My wife and I are empty nesters who are prayerfully considering becoming first-time houseparents. We feel called to work in a Christian maternity home. Can you offer advice for this particular ministry? We have about 9 months to prepare. Are there any courses or books that would help prepare us? We would love to contact other couples currently working in this field to ask some questions.
“Can you offer advice for this particular ministry?”
I am afraid you caught me outside of my specialty, all my experience is working with youth. You will hear this again, but I strongly suggest joining the “Houseparent Network Community” You can post your question on the forum and hopefully somebody that has experience with maternity homes will have an answer.
“We have about 9 months to prepare. Are there any courses or books that would help prepare us?”
I don’t know of courses specific for maternity homes but I can recommend taking foster parenting classes. They are usually offered for free through the state. I still use much of the information I learned in classes we took almost 15 years ago. As far as books go, there are a few I recommend for all houseparents:
- No Such Thing As a Bad Kid!: Understanding and Responding to the Challenging Behavior of Troubled Children and Youth — By: Charles D. Appelstein
- Respecting Residential Work with Children -By: James R. Harris Jr., M.A
- They Cage The Animals At Night: The true story of an abandoned child’s struggle for emotional survival — By: Jennings Michael Burch
“They Cage The Animals At Night” isn’t a training resource as far as techniques go, but it is extremely helpful in giving you an understanding of the feelings of children that are in placements. It also gives you a perspective for the kind of worker you don’t want to be, as well as examples of the kinds of people that are great workers.
“We would love to contact other couples currently working in this field to ask some questions.”
Second verse same as the first! Join the Community and post your questions and comments. I am pretty sure somebody will have some information for you. If not, at the very least they will have some encouragement!