We need that spirit today. We need women and men who will step forward and put the needs of the vulnerable children in our towns and cities first and look to see if they could be the parents that these children need in their lives.

Borison Johnson, Mayor of London agrees and offered Home for Good the following quotation:

The Second World War saw children in their thousands evacuated from the capital and taken into the care of families around the country. The 75th anniversary of Operation Pied Piper is an opportunity to remember the kindness of those who willingly provided a safe haven for those young Londoners. It should also remind us that thousands of youngsters today, in the capital and across the country, are also in need of a loving home and I urge more people to consider fostering and adoption to help them get the start in life they deserve.
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London​

We also have been gifted this amazing replica poster by graphic designer: Katie Frearson. Of course fostering and adoption is offering more than a spare room to a vulnerable child. This is a replica of an evacuation poster – evacuees needed more than a spare room they needed love and security too. The poster is designed to be a bit provocative – hopefully not offensive – to make people look at their lives and homes and see if there is room for them to show the hospitality that vulnerable children need.Home_For_Good_Poster_A3_2_pdf That’s why we have started up Home for Good. Seeking to help find loving homes for vulnerable children in the UK. Today; 1st of September 2014 marks the first day that Home for Good exists as its own organisation.

I wonder if you might help us commemorate this day and this important anniversary by being one of  75 regular donors to set up a standing order to help us find the finances we need to change the culture in the church and the nation on fostering and adoption

Already we have seen amazing things happening: We have managed to put the message of adoption and fostering face to face to over a hundred thousand people. We saw generous donors help us find the £30 000 start up costs we needed to get going. We saw 200 churches take part in the first ever adoption Sunday last year.  In 2013, churches in Southampton set out to find 40 new foster placements for the City Council. In one year, more than 70 people applied to become foster carers. We are now working with groups of churches and local authorities in towns and cities throughout the UK to run similar campaigns. I have met literally hundreds of Christians who are fostering and adopting children who are grateful for Home for Good’s championing of this opportunity. We are delighted by the response we have seen already.

So will you stand with us as we help every child that needs one to find a Home for Good.  Click here to be part of way we, together can make a difference. 

 

To celebrate Home for Good launch day. I am giving a way a bundle of Home for Good and Paradoxology RT the tweet below for a chance to win.

 

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#Pray4Dawkins

Poor old Richard Dawkins. I am thinking about starting a new Twitter campaign #pray4dawkins. He has landed himself in yet another social media storm. But this time I couldn’t let it pass. So forgive me if I rant a little…

Hot on the heels of comments about date rape and his refusal to back down when challenged on Twitter, he has now offered parenting advice to any that will listen.

 

Look at the following Twitter exchange:

 

Notice the tone of the tweet.

Abort it – cleverly dehumanising the foetus. It’s not a person, but an object. Not murder, just termination.

But the kicker comes in the next line – it would be immoral to bring it into the world. Well at least he isn’t arguing for a consumeristic situational ethics: ‘If you don’t fancy raising a child with a genetic abnormality then chose for yourself.’

No, Dawkins has no place for this kind of relativism. He asserts categorically that it is immoral. So anyone who has carried a child with Down’s Syndrome to term and lovingly cared for the child until adulthood and often beyond as many people with Down’s Syndrome do not go on and live independently, has been immoral.

Dawkins shows his true colours. It reminds me of Friedrich Neitzsche’s book The AntiChrist where he criticises Christianity for resisting the will to power by instilling pity and compassion for the weak and the needy.

For example Neitzsche writes: “Pity preserves things that are ripe for decline, it defends things that have been disowned and condemned by life, and it gives a depressive and questionable character to life itself by keeping alive an abundance of failures of every type.”

It wasn’t long ago that Dawkins was arguing that religion was a virus of the mind and his friend Christopher Hitchens argued that religion poisons everything. Today we saw another side to life without God: human beings reduced to biology, people discarded if they don’t measure up to a certain standard.

Dawkins once described God as the worst villain in all fiction because Dawkins misunderstood Old Testament texts, thinking they promoted genocide. Well there’s a gaping inconsistency that sees Dawkins advocating genocide – wiping out anyone with an additional Chromosome 21. Sounds like if Dawkins had his way 40 000 residents of the UK who have Downs would not be in the world – that sounds a lot like genocide to me.

Dawkins argued in later tweets that autistic people should not be terminated because they are able to contribute to society.

How benevolent of him.

We are back to the utilitarian balloon debates and Dawkins is in charge of the seating arrangements. How do we judge who has made a contribution? If we are to be judged by our contribution to society I haven’t come across that many people whose lives have been made better because Dawkins has been involved whereas I had the privilege of being the foster parent to a beautiful young girl who had Down’s Syndrome. We poured love into her life from when she was only a few days old until she was three. When the time came for her to move on to adoption we hosted a party in our house and more than 80 people came. There were many tears as she left because so many people in our small town had had their lives enhanced because this little girl had touched them. But even if she hadn’t of made other people’s lives better, I believe every life is valuable irrespective of their utility. See a piece I wrote for World Downs Syndrome Day. 

