Christmas isn’t the same for these kids as it was for us. For some, it is just a big disappointment or just another day. They dread going back to school where their friends will brag about their expensive gifts and show off new name-brand shoes. Most have been exposed to things that take the magic out of being a child, so Christmas is a big deal to them. Some of our fosters told us of the rent-to-own Christmas where they received new video gaming stations from their bio parent and then in February all the gifts were repossessed for non-payment. Gifts are a weird thing with fosters because they have home visits and want to take them home to show their siblings or parent. One year all the gifts we purchased them were pawned by the mother’s boyfriend and they came back to us empty handed. Even the new clothes and blankets we bought them. Sold for pennies on the dollar, for drugs. Boy did we learn our lesson that year!
These kids know disappointment. They know what it is like to have expectations and be let down time after time. We are the only ones they count on to provide Christmas for them, whether they still live with us or not, and we count on all of YOU to help us. I am so very grateful for all of you out there who want to help children that you have never met. They know they can count on YOU to make Christmas special for them. You are the angels among us.
A few years ago we just made a decision that we would give them something no one could steal, pawn, or destroy. We would give them memories! These are kids that have never been on a boat, gone to a zoo, been to camp, paddled a canoe, and their dreams are simple things like eating a turkey leg at Disneyworld. (That is an actual, spoken wish from one of our kids).
What they need are life experiences.
Things that last FOREVER.
Things that WE take for granted because most of us did all those things when we were little.
These kids, not so much.
It is our dream to give them opportunities to see things and go places that they would otherwise never even dream of because it gives them hope and they can imagine what they want to be when they grow up!
In addition to providing the kids with a CHRISTMAS ADVENTURE, we also provide small gifts and financial support to their parent and parents that are incarcerated. This is so that the kids can give something to their Mom/Dad and the Mom/Dad can also get something and give it to their child. This is SO IMPORTANT, you have no idea. I know, you’re thinking we are nuts for doing this, it is important for that child to think that their bio parent got them something for Christmas. It is crushing for a child to think that they were forgotten about on Christmas by their parent. We make every attempt to ensure this never happens.
The month of December is usually financially difficult for us, as you can imagine. We fill it with new experiences and new memories that they will hold dear for a lifetime. Things like tubing down a clear ice cold Florida spring, visiting a theme park, going fishing in a tournament, checking out the closets zoo or wildlife park, going to a water park, trips to the beach, eating out at Cracker Barrel… our fave!!!! Here are a few!