Jeff Shorts chats with Krish Kandiah from Home For Good, a charity seeking to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children by finding loving homes for children in the care system.
Jeff: It's lovely to have you on in this week in particular because it's National Adoption Week and that's a passion of yours and it's something very close to your heart.
Krish: It is, that's right. I've got 7 children, 3 through birth and four through fostering and adoption so this is a really important week for us.
Jeff: There's a report in the Guardian that there's an incredible need at the moment. 4,100 youngsters in England need adoption and there is only a fraction of that number of families approved to adopt.
Krish: That's right. The Guardian article states that there is double the number of children waiting for adopters to be approved. So we do need more adopters to come forward. The issue seems to be that a lot of people don't see adoption as a great way to form family. They think adoption is the third worst way to have a child. There's natural birth and if that doesn't work there's IVF and if that doesn't work 'there's always adoption.' And when you come to adoption because of infertility what you often want is a baby. And the children that are waiting are a lot older. They can be 3, 4, 5 and up. There are sibling groups and there is a particular challenge around trying to find adopters for children from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. That's what Home for Good is trying to do, trying to inspire a whole new generation to come forward and adopt because they can be great parents for the children who are waiting to be adopted.
Jeff: You've opened up doors on all sorts of things there because some people may say if we can't have children naturally or through IVF then it's almost like the consolation prize but you're putting it much more positively, planning a family based on adoption. That's wonderful.
Krish: At Home for Good we're not about finding children for families. We're not trying to find you the perfect child of your dreams who is going to slot perfectly into your aspirations. We're trying to flip it around; we're trying to find families for children. Could you, if you're single, married, if you've got kids, if you haven't got kids, could you still be the best parent these children could ever have in their lives? Loads of people consider adoption that have never thought about it. It's a challenging thing to do; I know that from personal experience. But it is also one of the most rewarding things you can give to someone else the love and security of a proper family.
Jeff: You've been at the coalface, if you like. Your family is composed of your own children, adopted children and foster children. So you're not speaking in isolation; this is your life.
Krish: Yeh, that's right. We had three birth kids then an adopted child, then two long term foster children and we have a foster baby that lives with us. And we love it. It's a wonderful opportunity to show the love of God to people who need it most.
Jeff: In the things I've read about you, you address the fact that some people say I'm not perfect. Could I be an adoptive parent, could I be a foster parent even because I recognise my life warts and all. You'd say get in there.
Krish: I would. And that kind of humility is exactly what we need from adopters and foster parents. If you think you know everything already and think you're a brilliant parent, you don't need any help, you're probably not the right kind of person. What foster carers and adoptive parents need to do is relearn some of the skills that you might already have picked up from being a parent. Children in the care system have often had early trauma and you need a whole new set of skills about how to care for them. So if you come in with humility, come in knowing you don't know it all, you can be a fantastic parent.
Jeff: You mentioned there is a disproportionate number of children from black, Asian minority ethnic groups.
Krish: That's right. Children from BME backgrounds wait longest to be adopted and they are also less likely to be adopted at all. So we are calling on BME communities to think about this. The God that adopted us loved us and cared for us knowing all about us so couldn't we show that same love to children waiting in the care system.
Jeff: When I started the program today I spoke about us being adopted by God. This is something that people may even see as a calling.
Krish: Definitely. I've just finished a new book, it came out a couple of weeks ago called The Greatest Secret which looks at our adoption into God's family. What does that reboot in our thinking about what it means to be a Christian, what it means to be a disciple, what it means to be family, what it means to do church. This is the core understanding of our Christian faith and if we get this right, everything else follows.
Jeff: Brilliant. I look forward to reading it. I read Faitheism and that was a wonderful book for me at the time. I needed to read it. Just very quickly, how does someone get involved in the process?
Krish: The easiest thing they could do is to contact us at Home For Good. We've got a lovely team of people that love to help. Just visit our website www.homeforgood.org.uk or phone our enquiry line 0300 001 0995. We'd love to hear from you. If you're considering adoption, if you're considering fostering or if you just want to know how you can better help those who are already doing that, drop us a line and we'd love to get in touch with you.
Jeff: To finish with, what would you say are the joys you've got from having adopted and fostered?
Krish: When you bring a child into your life, who you know has had a really difficult start, sometimes they need to put on weight because they've been undernourished, you see them learn to speak because they might have had speech delay, when you see them begin to relax and feel alright in their own skin I don't know of a greater joy than that. I'd love other people to know that joy too.
Jeff: Thanks so much for that, I wanted to finish with something really positive. And thank you for all you do for the Christian church in your various roles, the Evangelical Alliance, Tearfund and all these things but especially your writing. It has really been a blessing to me. More power to your pen.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.
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