Giving vulnerable children a Home For Good
Home for Good is a church-based fostering and adoption campaign. A joint initiative of the Evangelical Alliance, Care for the Family, and CCPAS, the campaign is using a network of churches across the UK to encourage and support Christian families to consider adoption.
There are currently 4,600 children waiting to be adopted in England alone, something the Evangelical Alliance's mission director Krish Kandiah calls a "scandal".
Having fostered a total of 16 children, one of whom he and his wife eventually adopted, Krish is passionate about the Home for Good campaign and hopes that through it, more Christians will be encouraged to open up their homes to children who don't have a family of their own.
"The Bible is really clear that God cares about vulnerable children. He describes himself many times as a Father to the fatherless and protector of widows and orphans," Krish notes. "That's what drives our campaign."
His concern is that years without a stable, loving family environment can leave many children in the system ill-prepared for independent living as adults. They are then at greater risk of homelessness or ending up in prison.
"We want to find these children homes for good because if they stay in the care system, many of them will age out of it and then sadly, statistically, their chances of a fulfilled life are pretty limited," he says.
Home for Good wants to radically alter the lives of children in care. It ran 'Adoption Sunday' in November, which asked churches to draw attention to the need that exists in the UK for more foster carers and adoptive parents.
Some 200 churches across the country opened up conversations about why Christians should consider fostering and adoption, which exposed some misplaced beliefs about the system.
"We've come across two weird contradictions," Krish says. "There's a general perception in the Church that Christians are not welcomed by social services. Many Christians think we're being picked on or persecuted because of our beliefs.
"On the other hand, we've had 40 local authorities and adoption agencies come to us and say 'we want the Church involved, please help us to engage with the church'. There's this mismatch of perception, and we just want to let Christians know that there's no great conspiracy against us, we're being welcomed into this, and we want to help educate the church as to how they can go best forward."
Speaking of his own experience as an adoptive, foster and birth parent (currently there are three birth children, one adoptive and three foster kids in the Kandiah home), Krish says it's important that prospective parents go into the experience expecting to face challenges, but also with a focus on the positive things that it can bring.
"In our family, bringing children from care into our home has bought some wonderful nurturing characteristics out of our kids. We've seen a real outworking of the gospel," he says.
Krish explains that he himself became convicted by Bible passages around adoption after his wife felt God was calling them to it.
"Psalm 68 says 'God sets the lonely in families' and that's a really powerful verse for us," he says.
"God doesn't want children to be in institutions or care homes. He wants the lonely in families. This is the most godly thing we can imagine doing in our time. Showing God's love to kids who really need it."
Although he is encouraging all Christian families to consider adoption, he says it won't be everyone's calling. But, he insists, we can all stand alongside those who decide it is for them.
"We've found the support we've got from church invaluable. This is the church's responsibility and we are the church. We ought to all consider ourselves before God to see what we can do, however little that may be," he asserts.
Home for Good is continuing its campaigning in the New Year, with another Adoption Sunday planned for November 2014. Mother's Day and Father's Day will also provide opportunities for churches to think about those children who don't have parents, and a sizable project with Rachel Gardner is being planned for Mother's day in particular.
Krish reminds Christians that just like there wasn't enough room for Jesus to be born in safety, there are many vulnerable children in society today.
"When God himself became a vulnerable child his life was at risk because of Herod. Jesus can understand and relate to the needs to vulnerable children, so we should be able to as well," he finishes.
Find out more at http://www.homeforgood.org.uk/campaign