So this is my second attempt at writing a real blog post (the first 2 don’t really count!).
I thought I would share our experience of introducing our boys to church, obviously everyone does this slightly differently but this is what we found useful.
Neither of our boys had an experience of church before coming to us and Tom was only 2 last Christmas so it didn’t really register properly for him.
We got our boys towards the end of last year which in some ways made introducing the whole concept of church a lot easier as Christmas was soon after.
Even though Tom is 3 we have tended to buy him very simple “baby” books about Jesus. The basic board book we got him of the Christmas story (5 pages I think) became his favourite, we had to read it every night and regularly since, he loved the idea of a baby being born and there being lots of people and stars around (stars seem to be very exciting in our house for some unknown reason).
When telling Tom about us we talked about our weekly routine and how on a Sunday we went to church, he was interested and excited at the concept of a crèche where he could play with more toys!
We decided to wait about 5/6 weeks after he moved in to take him to church, we took him along before a service while people were setting up, this was an invaluable experience, he had a chance to explore everywhere without any other children and establish his boundaries – he had a great time running round the whole building 8 times (I was exhausted!).
We then explained how the story of baby Jesus was related to church, that baby Jesus grew up and on a Sunday we say thank you to Jesus and we can ask him for things (we had to go simple). We took the boys to the a church service after between Christmas and New Year, probably the quietest service all year, Tom just stood there amazed, every time anyone mentioned Jesus he got excited and said “I know baby Jesus”, he loved the idea that people were talking about his favourite book even if the singing was “a bit weird”.
I should mention James was not yet 1 at this point so just sat on my lap fluttering his eyelashes charming everyone who he could see.
Over the following weeks I went into crèche with them, we decided that I would do every week and my husband would stay in the service, this was to help build a routine and familiarity with the boys (also with daddy working he is in high demand at a weekend). I stayed for in with them for about 6 weeks, then over the next few weeks stayed for a few minutes then left them. They settled amazingly and love going every week.
We spoke to those working in the crèche about triggers for the boys, about giving Tom space when needed and that should they become distressed or upset for any reason they can get us, we wanted to make sure our boys still understood we were there and were their main source of comfort. We have not told people the reasons our boys were adopted, we want that to be their story when they grow up, we tell people what they need to know to ensure our boys are cared for appropriately.
In summary we have had a really positive experience introducing our boys to church, people have been happy to give them space and we keep them close when required.
Tom has loved reading more stories about Jesus and with every Bible story (Old or New Testament) he asks where Jesus is – a great start to understanding theology we think! However when he realised baby Jesus grew up and then died in the Easter story he did get upset.
Happy Easter x