Which other genetic groups should be eradicated from the planet? Perhaps Dawkins would argue that brown people should be next because they don’t make as great a contribution to society as white people? He did recently declare that Trinity College in Cambridge had more Nobel Prize’s than the entire  Muslim population. Perhaps we should IQ test in vitro and see if they measure up before we permit them to be born? Which other genetic abnormalities need to be purged from the gene pool? Dawkins once argued that we are DNA replicating machines – I am guessing people with a homosexual orientation don’t farewell under a Dawkins fuelled eugenics programme either as its hard to argue they will make good DNA replicators. I have always wondered how Dawkins managed to reconcile “survival of the fittest” with universal human rights, I guess we are finding out now.

Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
Article 3 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Another disciple of Neitzsche’s nihilism managed to get enough power to put these notions into action 75 years ago. I for one will be doing everything I can to make sure that all children born into this world find a loving home – atheists are welcome to help if they can find a way to live better than Dawkins’ philosophy suggests. I will #pray4dawkins that he “goes away and learns how to” love.

Ok that last bit might have gone too far, I do want to engage with Dawkins, my anger of his upside down morality not withstanding. I genuinely call those who are up for it to #pray4dawkins – no one has strayed too far to know the compassion of God.

 

Photo credit (CC) Annikaliegh Flickr

 

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 You might like this post on “5 Reasons Why Dawkins Should Know Better”. 

 

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5 reasons why Adoption Sunday Matters

Last year we were delighted to have 200 churches take part in the UK’s first ever national Adoption Sunday . This year on 2nd of November we’d love to see 300 join in. Here are 5 reasons we’d love you and your church to take part.

1. Our adoption into God’s family is such a wonderful privilege.

I can think of no higher privilege than knowing that we are welcomed into God’s family through the sacrificial death of God’s own son. Strangely we hardly ever talk about it – here’s an opportunity to remind every Christian that they are adopted and why that matters.

2. The church is called to care for vulnerable children

Caring for the needy is not something that the church can outsource. God told his people what kind of religion he is looking for  “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress” James 1.27 (cf Isaiah 1 too).  So we the church cannot abdicate our responsibility of caring for those in need – particularly the most vulnerable: children and the elderly. 

3. Our nation has 6000 children who need a forever family

It is a national shame that 6000 children are left behind in the care system and deemed “hard to place” – as the adopted people of God  adoption should be at the heart of what we do as churches. Adoption Sunday is a way to put this need in front of the whole church.

4. We need to change the church’s imagination on adoption

Adoption and fostering is not on the radar for many Christians – its seen to be someone else’s problem. If we are going to help the church get a vision for finding families to step up to the challenge and also to help the rest of the church family to wrap around and support them. We need to expose people that don’t yet know they are interested to the challenge and opportunities. So by taking part in adoption Sunday we help to shape the imagination of the whole church on this issue.

5.  If we say we care about justice we must care about children in care

I am delighted the church is stepping up to engage with poverty through things like Street Pastors, CAP, Foodbank and Prison ministry. This is wonderful. There are wonderful examples of these initiatives leading to deep and meaningful relationships. But sadly sometimes this can be limited to a passing acquaintance with the poor when we serve them as clients at a drop in centre. Fostering and adoption takes things to another level where the poor become family with us. The poor stop being an anonymous passing crowd – but instead become little Jonny that we share our breakfast with, little Shabira who comes on holiday with us, or Ali who we help to find a job when he leaves school.

Here’s what you can do

– sign up for the FREE ADOPTION SUNDAY PACK
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 look out of the new Home for Good video coming our later in the summer – here’s last year’s as a taster.

– spread the word so that more churches get involved this year so we can find more homes for children that need them.

Will your church be taking part in Adoption Sunday 2014? from Evangelical Alliance on Vimeo.

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This man is a legend

There are some guys you meet and you know you are going to be friends for a long time, Phil is one of those kinds of guys. He is the kind of guy you want on your pub quiz team not only is he brilliant at banter but he knows his 1980s music trivia.

