The power of people who ‘get it’

What difference you could make in the lives of those who love and are raising care-experienced children by even more intentionally journeying alongside?

I’ve been part of my church for over 12 years. It is a multi-site church with locations around the world and once a year, for the last decade, all of the UK locations gather in one place for a weekend together. It is always the highlight of my year.

I have the privilege of being a Mum of four, from toddler to teenagers, three of whom came to us through adoption.

This year, because of the practicalities needs and complexities associated with being a mum, we have decided that I am not going to be able to attend the annual church weekend.

Truthfully, when we landed on our decision as a family, I was (and still am a little) gutted.

As the date gets ever closer and the buzz increases in our church, there is talk of accommodation plans, decisions being made about where to eat and conversations about who people are excited to see from other parts of the UK. There are memories being shared from past years and a growing anticipation amongst those who have not been before.

I have absolute peace and confidence that the decision we have made is the right one. I am excited for all those who are attending (including my husband who’s taking our eldest daughter for the first time).

And simultaneously, I have felt my heart sink during some conversations, knowing what I will miss.

I have a friend at church named Kelly. Like me, Kelly is a mum (and has a dog). Recently, as we were walking with our families and our dogs, she asked me, “Are you able to go to the church weekend this year?”

Her question didn’t assume I was attending, and its phrasing demonstrated her understanding that my family dynamics may mean that things might look different for me. It made me feel seen.

I explained that I could not, some of the reasons why and the journey we had been on before landing on that decision. She listened attentively and with empathy. Then she said,

“It’s the right decision in this season for you and for them. It’s only a season, but I bet it feels like a big cost – especially with everyone talking about it now. It will bear much fruit in them. I know that God sees all the things that no one else sees. None of it is missed and none of you forgotten.”

It was an incredibly powerful response that brought me such release. It reminded me again of the power of having people in our lives who ‘get it’. My situation did not change but her words and her presence helped alter my perspective.

And perspective can change everything.

Why was it so powerful? Here are three reasons.

1. Seen and acknowledged

Trying to hide our feelings (about anything, ever!) is not an effective way to handle them! Feeling sadness at missing something that we enjoy doing, whether a church weekend, a coffee out or something else, is valid and important to acknowledge.

When others listen with empathy, and notice and try to understand and share how we are feeling, they are demonstrating that our feelings matter.

It’s okay to acknowledge that sometimes raising and loving children comes at a cost. It’s not about regret and it’s definitely not about blaming the precious children we’ve been entrusted with. It is about acknowledging that there is a cost – that we willingly pay, that we may have chosen to make, but that we are still allowed to feel.

2. A reminder of calling

    On that walk, Kelly reminded me who God has made me to be and the calling that He has placed on my life, some of which is outworked in being an adoptive parent. She reminded me of the potential in my amazing children and the calling in them that is connected to me raising and journeying with them. She spoke out her faith that stirred mine.

    Following Jesus is more than what we do when we gather on a Sunday, our worship far beyond our attendance at services or events (however brilliant and helpful they are). Kelly reminded me that the decision I had made was part of my ‘yes’ to Jesus.

    3, A reminder of presence

      As we walked on that day, Kelly reminded me (again!) that God is equally present in the gathering of Christians as He is in the beautiful, seemingly mundane routine of everyday life. Man may look at the outside, particularly in a social media world where other people’s highlight reels easily trump our everyday reality, but in a world driven to believe the grass is always greener, God looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16: 7). What He is interested in is how I follow Him with what and who He has entrusted to me.

      This conversation happened in the normal, beautiful chaos of a walk with six children and two puppies, interspersed with requests for drinks, snacks and piggybacks, but somehow that made it feel all the more significant. None of it felt like a teaching session (or worse, a lecture) but her words changed my perspective.

      Prayerfully, I have begun to shift my focus, acknowledging the sadness that I feel and inviting God to draw near in those feelings, and then remembering the loss that three of my children live with and remembering with gratitude the privilege that it is to be part of their journey as they navigate childhood and adolescence.

      The Church has the power to make a transformational difference. We all have a part to play. Maybe being a foster carer, adoptive parent or supported lodgings’ host is not the right thing for you for now, but I wonder what difference you could make in the lives of those who love and are raising care-experienced children by even more intentionally journeying alongside?

      To all the ‘Kellys’ around the UK who love and wrap around care-experienced children and families, thank you. Your consistent understanding, practical support, and well-timed treat deliveries make a powerful difference.

      Author:
      Claire at Home for Good


      Date published:
      May 2022


      Tags:
      Stories


      Share:


      You might also be interested in

      Keren's story

      Stories

      Keren's story

      Keren is a parent and child foster carer, supporting young parents to care for their children.

      Read more
      A new picture: Adam and Kate's story

      Stories

      A new picture: Adam and Kate's story

      Adam* and Kate* are just beginning to think about what their family might look like one day. They’ve shared with us some reflections after attending a fostering information session.

      Read more
      Erin's story

      Stories

      Erin's story

      Louise and her adoptive mum Erin share their personal experiences of contact with Louise’s birth dad.

      Read more
      Louise’s story

      Stories

      Louise’s story

      Louise and her adoptive mum Erin share their personal experiences of contact with Louise’s birth dad.

      Read more

      Connect locally

      I would like to find out what is
      going on in my area

      Connect Locally

      Join our mailing list for the latest Home for Good news and ways to get involved.

      Together we can find a home for every child who needs one.

      £
      Other amount
      £
      Other amount

      £25 per month could help us create and collate inspiring articles and blogs that encourage and inform the families and communities who care for vulnerable children