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Eight Ways Your Church Can Help Find Connections for Waiting Children

by Patricia Pruitt

1. Post a Recruitment Poster – Not sure you want to get involved? Start with something easy. All you have to do is to post at least one of our posters and ensure that our brochures are available to the congregation.

2. Feature Waiting Children – Willing to do a little more, but still want something simple? Allow us to send you a monthly photo and biography of a waiting child that your church would feature in your Sunday bulletins and any on-line newsletters.

3. Create a ‘Pray for Birthday Campaign’ – Here’s another easy idea:
 We can identify about 5-10 individual children and sibling groups and give one or more of your church groups (such as a bible class or ministry) their photos and bios and birthday day month and ask that your group pray that these children will have a family or permanent connection by their next birthday. 
 We also ask the group to advocate and engage others to pray and advocate for these children in helping them find a family. 
 We will provide quarterly updates on what is happening in the children’s lives.
 Want to add another step? How about giving those kids a birthday party and invite families interested in knowing more about the children.

4. Exhibit our Heart Gallery of Waiting Children – We’re still doing ‘easy’ and one more easy way to let families know about our children is to have our Heart Gallery of waiting children prominently exhibited in your church. It can be displayed any length of time, from a few days to a few weeks. 
5. Host an “Open Your Heart Sunday” – Step it up with the Heart Gallery and really make an impact by asking your Faith Leader to do a ‘call to action’ and give a sermon about how important it is for their congregation to help our children by being a permanent connection, adopting or helping them find an adoptive family.
 We are available to staff a table, display the Heart Gallery after services where a social worker or adoptive parent can be available to answer questions.
 We’re also happy to present to your congregation or to a smaller group such as a Bible Study or Choir Practice group.

6. Promote and Host an Adoption Matching Event – We will cover the costs. This is a way to really get involved!
 After the sermon, and along with an article or ad in your bulletin, sign up interested families to attend an information meeting.
 After the information meeting, host a small event where prospective families and waiting children can do activities together and get to know each other in a comfortable and child-friendly setting.  We can work with you to arrange the activities and refreshments.  We will also arrange for the supervision and transportation of the children.
 We can then sign up families to take the next step in the adoption homestudy process.

7. Participate in our Covenant for Kids Program – Have your church make a commitment to a youth or sibling group and make them a part of your congregation.  
 We identify the youth or sibling group that would like to attend one or more activities at your church.
 You identify a few families that are willing to commit to transporting the youth to church activities and ensure that he or she gets involved in the church activities that interest the youth. The families will advocate helping find a family or permanent connection for the youth. 
 We will interview, train, and run clearances on the families wanting to provide transportation.

8. Of course the best way to be involved is to provide ongoing support and encouragement to members of your congregation that want to become foster or adoptive parents!

Take the step to do one or all of the above activities
and help a child build connections that will
positively impact his or her life forever.

Patricia Pruitt, MSW
Placement & Recruitment Unit
Adoption & Permanency Resource Division
Department of Children and Family Services
532 E. Colorado Blvd.
Pasadena, CA 91101
(626) 229-3776

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