Column: Don’t put up barriers to a happy home for children

Rt Rev Geoff Pearson, Bishop of Lancaster
Rt Rev Geoff Pearson, Bishop of Lancaster

Recently a social worker was criticised by a judge for telling a couple that it might be harder to place their baby son for adoption if he were baptised.

Although we should be careful about making too much of this one case, I am glad that the judge challenged this matter in court.

Why was there an underlying hostility towards Christianity and what evidence did the social worker have for saying that a christening might reduce the pool of possible adopters out there?

What I can claim is the impressive number of Christian parents who have been willing to foster and adopt.

There is a high percentage of clergy in our own diocese who have opened their homes in this way.

In my own parish I have had three curates, all of whom have adopted. A judge told one little boy how fortunate he was to now belong to a clergy family.

When I worked in Blackburn there was a couple in the church called Margaret and Tom. They had one son of their own and started to foster and adopt other children.

They were given Tracy and told quite confidently that she would never walk or talk.

But that opinion did not take account the love that Margaret and Tom poured into Tracy’s life which enabled her to eventually both walk and talk.

Even when Tom died Margaret continued to foster and at the last count she had looked after more than 70 babies and children.

There may be a growing secular voice in our midst. The default position in our nation may be unbelief but let there be a tolerance of those who do want to baptise, those who see the spiritual as important and want to identify their children with Jesus Christ.

We want as many children as possible to experience a loving family environment. Please don’t exclude families who profess faith from opening their homes.

I am really sad that the seeds of love and faith and obedience to God are stifled in so many young lives.

I do hope that social worker might think again.