and small acts of kindness
Once you know something, it’s hard to unknow it. After 13 years in the foster/adoptive community, I know that Christmas is a difficult time. It’s the time of year when many kids are removed for the first time from their birth parents. It’s a challenging time for birth families who are barely holding things together. Extra bills, the cold weather, expectations, and stress. For families from generational poverty and abuse, this time of year often brings up more pain than joy.
Things tend to go off the rails around Christmas. Even for kids long removed from trauma, neglect or abuse, the holidays can stir up anxiety, nerves, and behaviors. While I personally embrace minimalism for our family, minimalism only really works when we are able to replace “stuff” with other good things. Traditions, story time, adventures, warmth, and closeness. When kids live in poverty combined with abuse, neglect, drug use or food scarcity, if you take away the toys, Christmas feels like a big pile of crap. Well, it might feel that way anyway, but at least there is a new toy to distract from the fact.
So this year as I was flipping through the Black Friday ads, these bears caught my eye. These are the kind of gifts I would loathe my children receiving! But they are the kind of gift that, if a kid only gets one gift, might do the trick. I wasn’t sure I wanted to trek out for the sale, but I was in dire need of a new paper planner, which was also on sale, so off I went.
I wasn’t sure where exactly I would donate them. Child Protective Services likes to have a few extra gifts around. For the kids who end up in the ER a few