Listening and Speaking

People often think advocacy is primarily about speaking, but I’ve come to recognise that effective advocacy always begins with listening.

“Before being part of this group, I’d never spoken to any of my friends about being adopted. But I’ve just decided now that I’m going to start speaking about it – even if it’s awkward or weird, that’s the only way people are going to know and learn.”

-- Adopted adult

These words, spoken in December by a member of our care-experienced advisory group, were probably the highlight of my year. People often think advocacy is primarily about speaking, but I’ve come to recognise that effective advocacy always begins with listening. It’s often only when people believe that they will be heard that they feel able to speak. For me, there is nothing better than seeing young people and adults begin to realise that they have something to say, a story to tell and experiences to share, and in doing so, that they can change the hearts and minds of others.

However, the opportunity to influence change is not reserved solely for those with direct experience of the system. All of us have a part to play by firstly listening well and then taking action on behalf of vulnerable children.

So often we hear about statistics and numbers, trends and projections. While they provide vital knowledge, they can often feel overwhelming. This is partly because they are a reminder of the scale of the challenges. The stories of these children that are shared in the mainstream media are often the most devastating stories that seem devoid of hope. Their names stick with us and remind us of the need to do better. But alongside these tragic stories, we know that there are glimpses of hope. Here at Home for Good there are so many stories of families within our own network that paint a picture that is not rosy or easy, but one where there is joy in spite of the challenges and hope during the hard times. Reminding ourselves of these moments of hope keeps us from becoming despondent or despairing. It enables us to not only speak up about what needs to change, but also to be determined about where we want to get to: finding homes that are havens, where every child has a family or tribe to belong to.

Hope is seen in both the numbers and the stories: In 2021, Home for Good journeyed with 1,800 individuals and families who were considering fostering or adoption. A child who has been able to stick at being part of a football team and is thriving. A young person who got their first job in a café. These numbers and stories prompt us to keep speaking up, because we are convinced that we can do better for children and that change is possible.

At Home for Good, we have been blown away over the past year by the way in which so many of you have stood with us in speaking up for change. Whether that was writing to your MP about supported lodgings, telling us what you think needs to change through our Children and Young People’s survey, sharing our reports with your network through social media or speaking about your family’s journey on the radio - all of these activities are a vital part of influencing change and taking us closer towards our vision to find a home for every child who needs one.

Just as we want to find a great home for every baby, toddler, child, teenager and young adult who enters the care system, so too the voice of every individual, family and church who takes action and speaks up for change matters immensely. Your voice matters immensely.

So, at the start of this new year, we want to say a huge thank you to all of you who stood with us, called for change and added your voice to the solutions we put forward to policymakers and those with influence throughout 2021. As we begin 2022, let’s continue listening with integrity and speaking up tenaciously for vulnerable children. We have a number of exciting campaigns and projects planned to make this happen, so keep your eyes peeled for ways to continue to stand with us to secure systemic change. Every email written, signature added and campaign shared really does make a difference.

Together we will find a home for every child who needs one.

Author:
Natalie at Home for Good


Date published:
January 2021


Tags:
Stories


Share:


Related pages

A part to play right away

A part to play right away

A reflection from Michael*, 24, a Friend of Home for Good.

Read more
Tackling racial disparity: The journey so far

Tackling racial disparity: The journey so far

“We believe we can see the tide turn on racial inequality within the care system.”

Read more
Supported lodgings – equipping vulnerable young adults with life skills, stability and confidence

Supported lodgings – equipping vulnerable young adults with life skills, stability and confidence

In an outdated care system unable to meet the increasing demands on it, supported lodgings can offer a financially viable and supportive environment for older teenagers to flourish and to learn key life skills.

Read more

You might also be interested in

A new picture: Adam and Kate's story

Stories

A new picture: Adam and Kate's story

Adam* and Kate* are just beginning to think about what their family might look like one day. They’ve shared with us some reflections after attending a fostering information session.

Read more
Erin's story

Stories

Erin's story

Louise and her adoptive mum Erin share their personal experiences of contact with Louise’s birth dad.

Read more
Louise’s story

Stories

Louise’s story

Louise and her adoptive mum Erin share their personal experiences of contact with Louise’s birth dad.

Read more
Working together in Torbay

Stories

Working together in Torbay

Steve shares his experience as an adopted adult

Read more

Connect locally

I would like to find out what is
going on in my area

Connect Locally

Join our mailing list for the latest Home for Good news and ways to get involved.

Together we can find a home for every child who needs one.

£
Other amount
£
Other amount

£25 per month could help us create and collate inspiring articles and blogs that encourage and inform the families and communities who care for vulnerable children