Monday, October 17, 2011

How did this happen???

Our family recently attended a county foster family picnic. Not thinking a thing about it, I let Abby take her American Girl doll and stroller. She quickly had a couple of little girls following her around. It became awkward and left me feeling very sad when one little girl (age 7 or 8) said to her Foster Mom, "See, she has an American Girl doll. That's what I want."

When we got in the car I told Jeremy, "We're going to get those little girls some American Girl Dolls." He looked at me like I had two heads.  Maybe I do?!  When I told him that my first idea was to load them up and take them on an out-of state field trip to the store, I think he was relieved to find out I only wanted to buy some baby dolls.

The next day I called our caseworker, told him the story and asked him what he thought. Somehow in that short phone call, I committed to figuring out a way to buy the little girls in our county foster care AG dolls for Christmas! I didn't even know how many there might be!

So, as is typical for me, it is never that easy. Of course we can't leave out the big girls and the boys. So, now we are figuring out how to provide Christmas presents for all the children in county care here in our community.  I think it would be awesome if this spread and other communities did something similar for the children in their area.

I sent a text to my friend, Paula, shortly after that first phone call  (we had seen each other the day of the picnic and I had told her how sad I felt when we left). Here is our conversation:

Me - I just promised American Girl dolls for all the little girls in county foster care. Now I have to figure out how to make good on that :)!

Her - Ummmm, WHAT?!?!?!?

Me - Haha!! I totally did! It will be fine. Surely, there is a foundation out there that wants to give them baby dolls.

Her - How many are there?

Me - I don't even know!! There can't be that many.

Her - Maybe you should have asked that BEFORE promising them. Haha. Ok, how do I help?

And, that right there, is how this all started. And, just for the record, I have searched high and low and there actually aren't any foundations that I have found willing to give them the baby dolls :).

Holidays were hard for me last year because our little foster baby didn't get any cards or presents for Christmas or his first birthday from his birth family. It made me think that  many, if not most, foster children do not get much for Christmas. 

I recently read an article that points out how hard the holidays are for these precious children. Seeing families celebrate together and making traditions is often a huge reminder of what they have lost or do not have. It can make them feel extremely isolated, unloved and alone. 

Some of you may be thinking, "An American Girl doll? Is that a need?" I would certainly acknowledge that it is not....and that is exactly the point of this gift. Many of these children come into care with almost nothing and sadly, leave with the same. So, yes, we did pick a pricey doll, but we want to give them something that is special and something that will help them feel like they can fit in just a little better when they are with their peers. Something that is theirs to take with them wherever they may end up. As a side note, I haven't bought my daughters their American Girl dolls; they were gifts from extended family. In fact, most of what they have is bought by grandparents and other family. I take for granted how blessed our children are to have so much love and support.

We are trying to raise all of the funds in a week so we can get the gifts here and ready to wrap on Sunday, November 6th (which happens to be Orphan Sunday!). We will be having a party where you will be able to wrap the gifts (who doesn't love to get a beautiful gift to unwrap?!), write a note to stick in the box, have some cookies and actually see the gift you have purchased. If you are able to attend, feel free to bring your children. What a wonderful opportunity for them to think about other children and learn about giving.

People say to me all the time that they wish they could do something, but don't feel called to foster. 

Well, here is your big opportunity! 

You can do any of the following:

~ Sponsor a child for $100. If you are available, we would love for you to come to a wrapping party where you can include a note in your package.

~ Sponsor a little girl for $50. We would love to have you come to a wrapping party and include a note in your package.

~ Sponsor a little or big boy for $50

~ Sponsor one of the above as a group 
Maybe you have a friend, family member, Bible Study Group or Small Group that could all work together!!

~ Maybe you can give $5, 10 or 500. We'll take it :)

If you are giving as a business, church or have a website, we would be happy to add a button to our sidebar in appreciation of gifts of $50 or more.

Thank you so much for bringing HOPE and JOY to one of these precious children!!

What is it like to be a child in care during the Holidays??