Lynn and Simon's story

Lynn and Simon share their story of opening up their home and caring for two unaccompanied asylum-seeking teenage girls.

We had seven children - but God gave us space for more: Lynn and Simon's story

Lynn has a family history of refugees and hospitality: my Jewish grandmother fled Ukraine (then Russia) aged 17, and after studying in Germany, then escaped to the UK. When she arrived, she was greeted by a Jewish charity welcoming refugees. It was run by my grandfather's father, and this is how my grandparents met and married.

So perhaps it was no surprise, then, that when little Alan Kurdi was washed up on the shore in September 2015, we were deeply affected. We signed the Home for Good petition – and kept on praying. We had heard Krish Kandiah speak on fostering earlier that year and felt a sense that we'd be fostering by the time our youngest was four!

We decided to go through Local Authority foster carer training, and were approved specifically to foster female unaccompanied asylum-seeking children, although at one point this looked very unlikely.

The assessment process has its ups and downs. If you're in this process, or hoping to start, don't give up. Things often look impossible, but with friends praying and a continued sense of God’s guiding, obstacles often move.

Sure enough, a few days after our youngest child's fourth birthday, two girls arrived and became part of our family!

It was a hard journey in many ways. The girls had experienced a lot of trauma, and we needed people to understand this, but without revealing inappropriate levels of detail.

The highlights were plenty too - watching their sad faces become happier and more relaxed, laughing together, seeing relationships grow between them and the rest of our family. We discovered and encouraged the girls’ gifts and strengths - and our school supported us and them amazingly well.

For the safety of both girls, one was eventually placed in another foster home, but the other has stayed with us and, if her asylum application is successful, will be with us long-term.

It is so important that your church knows how they can support you. Some people have a calling to befriend and pray for children in care, and it is up to us to help release them into ministry!

For example, one lovely friend arranged a DBS check, and has taken our foster daughter out each week, offering us some respite. It's been wonderful to observe this growing relationship between them.

Two of our friends have large families with lots of adopted or fostered children, so they are a great source of wisdom. We were amazed that both of these busy families brought round meals when our girls first arrived!

If you're considering a similar route, you might be feeling anxious about what you will be required to give - but our experience has been that we've received far more than we've given. When you welcome a vulnerable child into your home, you are welcoming far more than just a person.

Read other stories from this feature:

York families respond to God's heart for young refugees

Sandra and Harry's storyClare and Mark's storyJen and Paul's story


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