In 2010, my friend Layna asked me if I'd sponsor a child at Christmas. A and I, of course, said yes...give us two. But then this amazing thing happened. I put it on Facebook and I was inundated with responses from generous friends and family who wanted to help as well. In addition to sponsoring, I found myself organizing another list of children. Thanks to people's huge hearts, I was able to deliver 72 unwrapped gifts to children of all ages (17 years and under) who were living at the Sacramento Children's Receiving Home due to abuse, neglect or behavioral issues.
Last year, I asked my bunco group to join me in adopting a family through my church.
Of course, the other 11 ladies were more than willing and thought it was a great idea.
Instead of putting $10 in the pot for bunco, we used that money to purchase gifts. We received a family with two small children, Viviana and Kevin. My friend Jenn and I shopped, wrapped and delivered the gifts to these very grateful children.
Gifts for Viviana and Kevin
Viviana and Kevin with their gifts
This year, I wasn't in town to organize my bunco group or a bigger effort for the Children's Home. And with my IVF cycle starting the day after Christmas, I didn't think I'd really do anything. But I started thinking about how blessed we are and how important it is to use your blessings to help others who have a need. So despite the pharmacy bill for $3,500 and the clinic bill for $12,550 sitting on my desk waiting to be paid, A and I decided to adopt-a-family on our own this year.
Here's how it works.
Our church matches you will the size family that you select. These families are referred from other organizations. For instance, my family was referred by an adoption agency called Lilliput. You can choose to deliver the gifts directly to the family or take them to the church for delivery.
The family's current situation is listed on the letter as well the children's wish list (including sizes). Items like shoes, jackets, socks, blankets, clothes and toys. This year my child included the following on his list: basketball, soccer ball, used Nintendo DS games (sports), shoes, socks, track pants, and t-shirts. Clearly, we've been matched with an aspiring athlete.
fulfilling the wish list
As I sit here wrapping presents for Gene, the 7-year-old boy that we are sponsoring, I can't help but think about his unfortunate circumstances. This boy will have no mother or father waiting for him with hot cocoa on Christmas morning. No siblings to share in the excitement of leaving cookies out for Santa on Christmas Eve. And the only presents under the tree (if he has a tree at all) may be the ones I am wrapping now.
He has so little compared to many.
He has only his grandmother. That's it.
And his grandmother has health issues.
When he loses her, he will go back to Lilliput into the adoption system.
This little boy and so many others just like him deserve so much more.
More than A and I can possibly provide right now.
But we are making a difference in his life in this small way.
Putting a smile on his face. Brightening his Christmas morning. Even just for one day.
The holidays can get so crazy and busy.
shopping. baking. cooking. decorating. family.
I get it. But don't forget what this season is really about. If you have the ability and see an opportunity to serve or give back, please take it. Whether it is a small donation in the Salvation Army bucket or adopting an entire family, all the good that we do (regardless of how insignificant it may seem), makes a difference. It really does.
The money that we spent is nothing compared to the joy these gifts will bring Gene on Christmas morning.