A year ago my husband and I adopted two brothers over the age of five. I'm a vicar in a Church of England parish in London, in a very mixed community of age, ethnicity and social make-up, and my husband works training vicars. We were on the adoption journey for many years, and for various reasons it was put on hold. A year after we moved to London we began to make enquiries in our local borough. Our church already has a number of adopted adults, and families who foster and adopt. As we made progress through the adoption process, our church has supported us in prayer and patience as, at times, the journey has been quite turbulent and trying and I'm not one to pretend all is fine with the world when it’s not.
As a vicar, our home is also a place where our community gathers. However, during our adoption leave the vicarage became off-limits, to give us time to settle in. Our church has been amazing at not only accepting the change in our circumstances but also of our need for time to build a family.
The boys’ social worker recently commented on how the church has clearly been a great place for our boys, because it has not only accepted them but loved them, embraced them and welcomed them with kindness. For our boys, church has sometimes been intimidating, and I have discovered how difficult church can be for someone who can’t read and who is unfamiliar with it. Yet they have come to love the songs we sing and the words we say. Our oldest son loves going to church because people think about what they say, and some of the older women in church adore the exuberance of our younger son.
I have returned to work full time and am thankful, because even though working and being a mum and a wife is a challenge, my role as vicar in this community gives me freedom to ‘work out’ being a mum, a wife and a priest. I myself am a vicar’s daughter, and know the pressures to come, but as we tell our boys, my job gives us great security in always having a home, and that matters to our boys more than we can ever imagine. From finding our home big and scary they have come to love the freedom and space to make mess. We have been amazed at how our boys have accepted us as their mum and dad and have been blessed with superb support through local services and another family who have adopted children. At times we think back to the quietness of our previous existence, but I wouldn’t go back for all the tea in China.