November – Adoption awareness month
Everyone can play a role
by Amanda Preston, RSW – Home for Every Child
More than 1,000 children in BC are waiting for adoption; awareness is key in finding forever-families for these waiting children. Each year, more than 600 children age out of the foster care system, having never found their forever family. The future for children who age out of care can be wrought with many challenges including: suicide, mental health challenges, addiction, homelessness, and their own children entering the system in a vicious cycle. Even despite these staggering outcomes, we know that 34 percent of Christians have considered adoption, yet only one percent have followed through.
Myths continue to play a role in the low adoption rates, and a lack of knowledge leaves many fearful of the unknown. By attending an info session, many parents can discover that adopting out of foster-care is free, that single or married applicants can apply, you do not have to own your own home, you can be 19 or older, and there are children of all ages waiting. Training for special needs further supports potential adoptive parents and many local organizations offer pre and post-adoption assistance in various forms.
At Home for Every Child, we seek to provide awareness, advocacy, education and support for all things, adoption and foster care related. From awareness campaigns to recruitment, conferences, consultations and support groups, we aim to support families. Our post-adoption financial assistance offers grants for children’s needs once adopted, and our newest Respite Program will offer reprieve to the weary parent. Supporting adoptive families can make a huge impact in the life of a child and their family. Many children who are placed for adoption struggle with past trauma, special needs, and attachment challenges. Parenting requires a different approach and many times adoptive parents are left isolated and walking in the trenches alone. While not everyone can adopt, everyone can play a role! Support can look different for everyone but may include making meals, house cleaning, yard work, prayer, driving, renovations, donations, volunteering and the simple gesture of a listening ear. Adoptive parents are also desperate for respite support, and our newest program aims to offer just that!
This winter, we are excited to unveil two new initiatives as part of our Respite Program. The first, The Hangout, will offer a weekly/monthly outing with mentors for adoptive and foster youth aged 10-18. This group will provide a short respite break for parents while providing the opportunity for youth to build lasting peer relationships with others on the same journey. Events will include fun outings, cultural events and more! Our second initiative will include the recruitment and development of a respite provider database, coupled with specialized training for providers. This respite program will provide a much-needed break for adoptive families through a whole wellness approach for the entire family. We believe that, in order to pour into others, you must fill your own cup.
I encourage you to consider opening your home to a child through adoption. If adoption isn’t possible, then consider supporting a family instead. If you are interested in volunteering with our Hangout Program, or would like to sign up as a respite provider, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information on adoption, contact Home for Every Child or visit your local government website at www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/life-events/birth-adoption/adoptions/how-to-adopt-a-child/adopt-from-foster-care. If we each play a small role, we can move mountains together and find 1,000 families to care for these 1,000 waiting children. We can support adoptive parents who are stuck in the trenches alone, and we can provide supports for children who require them. – www.homeforeverychild.org
Every child needs a forever-family
by Kristjen Hull, Abba Canada Foundation
When my wife and I were first married in 2010, God began stirring our hearts towards children without families. He began to give us a strong burden to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves, and to walk out our mandate given to us in James 1:27 “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” – something that even if we tried to, we could not ignore.
We had been praying that God would “break our hearts for what breaks His.” and He did. We were no longer content to just feel bad when we saw a picture of an orphaned child. We realized that we have been given much, and therefore, much is required of us. Our dream became for every believer to become engaged with helping vulnerable children. As a result, this led us to become a couple of the initial founders of ABBA Canada Foundation in 2011, before we had even started our family. Sometimes we felt funny, speaking at conferences, running a ministry to help families in the process of adoption, sharing at churches about the value of adoption/fostering or just giving any kind of advice, when we hadn’t even experienced it for ourselves. But during this season, we were constantly brought back to our vision and dream for Canadian churches and Christians, when it comes to fostering and adopting. “Not everyone is called to, or will, adopt or foster, but every Christian is called to care for the widow and the orphan.” When we looked at it this way, it almost spoke our message louder, that we hadn’t been through the process itself, but were still able to play a part. It was a tangible way to show people, that you don’t need to be a foster or adoptive parent, to care for children in need of a family. In fact, you can be young, old, middle-aged, single, in a relationship, out of a relationship, married, not married, etc., etc. You get the picture! There is a role that every Christian can play to help an un-parented child, find their forever-family.
The call is clear in scripture, if we are a follower of Jesus, we are to care for the orphan. Jesus didn’t lay this out as one of many different ministries we could choose to be a part of, He said it would be something we would be known for, as followers of Him. The exciting part is, there are many ways to get involved and either support an adoptive or foster family, or support a ministry that supports these families. The need is also clear. There are approximately 30,000 children in Canada waiting for families and around 18 million adoptable children worldwide.
The bottom line is, children need permanent families and the world is a better place, when children are in families. Every child deserves a loving, permanent family. Most people would agree with this statement, but we believe, that as the Church, we are called to put this to action and demonstrate the love of Christ to the world around us, by our care for the most vulnerable.
ABBA Canada Foundation provides adoption grants up to $5,000 to help with the high costs of International or domestic adoptions. International adoptions can exceed $50,000, with domestic adoptions averaging around $15,000. An adoption grant for a family can be a huge financial help, but even more than that, it is the knowledge that the grant represents many Christians, whom they will never meet, that are standing with them and supporting them on their journey. – www.abbacanada.com