Our normal firm holiday tradition is a lovely fancy meal for the office, the afternoon off, and a secret Santa. We all wanted to participate in the holiday more meaningfully this year, especially for many of the children we represent as acting as Guardian Ad Litem, the children whom are abused or neglected and are forced to enter the foster care system.
Most of these children come into foster care with no clothes, no basic toiletries, blankets or toys. They are uprooted immediately from whatever tragic situation they were living in, and are forced to live in a new environment with strangers. The Huffington Post recently published an article called, “Trash Bag Children,” discussing how these children are considered lucky if they are given the opportunity to fill a trash bag with personal items before they are removed from their home. Some simply have nothing to take. Many of these children will never go home, and will be shuffled from house to house for years. Working with these children on a day to day basis, and learning what they have been exposed to and what has been perpetrated upon them, never gets less heartbreaking, and none of us are ever able to shake off this part of the job. We wondered what we could do to make an impact on even one of these children’s lives, especially around the holidays, some of which these children have never celebrated.
We came up with the idea of taking all the monies we would spend on a fancy restaurant and secret Santa, and pooled it. We used the monies to buy Pillow Pets for 18 foster children and had a fantastic time wrapping these gifts. For those of you whom are not familiar with Pillow Pets, they are extremely soft plush pillow sized stuffed animals that can be used as a pillow every night. Now 18 children will receive a gift from Santa at the annual Foster Family First Christmas Party and will have something to take with them that gives them even the smallest semblance of security in their little lives. We feel truly blessed to have been able to give back to these children.