Twas the night before Christmas, about a quarter past nine, my four children asleep while we indulged in some wine.
My husband and I were having such fun, wrapping our gifts, we were just about done.
When suddenly we paused and sat back and observed, a collective gasp as we realized the mistake that occurred!
Really had we forgotten one of our boys? How could this happen, we overlooked all his toys?!
Quick as a flash my husband jumped in his car, off to Target which wasn’t too far.
Gaining support from other last minute shoppers in line, he got what we needed, in the nick of time.
Guilty we felt, but relieved just the same,
next year we vowed we’d be more on top of our game.
For the sake of informing I’m going to step out of rhyme,
hoping I secured your attention for a little more time.
Looking back on that night now, my husband and I can joke about the “Christmas we forgot one of our kids.” However, sitting there Christmas Eve before everything was resolved made me sick to my stomach; I couldn’t stand the thought of one of my children waking up up Christmas morning without gifts under the tree, feeling perhaps unloved and forgotten.
However, this feeling has enabled me to recognize the burden that some foster families might experience during this season; last minute placements, financial strain and busy schedules can make the holiday season especially hectic. Foster care doesn’t get Christmas break!
Luckily, my husband and I had the resources and opportunity to find an open store last minute and purchase the gifts that could help us avoid this Christmas catastrophe. Unfortunately though, not all children and families have the same good fortune.
In a sense, With Love is the shopper in line at Target for foster families. With Love takes the extra financial and logistical burden.
Joy and honor are unwavering values at With Love; new circumstances, new situations and uncertain separation can cause great anxiety. A present under the tree, selected with intention and love can help alleviate worry and demonstrate worth.
This holiday season With Love will be serving 600 foster children. To aide in this extraordinary endeavor, Nike has made 500 pillow cases to hold gifts and treasures. 100 stockings have been made for babies and infants.
To make the experience even more genuine, parents can request specific items, toys and themes for their child in foster care.
Imagine the joy on Christmas for both parent and child when they receive a pillow case filled with toys and gifts intentionally and specifically bought with that child in mind!
Parents can collect the gifts at six different Foster Parent Night Out events. Additionally, With Love will also be working with two DHS offices, a group called The Family Room as well as making special deliveries in order to ensure that every family is able to have special Christmas gifts under the tree.
One of the greatest nights for me as a child was being tucked in bed Christmas Eve. I would lay there in the dark, dreaming about what I would find under the tree come Christmas morning. I still remember that feeling of anticipation and excitement. The only thing that has eclipsed that feeling is the joy I feel as I see my excited children’s faces as they try and fall asleep as fast they can so that Christmas can come faster! Every child (and parent) deserves to feel this anticipation and excitement and With Love is making that a reality for foster families this holiday season.
The Christmas we “forgot" was solved with some quick thinking and luck. But, how can WE as a community, work together to ensure that no child is forgotten on Christmas? It’s an easy 2-steps!
Buy a gift or much needed item. Do this individually, or as a family, or community group or a book club or a sports team……..get creative in how YOU can honor a family and child this season. Ideas and needs can be found here.
Here’s an additional incentive: The beautiful children boutique in the mall, Le’D Bug Boutique is offering %20 off to anyone who purchases clothing for With Love! They will also send it free!
Additionally, any remaining gifts not used this holiday will be used for birthdays during the year! Your time, energy and resources are never wasted in this cause.
I am a mom who really anticipates the tradition and magic of the season, probably sometimes to a fault as I can dream big and then wear myself out trying to surprise and delight my family. This season, I am really looking forward to Christmas shopping with my kids for a foster child. I’m looking forward to perusing the aisles in the store, discussing which gifts would make a child happy and having conversations about family and what it means to be a community and extend our love to other families and children.
I’m looking forward to hearing from my children why it’s important to make sure no child is forgotten on Christmas morning and what is might feel like to be away from the familiar, and how we can help make that child feel special.
I’m looking forward to taking a break from our own lists and “to-dos” and focusing on what the season is really about.
How many other people are willing to join me on this community effort in supporting our foster families and honoring our foster children?
Let’s make Christmas magical together!