Church’s Response

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I am sensing today after reading some RAD mom posts and having this on my mind constantly that our churches are failing adoptive/foster families. I would guess (no statistics here) that a good majority of adoptive/foster families do so out of religious reasons, whether by the specifics of their faith or a moral obligation to do more. Or even just the desire to please God by stepping out in faith. I know that’s where we fit in this spectrum. Our church embraced our adopting three siblings but had no idea how to help four years later when the bottom fell out and our oldest had to go to a residential facility for se*ually abused kids. We even tried to keep the church informed as to the diagnoses and reasons. Our pastor was great, but I still always felt looked down on and ostracized. We left shortly after that and went to a much larger church where we could get lost a little easier. Most people had no idea we had another child. Few knew of the suffering we went through with false allegations and continued revelations. We have just recently left this church because of other reasons, but we’re faced with trying to find a church home with two special needs children that look fine on the surface. So we visit but don’t make any commitment. We get lost in the anonymity.

Here’s my problem. The families that are adopting/fostering are hurting and very often desperately in need of Christian brothers and sisters who will take them by the hand and choose to become informed and supportive. These families are usually some of the most involved in the church yet the church is losing them because no one understands. I know for myself that I am too exhausted right now to put on my happy face and advocate for adoption. I still believe in it but I also know I was completely unprepared and our lives have been turned upside down for 10 years. So I try to encourage via my blog and commenting on others. But what is the church’s responsibility? What is our responsibility to our fellow Christian brothers and sisters? How do we keep others from feeling totally alone? I don’t have the answers but I know some of you out there will have some ideas. I know I’ve seen some great blog posts out there so feel free to send the links. We’re all in this together, no matter how alone you may feel.

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  1. I am not sure there is a Christian church that is non-judgmental enough to support parents who have taken on children who have suffered so much trauma.

  2. great. thanks for making me cry about this AGAIN today. lol


    I’m going to link this on my FB. I’ve got an ongoing dialogue about it today.

  3. btw, who else posted about this today? I haven’t noticed others in my reader

  4. Marty, there are churches out there, and we’ve finally found one. Just a year ago, I felt like I was drowning without a life preserver. Today, we are in a church that ‘gets’ it and supports us, even when they can’t wrap their minds completely around it. Maybe it helps that there’s more than one of us there. We have several families that either foster or have adopted from foster care. Thanks for this post. There are so many hurting families out there and churches are failing them.

  5. I don’t believe that this is a problem unique to Christian communities. Rather, this is a problem that is faced by all communities of faith. I wrote about this topic this morning, and I linked to your post. I hope that’s okay.

  6. Thank you so much for this post. I could cry when I think of the times people have been so insensitive and dismissive about our daughter who has an attachment disorder. I’ve experienced unsupportive responses from Christians and non Chrisitans alike. I find it harder to accept from people who claim to be Christians though. We went into our adoption with what we thought were our eyes wide open but to our surprise our sweet 9 month old daughter (which we naively believed was too young to have RAD) has an attachment disorder. I have recently met a mom at the Christian school my 2 oldest children attend and she was so relieved to meet another mom who is dealing with similar issues as her family does. (her bio son and my bio daughter are in the same class) She too expressed distress over the lack of support from her church family. It is discouraging but as we find each other we seem to create our own community of support and offer a shoulder to lean on to each other. I will definitely be linking to your post. Thank you for your openness and honesty to an unspoken and seriously under addressed issue in our churches and families.

  7. I came over to your blog from Dorothy’s (Urban Servant) and have enjoyed reading your journey. I’ll have to catch up more another night because I, too, am so very tired.

    Our family changed churches after placing our son in residential for many of the same reasons you listed; however, we were blessed to join Dorothy at church when she was in MN, so we fit in well. We walked in prepared to educate Sunday school teachers and found that several teachers and small group leaders had kiddos with attachment disorders. At that point we knew we were “home”. Not only are there others in the church who have gone through or are parenting hurt kiddos like ours, but there is a big enough population in the church that is willing to be educated and to serve in whatever way they are needed to support our family. It is truly a blessing.

  8. I feel this EXACT same way. We were very involved in our current church; teaching, orchestra, recreation, choir, sound and A/V team, hospitality dinners, mission trips…you name it we did it. Sadly, we have reached our final straw, and we are leaving, having our children and ourselves be ostracized and left “on the outside” more than too much. I’ve always hated being the church’s “most hated” because I will stop the pranking amongst our youth and being the enforcer of discipline to my own children.

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