01 November 2012
Christians wanting to adopt need not fear political correctness
The Bishop of Oxford has urged Christians to focus on the positive things they can do to help the crisis in adoption and not on their worries about how their faith might be used against them in the adoption process.
The Rt Revd John Pritchard was speaking ahead of the first Adoption Sunday, which is being celebrated in churches in Oxford on 4 November as a pilot to a full national launch in 2013.
He said: "Through Adoption Sunday, Christian parents stand to make a life-changing contribution to the many children who are not in a permanent and loving family home. The Church must approach this initiative with confidence but it is currently being held back by a climate of fear founded on the assumption that a Christian's worldview is somehow not conducive to the wellbeing of a child. If this falsehood continues, it will hold back a common desire by all faiths and none to see thousands of children accepted and brought up in loving family homes."
His statement follows the findings of a nationwide consultation that showed that many Christians won't consider adopting and fostering because they fear their beliefs will be used against them during the application process.
However, adoption agencies are reporting the opposite, and say that Christian families are desirable applicants.
David Holmes, chief executive of the British Association for Adoption & Fostering (BAAF), said: "We know that Christian parents can make wonderful adopters or foster carers. We are always looking for stable families who can provide high levels of love and care. Christian parents have to go through exactly the same assessment process as everyone else and should be made welcome. BAAF is delighted to support Adoption Sunday - it is fantastic to see such enthusiasm within the Christian community to help find a solution to the current shortage of adoptive and foster families. We desperately need more people who are really motivated to change children's lives for good."
The idea for a Sunday dedicated to adoption is being spearheaded by the Evangelical Alliance and Care for the Family.
Krish Kandiah, executive director: churches in mission for the Evangelical Alliance, said: "Consultations we held across the UK earlier this year showed that both church leaders and churchgoers have a strong desire to help children coming into care find suitable foster families and forever families. We want to help turn that desire into reality by seeing the church culture change to encourage and support foster and adoptive carers. We are delighted to be working in cooperation with local authority and voluntary agencies, to ensure that Adoption Sunday will help the churches to grasp the opportunities and challenges of offering children in care a home for good."
For more information about Adoption Sunday: www.eauk.org/homeforgood
Photo-call: 12.30 on Sunday, 4 November, at Oxford Community Church where children and families will be photographed with 440 helium balloons to mark the 440 children in Oxfordshire waiting to be given a permanent home through adoption or fostering. Directions to Oxford Community Church.
Churches holding a special Adoption Sunday service on 4 November:
Magdelan Road Church 10.30am
Cornerstone, Thame 10.15am
Christian Life Centre, Cowley
Headington Baptist Church
Living Stones Community Church 10.30am
New Frontiers, Emmanuel
Oxford Community Church 10.30am
Oxford Vineyard Church
St Aldates 10.30am
St Ebbes 9.45 and 11.45am, 4.30 and 7pm
St Leonard's Eynsham 10.45am
Woodstock Road Baptist Church 11.30am
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Notes to Editors
The consultations on adoption and fostering
In June 2012 a series of consultations were conducted across the UK for Christians to give their views on how the Church can help find homes for the thousands of children currently stuck in the care system. Krish Kandiah will talk to the press about the findings of this consultation.
How many children are waiting to be adopted or fostered?
Estimates show 6,800 children are waiting to be adopted and 8,750 more foster families are needed in the UK. The government says that approximately 6,800 children have been identified for adoption but have not been adopted. The Foster Network estimates that fostering services in the UK need to recruit a further 8,750 foster families during 2012.
The Evangelical Alliance, formed in 1846, is the largest body serving evangelical Christians in the UK. Its membership includes denominations, churches, organisations and individuals. The mission of the Evangelical Alliance is to unite evangelicals to present Christ credibly as good news for spiritual and social transformation. According to a Tearfund survey (Churchgoing in the UK, 2007); there are approximately two million evangelical Christians in the UK. For more information, go to www.eauk.org.
The Bishop of Oxford
The Rt Revd John Pritchard is Bishop of Oxford and Chair of the National Society, the Church of England's Board of Education. The Diocese of Oxford extends across Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire.
BAAF is the UK's leading charity for children separated from their birth families. We provide services to meet the needs of some of the UK's most vulnerable children and young people. BAAF was awarded an overall grade of 'Outstanding' in our Ofsted inspection in 2011 (England). In 2011/12 we helped find families for over 700 children through our family finding services, we dealt with many thousands of enquiries from professionals and the public through our UK-wide general enquiries service and we sold over 45,000 books on adoption and fostering. For more information visit www.baaf.org.uk
For more information or to arrange for an interview please call BAAF press office on 020 7421 2632/3 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. For out of hours enquiries, call the press office mobile on 07767 444 589.