Called to Foster: 100 Homes Campaign
In Nottingham City, there are more than 700 children in care. The 100 Homes campaign are aiming to get more Christians to become foster carers ahead of Fostering Sunday on 8 May.
Melissa and Ian started fostering in August 2020. They felt called by God to foster as Melissa had experience with social services through her years as a teacher, but she always felt she could do more to provide a safe space.
They began their journey with 100 Homes who have supported them through training. Melissa had decided to foster sibling groups to help keep them together in care. They’d only been in their new home for 10 days before they received the call for a sibling group on a short-term placement.
They were mindful about their biological children and how they would cope with having foster siblings.
However, Melissa said: “One of the most wonderful things about fostering has been seeing our children in a new light. They’ve been amazing, our daughter has become a nappy changing, baby feeding marvel. It’s a team effort as a family.”
Children of foster carers even ran their own event recently to share their point of view and encourage more families to get involved in foster care.
Melissa added: “It’s a special moment to see a child who has never hugged you in three months come to you for comfort because they know their needs will be met, that they are loved by us and God. In foster care, you are providing a safe place for the child until their parent can care for them again. The goal is reunification in foster care if it’s safe.
There are always a mix of complex emotions involved. Happiness and sadness go hand in hand as you see your foster child reach milestones and their birth parents aren’t there to celebrate with them.
Christians need to pray and reflect on if God is calling you to foster care. But I can say you will never feel fully prepared, so don’t wait for that.”
In Nottinghamshire, there is a desperate need for more foster carers who can give a home. Foster families need a good support network and churches can be that community. You don’t need to rearrange your life or leave your career; you can be a respite carer or become an independent visitor to support children and young people in care, especially during transitions.
Churches can also support foster families by rethinking how they approach possible triggers such as Mother’s Day and embracing foster children in their churches.
If you are interested in learning more about fostering, there is an event at St Wilfrid’s in Wilford on Monday 23 May at 7:30pm and an online information on 13 June via Zoom at 7:30pm. You can register your interest via email firstname.lastname@example.org.