Friday, December 21, 2012

what this season is all about

 Giving back.... 
especially to those in the greatest need
is what the holiday season is really all about.

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. 

Gene's gifts
The money that we spent is nothing compared to the joy these gifts will bring Gene on Christmas morning.


LWLH said...

So thoughtful...when I go out today I am going to look for the opportunity to give back.

Mrs. H said...

How wonderful! You have definitely inspired me to seek out a family of our own for next year!

Julia Spencer said...

That is awesome! What a wonderful way to give back!

Kristin said...

Wow, what an awesome thing! Giving - especially to those truly in need - is the BEST feeling.

Emily said...

This is wonderful!! I always have more fun shopping for children/families who need it. Merry Christmas!

Amber said...

That is really awesome what you do. I've participated in a few giving trees, but nothing like that. I haven't even heard of actually sponsoring a child. I will have to look into it. Makes me kind of want to just snatch up that little Gene! How do you not want to just take him home with you ?

shay said...

thinking about so many kids/families that don't have anything this holiday season just about kills me. its amazing that you have opened your heart to give!

Mrs. H said...

Such a beautiful post. I'm sure Gene is going to feel very loved this Christmas thanks to you guys. Happy holidays!

Jen said...

Such a wonderful thing you've done for your community! I always make a point to buy something nice for the local Toys for Tots collection, but I see how much others (like you) give back and it blows me away and makes me feel like I should be doing more.

Jamie said...

So beautiful <3 Nothing feels better than helping others and knowing you'll make their days a little brighter! Happy ICLW!

Bridget said...

Wow this post made me teary! What a wonderful thing to do. Thank you for commenting on my blog, I'll be following your journey- best of luck!

Kayla said...

What an AMAZING thing you do!

My husband and I were going to do angels from the tree at Walmart but our store didn't have one this year! What scrooges. I didn't even think about adopting a child through our church but I will most certainly do so next year.

You're an inspiration!

Xoxo, Kayla
ICLW #30

Rebecca said...

Hi from ICLW! You are a wonderful person to be doing this for another person.

Team Harries said...

What a blessing to so many kids!!! How sweet

Infertile625 said...

you have an amazing heart!

JenS said...

Hi from ICLW! I have always wanted to do this - adopt a family to buy gifts for - but I always seem to think of it too late in the season and am unable to participate. It's such a great thing you are doing.

Emily said...

Sometimes giving to others is the best thing we can do for ourselves. I love that you did this, even admidst the HUGE cost of fertility treatments...and THAT is why you will make an amazing mother right there! :)

Hilary said...

you are amazing!

Erin said...

Hello from ICLW. I think it's wonderful that you sponsored a child for Christmas. Especially with IF it's so easy to become consumed by our own problems and struggles but giving back changes your perspective and helps you see how blessed you are in other ways. So kudos to you for doing it. My husband and I always donate in honor of our angel baby and it makes me feel good to know that I'm doing something in his honor at Christmas. -Erin

erika said...

It's wonderful that you keep those families and children in your heart. Thank you for sharing your Christmas story!

I wish you a beautiful holiday season and the very best for your IVF journey. January IVF cycles rock!!!
ICLW #51

Azara said...

We did this growing up and I'm really looking forward to continuing the tradition with our kids as soon as they're old enough to understand. It made quite an impression on me as a child.

Azara said...

Forgot to say I'm visiting from ICLW :)

Marie said...

Wonderful! Sharing blessings will shower you with more blessings :) Marie here from ICLW
P.S. I love love your blog template!

dspence said...

What a wonderful way to celebrate the holiday. Not only making Christmas wishes come true, but being able to share God's gifts of love and provision. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

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