The Critical Need
Greater Houston has approximately 5,500 children in state care, of which 1,500 are legally free for adoption. There are over 4,000 faith-based organizations in the same geographic area, and of these, approximately 40 are successfully engaged in adoption/foster care ministry. If foster children are not adopted, they “emancipate” and are left to navigate the world on their own.
Tragic consequences for these children, and ultimately for the greater Houston community, include: adoption placement failures, academic difficulties and increased high school dropout rates, delinquency and criminal conviction, unintentional pregnancy, unemployment, homelessness and sometimes death.
If each of the faith-based organizations in our community encourages one family to adopt a child or sibling group, and that church will surround the adoptive family with a support system of tangible love, resources, and guidance – there will be no more children waiting to be adopted, the faith community will be strengthened by enriching its core moral mission, and our community will be healthier, safer, and stronger.
Our mission is to inspire and equip greater Houston area faith-based communities to care for foster and adopted children. Our focus on inspiring congregations is threefold:
- Adoption and Foster Care Ministry is not all or nothing. We don’t all need to foster or adopt, and not all congregations need to offer all possible Adoption and Foster Care classes or activities. However, we can all do something, be it small or large, and we are all needed.
- Congregations need training and preparation to welcome and nurture these children and families who may not look or behave like other members.
- More foster and adoptive families are needed. Congregations that are inspired and equipped to care for and support adoptive families are the best place to help them thrive.
Many have heard “If every church had one family that adopted, there would be no children without families.” There are many books and websites full of resources on adoption/foster care ministry. However, there are still 1500 children waiting in the greater Houston area alone.
More must be done and current practices can be more effective. We know that congregations are busy and need someone to guide, encourage, and equip them in this process. Cultivating Families wants to be with you so that you can be with them – both the foster/adoptive families, and the 1500 children in need of a forever home.
Without the involvement of more community organizations, especially faith-based congregations, to promote and encourage healthy foster care and successful adoptions, the likelihood of placing Houston’s 1,500 available children in adoptive homes in a timely manner is compromised. The challenge at hand is that more faith-based congregations in the greater Houston area must become engaged in activities that welcome and encourage foster and adoptive families!
Forever grateful for The Hope and Healing Institute
Amy was introduced to the Hope and Healing Institute (HHI) April 2013. It was clear that HHI would be a good place to develop a program to make this a reality. HHI has been wonderful and we are forever grateful for everything thing they’ve been to us. Amy’s fellowship contract comes to an end August 2017. You can read her full note on the transition here.
With gracious support from:
- Houston Endowment for providing a one-year planning grant two-year funding for the program.
- The Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church for funding the video.
- The Hope and Healing Center and Institute for providing the space to nurture Cultivating Families.
- St. Luke’s United Methodist Church and Moody Memorial United Methodist Church Permanent Endowment Fund for providing the seed money to begin and sustain program planning.