I believe the greatest need in the adoption movement today is a greater emphasis on caring for those families and children who have been adopted or fostered from hard places. I, along with a growing number of other adoption/foster professionals, feel that too many families are adopting and fostering without the support they need pre- and post. Many of the children that are being adopted and fostered come from difficult places and they enter their new family with deep needs. Love is not enough. They need special care and they need it not only from their family but from their church community. Love is not enough. Providing them a family is not enough. They need a family and a community that will understand their pain and story and be willing to enter into it and be used of God to bring healing.
While more and more churches are calling their people to step out in faith to adopt and foster there is just as much need for them to call their people to count the cost and to provide the care they need when the child is home.
I see this included in the very passage we use to call people to adopt – James 1:27 says that “pure and undefiled religion before God the father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction.”
We do a disservice to adoptive and foster families if we are not helping them understand what that “affliction” means. We further disservice them by not doing everything we can to learn and understand and support them in entering that “affliction.” They cannot do it alone.
There has been a growing sense that this is needed and I am so thankful for the work of many out there to provide resources. In particular I think of what Dr. Karyn Purvis has done. Along with Michael and Amy Monroe she has just released a 16 video series (developed in partnership with the TCU Institute of Child Development) offering seven insights and seven gifts that are highly relevant for those who are parenting or considering adopting or fostering children from hard places.
ETC is also developing a discussion guide for this video series, which will be available in May 2010.
Watch the first video below and click the link below for the rest.
Watch the rest of the videos here.
oh how I agree! My sister and her husband have two foster daughters that they hope to adopt but these poor girls have went through so much in their life that one of them is going through some CRAZY things right now where as I type this, they are on their way to the psyche ward with their foster daughter. Families do need help afterwards! Thanks for writing this!
Very true man! In fact, I have had several conversations about this specific subject in the last few weeks, specifically dealing with offering greater pre-training and post adoption services to families that adopt foster children here in Texas. It is not enough to just match a family with a child. The true service is surrounding that family and offering services long term as they walk through that integration of their family. This is definitely at the forefront of a lot of agencies minds and advocates minds. Thanks for high lighting it in your article.
Great post. My husband and I recently adopted two Haitian girls, 10 and 16. Thankfully someone directed us towards http://www.beyondconsequences.com and it’s been a life saver. We are raising special needs children. They’re not in wheelchairs, leg braces, nor are they blind or deaf but they are deeply wounded from years and years of rejection. In order to offer them unconditional love in their affliction, we have to be on the receiving end of unconditional love, both from God and from others. Thank you for communicating this in such a way to make me think differently about how much support I really need as an adoptive mother.
Please also look at http://www.attachment.org – While I know Heather disagrees with Nancy, I personally have found Nancy’s methods to be excellent and very valuable to the child – we have a child with RAD.
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I didn’t know you had a blog. Excited to keep up with this.
Thanks for all the work you do.
Amen! This is the most pressing issue I see in adoption – too many families fall apart when they realize that their dream of adopting has turned into a nightmare reality. It’s alot like a wedding vs a marriage…sounds like a blog post doesn’t it? I better get writing!
Thanks for all the great comments! Dorothy – I think you are on to something with the wedding vs marriage illustration. Definitely have to blog that!
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I posted just recently about my frustration with the adoption industry and it’s extremes. I think more education and support going into adoption is needed and DEFINITELY more after. His Heart for Orphans, the adoption ministry of Healing Place Church, where I am involved, is starting the Karen Purvis teachings next month for families. I’m very excited.
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AMEN!!! Every person/family that is not called to adopt by bringing a child in their home needs to find a family that has adopted and ask them what they need. True Religion doesn’t require bringing the orphan/widow into your home – it says caring for them – that can be done indirectly through the family!!