Foster caring has been one of the most difficult but one of the most rewarding things our family has done together. Welcoming children into our home when we know very little about what has happened to them in their past, and when we have little idea what the future holds is a painful privilege. Moving children who we have loved deeply on to their new, or sometimes old, families is another painful privilege. Whatever the circumstances, these children connect us to the heart of God who is Father to the Fatherless .
And not just us – but those around us too. As we said goodbye to one child, our church pastor put him on his shoulders and paraded him round the church while the little lad high fived every single person in the congregation. He was smiling while we were all crying.
We are all in this together and I have been so grateful for your support and interest over the years as my family first became involved in fostering and adoption, and then passionate about helping others to be part of it. Thank you to all of you who have followed the news of the Home for Good campaign as the Evangelical Alliance, Care for the Family and CCPAS have worked together to bring the urgent need for foster and adoptive families to the attention of the church.
Personally I am particularly grateful for the support that I have received from the Evangelical Alliance – there would not be anything like the momentum and energy developing across the UK church for Home for Good without the Alliance’s support, encouragement, commitment or energy towards the campaign. Staff have given selflessly of their time and energy, the Board and Council have been unequivocal in their help and enthusiasm for the initiative.
The Alliance is very good at developing campaigns like Home for Good. I have also been involved with initiatives like The Square Mile, Bible Fresh and Confidence in the Gospel. These campaigns tend to last just for a year or two. But as the amount of interest , support, momentum and passion for Home for Good has been overwhelming across the UK church, we have decided to take the step not to move on to something else, but to turn Home for Good into a stand-alone charity. (We are following in the footsteps of the amazing organisation TEARFUND which also started off as an EA initiative over 50 years ago).
More than 50 local authorities and fostering / adoption agencies have wanted to connect with us, I have been invited to speak to hundreds of social workers, attend meetings with the Department of Education, advise and speak at events run by British Association for Adoption and Fostering as well as make scores of media appearances to talk about this subject. Churches across the UK are beginning to catch a vision for this, the number “Home for Good” champions is growing, and the number of churches with support groups increasing. I frequently get emails from new families deciding to become foster carers or adopters because God has spoken to them through the Home for Good campaign.
As I look at the gifts and skills I have both in connecting faith to our day to day lives, and in commending the faith to outsiders, and also those experiences our family have had I can see that I have something to offer to this issue and so I am anticipating cutting down to half time with the Evangelical Alliance to be the Founding Director of the Home for Good charity. These are exciting and faith-building days as although we have sound financial advisors affirming the potential self-sufficiency of the charity, we have not yet secured funding for any of our set-up work and so we are reliant on donations and grants (click here if you would like to become a founding supporter) as we begin to help change the imagination and experience of the UK church on the issue of adoption and fostering and as a result find Homes for Good for all the vulnerable children that need one.
I hope that you are excited with me at this step, and that you will soon see the fruit of this project on your own doorsteps, as families in your church join in the journeys of fostering and adoption, and you experience first hand the privilege (and pain) of being part of a community that is invaluable in releasing the potential of children who have had a traumatic start in life.