In a 2002 nationwide survey commissioned by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption reported that “When asked ‘where would you turn for information or advice about how to adopt,’ 52% of married couples indicated they would turn to their local church.” While churches were viewed as good sources before adoption, “The same survey showed that post adoption people were nearly twice as likely to turn to their local bookstore (20.5%) as they were to their pastor or local church (11%) for support or help in dealing with post-adoption issues.”* The explanation for this discrepancy is that high percentage did not feel as though the church was helpful to their needs. In fact, they did not see the church as a “safe place” for their families. Ministry leader Michael Monroe put it this way:
I believe that adoptive and foster families are making it clear – they are saying that far too often our local churches are not “safe” places for them – or at least not as “safe” as they can and should be. The unavoidable reality is that many families have responded in faith by pursuing adoption or foster care, sometimes against all odds and in the face of significant and daunting challenges. Simply put, these families have refused to “play it safe.” They’ve said “Yes!” to the lifelong journey of adoption or foster care . . . and I believe that our churches must in turn discover how to honor these responses of faith, obedience and courage by becoming communities that openly welcome, truly understand and fully embrace adoptive and foster families.*
Monroe suggested that the church must do five things in order to become safe places for adoptive families: Become Missional, Become Open and Willing to Learn, Become Honest and Prepared to Get Messy, Become Willing to Change, Become Committed for the Long Haul.
For those of you who have adopted or are seeking to adopt: How has your local church family supported you? What do you wish church leaders knew about adoption?
*Monroe, Michael http://tapestry.irvingbible.org/index.php?id=1558 accessed February 6, 2010