The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints started an initiative for each December to Light The World. Each day they have dedicated a way to be kind to others and do something for others. Some days are very specific while others allow a little imagination.
This year we decided to take one big project, stretch it over a few weeks, and Light The World.
My family and I have been a foster family for two years now. We have been more integrated with the foster community and have seen a lot of heartbreak but also a lot of joy. Being a foster parent is hard. In all of the classes we took, in all of the people we talked to while registering to be a foster family, no one could prepare us for how hard it actually was to be a foster parent.
Although there is much joy with having foster children, there is a lot of stress, worry, and a lot of things to fret over that a parent with a birth child doesn’t have to think about. Thoughts like “What happened to this child before coming to me?” and “How does this child like to be soothed?” are frequent in the fostering community. We don’t know all that this child has been through and we don’t often know exactly why a child behaves the way they do when they arrive at our home.
Thinking of it the other way around is also heartbreaking. These children are being pulled from their homes, from their birth parents, and from their stability as they know it. If they are in a foster home currently, they are spending the holidays, one of the most joyous times of the year, with a family they don’t know well, with people who are acting as their parents but aren’t.
Everyone in the foster situation is having a tough time.
So we decided that we wanted to make sure that some of the foster families in our community know that we are thinking of them and are grateful for their service and for the ways they are lighting our community.
How Youth Participated in #LightTheWorld
Youth (ages 12 and under) made cards, pictures, and asked others in the community for food donations for foster families. The youth along with the community did a wonderful job donating their time, efforts and food.
First, the youth had donation fliers. It included what they were doing, why they were doing it, and how people could donate.
Next the youth got together and made cards and pictures for the foster families. During this time, they were taught more about foster children and why it is important that they are in different homes right now and why it is important that they are thinking of them at this time of the year. They enjoyed being creative and also talking about why a child might be in foster care and how they might feel.
Foster families were contacted and made aware that they youth would be delivering a meal to their home. This meal would be the ingredients for another day but to ease the burden of figuring out another meal and to let the families know that we are thinking of them and grateful for them.
The final part of this project was to deliver the meals. There were so many families that we had to deliver multiple evenings. The youth piled in our cars as we had to caravan around. We caroled at each home and delivered the food.
Each home was unique. Some were obviously in harder, more difficult situations than others. Some families had up to 12 children in their home. One of the favorites was delivering to a family who just had received the good news earlier that day that their case with their little 4-year old girl was being moved to adoption and they would soon be able to adopt this little girl that had been in their home for just over 3 years. It was fun to celebrate and rejoice in their good news. All of the families were kind and grateful. It was a good experience for the youth to see all of the situations, hear about the children, and see that not all families are like theirs.
This is how we participated in #LightTheWorld this year and we have big plans for next year. How have you participated in #LightTheWorld? Find out how others are participating by following the hashtag #LightTheWorld.