Finding loving homes for children in care

FOR Elizabeth and Timothy Webber the amazing example of a Romanian orphanage, where children were truly happy because they were loved, inspired them to become adoptive parents. Elizabeth tells Jo Duckles how they adopted through Parents and Children Together (PACT) and Home for Good – an initiative that aims to raise awareness of the need for forever families for children in care.

The scheme aims to encourage potential parents to consider offering loving homes to youngsters

Photo: Shutterstock

and to equip churches to provide welcoming communities for those children.

Working at St Michael’s in Paris, Elizabeth ran the trips through Caminul Felix, which literally means ‘happy home’. The charity runs orphanages and projects for Romania’s abandoned youngsters, where house parents look after 10 to 12 children. “It was quite amazing to see the difference in these children’s lives,” says Elizabeth, who met Timothy while they were both working in Paris.

Observing the work of Caminul Felix meant that caring for orphans and abandoned children was a big part of the start of their relationship. “We were blown away by what they were doing. Before we were married we had a heart for fostering and adoption,” says Elizabeth. The couple married in 2010 and hoped to have two adopted children and two biological children. “We thought the natural way to do things would be to start by having a birth baby. I had a lot of miscarriages and that was a really hard thing to go through but it’s all part of our amazing story.”

Spotting an advert with a photograph of five-year-old twins, Emma and Katie, (not their real names) Elizabeth knew immediately she wanted the girls to be part of her family. After contacting PACT and arranging to see a senior social worker the nine-month adoption process began.

Despite Home for Good calling on churches to offer welcoming communities for adopted children, the Webbers’ first experience was not so positive.

“A year after the girls were adopted we left the church we had worshipped in since we moved back to the UK. I was on the leadership team and Timothy led worship, but we found there was a lack of understanding about different parenting styles. Our children have specific needs and they were never able to access the Sunday club, it just wasn’t geared to their needs.

“At the new church the girls have good friends and have been allowed to stay in the younger children’s group. That can’t go on forever though other people are talking about how they can support them to move on. It’s that understanding that is so important.

“We’ve also had a baby boy who has just turned one. With a baby, people are quick to help but with adoption, it’s a bit different. I’ve had more sleepless nights with the girls than I have had with our baby.”

So what advice would Elizabeth give to anyone considering adoption? “Speak to people who have done it before. Make sure it is right for you. Do lots of reading. We read a lot, from books and online.

“I’m pro-adoption. There are thousands of children that need families. Watching our children grow before our eyes, knowing what they have gone through is quite remarkable. Children are resilient and in the right setting they thrive.

“There are myths that people adopt because of failed IVF or because they don’t want to go through pregnancy, but my girls were wanted and wished for. We are open about adoption in our family. “Everyone knows Thomas grew in my tummy and Emma and Katie were adopted. They are just two different ways of building a family.”