ADOPTION AND FOSTER CARE ADVOCACY
Location: Harare, Zimbabwe
There are currently an estimated 1.6 million orphaned children in Zimbabwe, and government approved placements (institutions, childrens' homes and foster families) account for less than 0.5% of those children. Therefore, we feel that the church must take a stand to help provide homes and families for these children. As The Michael Project, we aim to empower families with a heart for orphans to be part of the Biblical solution and it is our goal to see many Zimbabwean orphans in a home with a family that loves them.
Since there are few adoptive families, it is easy for these families to feel isolated and alone, especially when experiencing the sometimes challenging realities of parenting a hurt child. We therefore also aim to link adopted families together creating support system to encourage one another. Our hope is that adopted children will grow up confident, healthy and loved knowing that these families are a special representation of the love of God and a beautiful picture of the Gospel.
We are doing this in various ways :-
Community Leader Meetings: Several times a year we bring pastors and leaders together for a breakfast and time of fellowship, while we provide testimonies and a Biblical lesson regarding orphan care. We equip them and provide resources they can use to teach their community about adoption and foster care.
Adoption and Foster Care Workshops: After community leaders share what they have learned they identify families who are interested in adoption or foster care. We invite these families to come and learn about what these options are legally, the process to adopt and foster as well as a foundation to help deal with the challenges that may arise while parenting adopted children. These families will be given the option to utilize our team of advocates as they begin the adoption process. Our workshops are built on a faith based model that look holistically at the blessings and challenges of adoption and foster care. We use well researched techniques to help prepare and equip adopting parents to care for the hurting children that they love, within the current Zimbabwean environment.
Department of Social Service Workshops: We work with the DSS on an ongoing basis to help them in whatever ways we can. Several times each year, our team meets with social welfare workers to dialogue regarding their challenges with the current adoption and foster care system and help to equip and empower them with materials to overcome these challenges most effectively. We celebrate each adoption processed with the DSS caseworkers as a way to acknowledge the wonderful work that they do!
Celebrating Family Events: We host parties where we gather together families who have adopted or fostered and just celebrate the beauty of these families. We take the opportunity to acknowledge each child as they are adopted and celebrate the journey of their family as a way to share our stories and encourage others.
Adoption and Foster Care Advocacy: We help by walking through social welfare requirements and the court process with each family that has the desire to open their hearts and homes to another child. First, we help them determine if they are ready for this commitment. Then we help them prepare their documents, encourage them on difficult or disappointing days and celebrate each small victory along the journey to bringing their child home!
Orphan Sunday: We launched ‘Orphan Sunday’ in Harare, our capital city, in 2012. We look forward to an annual increase of churches who are engaging and participating in this initiative. Sue has been appointed regional coordinator for Orphan Sunday.
Family Support Meetings: These are support groups for the following: parents who are adopting or who are in the process of adopting children, adopted children, siblings of adopted children, pregnant mothers who are considering options or who need help after abortion or adoption, Mom & Me groups to help adopted parents bond with adopted children etc.
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