Blog: Visit to Emmanuel Baptist Church, Thamesmead

by Grace Gomez 

PACT and Home for Good. Together we can find a home for every child who needs one. 

A home for every child that needs one. A bold vision to find a loving family for the hundreds of children in care. But this is the goal for Home for Good, a charity that we partner with to find adoptive families from faith communities.  

It was an honour to be asked to support Billy-Jo, Home for Good’s regional lead at a speaking engagement at Emmanuel Baptist Church, a Black majority church in Thamesmead, London. The Rev Angela Bacon was very warm and welcoming and shared with us that she had become a parent to her son through adoption. 

Billy-Jo shared her own lived experience of being a care experienced adult and spoke passionately as an advocate of the thousands of children in the care system. She shared facts on the numbers of children in the care system and the numbers of Black children waiting. 

The children who wait the longest are children aged three and over, brothers and sisters who need to stay together and children with additional needs. 

Black children are disproportionality represented in the care system. While Black children make up 5% of the general UK population, they make up 7% of children in care. Black children are statistically less likely to be adopted and wait on average 18 months longer to find a permanent loving home. Billy-Jo went on to share that last year, only 2% of the children who were adopted were Black. 

The talk was well received by the congregation with lots of positive conversations afterwards. We were also thanked for the work that we do, making a difference in the lives of children. 

I am proud to be the Adopter Diversity Recruitment Officer for PACT. My role enables me to reach people who are Black with the message that ‘you can adopt.’ We can let people know that the Black community are warm and open to adoption, and I get to share the wonderful testimonies of our Black adopters who have become families though adoption.   

We are particularly looking for adopters of Black Caribbean, Black African, Black British and White and Black African/Caribbean ethnicities to enable children to be matched with adopters who they can identify with culturally, visually and emotionally. 

Black adopters Hope*, 44, and her husband Nigel*, 46, adopted sisters Summer* and Rachel* through PACT.  Hope said,  

“I am Black and grew up in this country, but I went to a school where I was one of only four black children and I vividly remember feeling that there is no-one else here who looks like me, which is not nice especially when you’re 11 or 12 and you don’t want to be different from your friends. 

“My parents were really proud of who they are and where they came from, and they raised us in a way that made identity important so very quickly I learned to be proud of who I was. 

“I just think that in their lives my girls will have 101 extra things to deal with because they are adopted so if issues over identity can be minimised, then that can only be a positive thing. For me I am absolutely determined to do what I can to make my girls proud of who they are, and I know I can help them with that.” 

PACT is there for life to support people who choose to become parents through adoption. PACT offers its adoptive families a vast package of training and support which is available from the point of starting the adoption process, through to when their child or children are placed and for as long as is needed. Through this, PACT plays a part in supporting Home for Good to practically equip individuals and families as they explore fostering, adoption and supported lodgings. 

To start your adoption journey today, download a guide or take our interactive self-assessment quiz. When you are ready to take the next step, come along to an information event to hear all about the adoption process and the support PACT offers. 

If you are interested in our work with churches and Black communities, you can learn more about the need for families of diverse ethnicities here or read about our work with faith communities here.