We are still in the ‘waiting-to-be-matched’ phase of our adoption journey, having completed all our application paperwork, meetings and trainings. I thought I would share a bit about the training, especially as they have another one set to take place in December 2020.
In September, Erik and I attended a training workshop in Lusaka called Parenting to Heal, with the Embrace Zambia Project. This workshop is now a government requirement for all prospective foster/adoption parents. Due to Covid, there had not been any training since February, and so we had already completed our application process and received our approval letter by the time we were able to attend the next available date.
The workshop is hosted by Embrace Zambia program co-ordinator, Rev. Everest Kabwe and the Alliance for Children Everywhere Zambia/ House of Moses team and there are other guest speakers in attendance too; local pastors, social workers, and representatives from the Department of Social Welfare and the Child Protection Unit.
They cover the spiritual foundations of adoption and fostering, welfare issues in Zambia, the laws surrounding child protection, the problems with institutions and the effects on society as a whole. Trauma, developmental issues, neglect, abuse, grief & loss as well as the important topic of attachment are also covered. The application process is also explained at length by both Social Welfare and Child Protection Unit also explains their involvement.
Depending on your exposure to adoption and orphanages, there is quite a lot of this information you might already know, but a lot you might not! Throughout the workshop Rev. Kabwe kept reminding us “Don’t be distracted, remember why you are here”, which is key! Attend the workshop open minded and ready to listen, even to the parts that you already think you might know.
Don’t be distracted, remember why you are there; to ensure you are equipped and fully prepared to take a child into your life, forever. It is a good time to be away from the noise of every day life and be totally focused on what you are getting yourself into. Erik and I found ourselves having some really great conversations about it all. Highlighted the importance of being open on this journey, being teachable.
Four days may seem a lot of time to sacrifice, but it really isn’t, and is so worth it. I highly recommend doing this at the very start of your fostering or adoption journey if possible, as that way you start the process fully understanding what it entails and which steps to take.
We left the course feeling totally secure, and that without a shadow of a doubt we were doing the right thing. It also became a new level of ‘real’ for Erik. As with pregnancy, men and women move at different paces, and that is natural and normal. Another reason why this workshop is a good things for couples to do together. Don’t view it as another box to tick!
If I could do this workshop again, I would definitely make more effort to connect with more people, I only ending up connecting properly with one couple. I was tired and post-Covid socialising is flipping hard work! I was also already in a Whatsapp adoption support group of about 12 families, as a friend of mine had already adopted and included me in her group. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a support network made up of people who have already adopted and those that are on the journey at the same time as you.
There is a huge need for foster and emergency foster families in Zambia, as well as parents wanting to adopt. Embrace Project Zambia has a goal; for children to thrive, not just survive, and the best way to do this is to get them into normal, loving, functional families in society, and out of institutions.
These little babies, toddlers and teenagers are the future in Zambia. I think we all need to really absorb this fact. When these kids who are living in these institutions turn 18, they are unprepared and have no support network. We can all support orphans in some way, and as much as deliveries at Christmas can seem wonderful, that is just one day. We need to focus on the other 364 days of each year. We all have different characters, callings, giftings; through prayer and the wisdom that God has given us, we can each make the right choice for our family. That could mean:
- Committing to praying for particular orphans and their birth parents, social workers, house mothers
- Mentoring an orphan (that takes long term commitment)
- Supporting financially
- Become an adoption advocate
- Create awareness and build relationship with a specific orphanage
- Emergency, short term or long term fostering
- and again, PRAYER for these orphans and their birth parents. God has a plan for their lives.
If you are at the stage of considering adoption or fostering, but feeling unsure, this is where to go. You will get all your questions answered, and your attendance does not mean that you have committed to fostering or adopting! To find out more about future workshops, you can contact Rev. Kabwe who is the co-ordinator for Embrace Zambia, he can be reached on 0962790138 or 0973146001.
If you have any questions, I would gladly try direct you, just get in touch. There is also a group on Facebook, called Adoption is Beautiful_Zambia, where you can read up on peoples experiences and ask questions.