Good questions to ask those who foster and adopt

You may be aware of an adoptive parent or foster carer in your congregation. Perhaps you want to get to know them a little better and eventually learn how to offer meaningful support, but you don’t want to offend, pry or ask foolish questions.

These questions were taken from the survey and interviews we conducted with foster carers and adoptive parents. They give you some ideas of what sorts of questions can be helpful to ask.

You may want to choose a handful of these questions and put them in your own words.

Parents/carers who responded to our survey emphasised that it’s not so much what you ask but how you ask it. If you ask with genuine care, curiosity and humility, they are likely to welcome your questions. It may also be helpful to think about timing and location – arranging a time during the week, away from the children and the crowds can help the parent/carer speak more freely. Occasionally, parents/carers will be too tired to answer questions. At those times, just reassure them that you’re thinking of them, and praying.

About the Family

  1. What does a good day look like for your family?
  2. What does a hard day look like?
  3. Would you say you have more good days or hard days?
  4. On a harder day, is there any type of external support for your family?

About Support

5. To what extent do you feel you are getting the support you need from professionals?

  • What has it been like to secure that support?
  • What kind of support are you looking for? Is there anything we/church can do to help?

6. How does being a Christian interact with the support you get from professionals?

  • Are there any interventions that you need help thinking through from a biblical perspective?
  • In what ways are the professionals understanding of your faith?

7. To what extent do you feel comfortable asking for help from friends/family?

  • What makes it easy to ask for help?
  • What would make it easier to ask for help?

8. Can you describe what it’s like to have friends who automatically ‘get’ what you’re going through? [for the most part this will be other foster carers and adopters, but not always]

  • To what extent do you feel you have enough friends who ‘get it’?
  • Do you feel you can turn to them in times of crisis?

9. Are you part of a peer support group?

  • If yes, is it a supportive environment for you?
  • If not, would you like to be in one?

10. How are we doing as a church in supporting you on Sunday mornings?

  • What are we doing well?
  • What could be done better?
    [if they get stuck, you can break down support into practical, emotional and informational support]

11. How are we doing as a church in supporting you during the week?

  • What are we doing well?
  • What could be done better?

12. What do we need to learn more about in order to support you better?

About Faith

13. How has your faith grown as a result of being an adoptive parent/foster carer?

14. How has your faith been challenged as a result of being an adoptive parent/foster carer?

15. To what extent has prayer made a difference to your journey as a parent/carer?

  • Can you share a way that God has answered prayer?
  • What prayers have remained unanswered?