Let the Foster and Adopted Children Come to Me
There’s a young mum crying in the church car park. She was told that her child is not welcome in Sunday school. The Sunday school teacher tried to be kind about it, but the child just wouldn’t sit still for the Bible story. He was naughty and disruptive. “I’m sorry. Perhaps you should consider going to another church that can better fulfill his needs.”
I wish I could tell you this is an isolated story, but sadly I have met quite a few foster parents who have been de-churched since they started to care for vulnerable children. I wish I could tell you that I find this easy to understand, that my sympathy is with over-worked and under-valued volunteer Sunday school teachers, of whom I know many. But I find it unacceptable that Christians who have stepped forward to demonstrate the mercy, compassion, and hospitality of God in one of the most transformative, costly, and missiologically compelling ways are often made to feel unwelcome in their own church families. It’s one of the reasons I am on a mission to change the way the church sees both the vulnerable children in our society and those who care for them.
Fortunately a growing number of churches are recognising that caring for vulnerable children is an essential part of the church’s responsibility. As I travel around churches in the UK and in the US, I have seen some stunning examples of churches supporting those who care in their congregations.
Based on those examples, I want to recommend five things church leaders can do to better support foster and adoptive families.