Phil works as a teacher in his local secondary school. He’s an avid music fan and has spent his youth writing to music magazines and going to concerts. Phil helped to set up and run an innovative youth programme called Kidzclub in Liverpool which saw hundreds of children; many from challenging backgrounds coming together for fun, games and to discover more about the Christian faith. Phil’s wife Helenor works as a solicitor and for social services and felt called to make a difference with many of the children she was working with in her job by becoming a foster carer. Phil admits that he had no plans to become a foster carer but initially got involved because of his wife’s enthusiasm. 3 years in and Phil believes fostering is one of the best things he has done in his life so far. He gets a real buzz knowing that the love he is able to pour into the lives of the foster children in his care has such an impact on their lives. Saying goodbye as foster children move on to adoption is one of the toughest parts of the foster carer’s roles but when sadly one of their children’s adoption broke down Phil and his wife have decided to step forward to adopt him. Phil and Helenor are spreading the word about fostering and adoption by running a city wide initiative to encourage more Christians to think about adoption and fostering – called Home for Good Liverpool.

You can hear Phil speaking here:

Father’s Day 2014: You know what a foster carer looks like, don’t you? from Evangelical Alliance on Vimeo.

 

Phil is going to be on local radio stations across the UK on Sunday; Father’s Day speaking about being a foster dad and the Home for Good campaign. Tune in and cheer him on!

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Local Hero

When I arrived at his house I had to double check the address. This was a very rough part of town and I was going to meet a High Court Judge. But Sir Mark Hedley is no ordinary judge. 

He has lived in a poor part of Liverpool for over 45 years having arrived  in the city i to study law. at Liverpool University.  Mark  became a Barrister in 1969 and right from the start developed a passion to help people who find it difficult to get access to justice. He helped to set up a free legal advice centre in the area and moved his family into the area sending his children to local state schools. He  sought to live out his Christian beliefs by living and serving in one of the less affluent parts of Liverpool.

He was appointed as a circuit judge for the Northern Circuit in 1992 and then he served as a High court judge from 2002 until 2013.

Mark and his wife Erica felt called to become foster carers and now have more than 30 years of experience. They had birth children that grew up alongside the children they fostered and they have ended up adopting two of their foster children who had additional needs.

I was impressed from the moment I met Sir Mark. Here is a man who cares passionately about his local area, who wants to turn his Christian confession into Christian service whatever the cost.

Mark breaks so many of the stereo types that I come across when I mention the words “fostering” to men. People seem to think fostering is for working class people or that it is somehow “women’s work” Sir Mark Hedley, High Court Judge and local hero breaks all of those stereotypes – maybe you should think about changing your views on who can foster? Is it something you are called to do?

Check out this inspiring film of men who are making a difference in the lives of vulnerable children. See here for more information.

Father’s Day 2014: You know what a foster carer looks like, don’t you? from Evangelical Alliance on Vimeo.

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Fathers for the Fatherless

Fathers Day is a great marketing opportunity for pen knife manufacturers , greeting card producers and mens hosiery. It’s not an age old festival having only been created in the 20th century to complement Mother’s Day but I want to make a plea that we need to make the most of it .

I know it can be a sensitive time for people who have grown up without a Dad or even worse with an abusive father. I know it can be difficult for single people and childless couples who may be mourning the lack of opportunity to be a father. But nevertheless I want to make a plea that we make the most of it this weekend. Here are three reasons:

1. God is our Father

Despite their being some terrible father’s in the Bible story God is not ashamed to call himself a Father. The problem comes when we project our experience onto God – for example someone might say – “I had a terrible father so God must be like my dad.” That way of thinking is not a helpful way to approach God  – God is not just a projection or an extension of our understanding of things. God is the defining centre.  So God sets the example of what true Fatherhood is like, just like Jesus sets the example of what true humanity is like.  This Sunday we should take the time to enjoy and celebrate what it means for all of us to know God as our Father and offer everyone the opportunity to get to know him.

2. It’s not too late to become a father

Of course if you are going to talk about the Fatherhood of God that is something that every Christian can claim only because of God’s adoption of us. We have been given the right through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection on our behalf.

“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.”

Galatians 4:4-5

God’s decision to adopt us into his family was driven not by any inner need in the godhead but rather was driven God’s compassion for our plight as vulnerable children (see Galatians 4:3-4). In the same way with so many children waiting in care for adoption – 100 000 children in the USA ; 30 000 in Canada and 6000 in the UK. There are plenty of opportunities for us to become an adoptive or father or at least to offer support to others who are seeking to foster or adopt vulnerable children.

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Spike was a Tornado Squadron leader now works as a Airline Pilot and Foster dad.

3. God calls us all to care for the Fatherless

Having been loved by God with unconditional adopting love. Should we not pass this grace and privilege on to others? God describes himself as “Father to the Fatherless” so those of us who claim to be his followers should be prepared to be the same for the Fatherless children in our neighbourhoods? Please help us to spread the word about this through our Father’ day church resource pack. 

Men, this Sunday as we celebrate Father’s Day, as we recognise God’s Fatherly love to us would you consider playing your part in a vulnerable child’s life?

Take a look at this little video on what it means to be a foster father.

Father’s Day 2014: You know what a foster carer looks like, don’t you? from Evangelical Alliance on Vimeo.