Establishing Advocacy Teams
M145 Advocacy Teams are a tangible expression of a loving church’s commitment to support foster and adoptive families; this is accomplished most basically by ongoing communication, prayer, and relationship. The teams also advocate on behalf of these families to the church, and the community at large. Simply put, Advocacy Teams are groups of church members who deeply love our foster/adoptive families.
While Advocacy Teams can serve as the primary link between the church body and the foster/adoptive family, it in no way replaces the overall relationship of the family with the church.
Function of Advocacy Teams
There are two major roles for Advocacy Teams: care and representation. The teams’ success depends on their ability to fulfill these roles from the time that the family begins discerning their role in fostering/adopting through the many stages of parenting.
Fostering and adopting can create physically, emotionally, and spiritually challenging living environments. Some families are raising children far from the support of extended family while others struggle with cultural adjustments and language barriers. Families need empathetic listeners—compassionate, caring friends who assure them that they are not alone, that others in the body of Christ love them and are committed to their welfare and success. Care also involves identifying specific needs which the team can meet or organize others in our church to meet.
Representation within the church, Advocacy Teams represent the parents/families and their ministry to the children in their homes. Due to the sensitive nature of fostering/adopting (f/a), M145 Advocacy members work alongside f/a parents to see to the unique needs of children in f/a families. This can include things like educating the church on how to interact with new family members, the importance of vocabulary used when speaking with and about f/a children, etc.
Formation Process of Advocacy Teams – Establish a Lead Advocate
A simple foundation for Advocacy Teams begins with committed lead advocates. Each Advocacy Team is required to have a faithful leader who is deeply committed to the f/a family.
Allow God to work through you in the life of a child in poverty, stay connected with them and impact their lives. As you exchange letters, send photos and offer encouragement in Jesus’ name, your love will bring hope to a child that will last a lifetime.