In 2009, I took home a medical fragile newborn on a feeding tube from Wesley at the request of the social worker and the baby’s mom. It was their hopes that I would keep her until mom could go through treatment and get on her feet. I was unaware how long I was going to have her, and soon had to license to become a foster home. Even though she was not in foster care, I had to license to stay within the guidelines of the state’s respite rule. I was so grateful to the staff at DCCCA, a child placing agency, as they paid their staff to train and monitor my home, even though the child I had was not in foster care, and she would not earn their organization any income. As a courtesy to DCCCA, I attending the foster care Christmas party about a month later. It was at this party that I sat with a table of young teenagers who were currently in foster care. A voice came across the loud speaker asking people to finish eating in the next 5 minutes because Santa was coming. I was shocked to see all the teenagers get up and head outside. I made a big deal about Santa coming, and asked them why they were leaving. A young man named Michael, whom I will never forget, looked at me and said “Lady, we are teenage kids in foster care. No one cares about us! You really think Santa brought us gifts?” I asked one of the foster parents at the party, and she explained to me that no one really likes to provide gifts for the teenagers, thus most donations just focus on the younger children. Michael continued to share with me his perception that as a teenager in foster care, he is so afraid of being moved from home to home, and that at any time, his worker can show up at school with his stuff in a trash bag and move him to another home. He then told me, “Lady, I am happy where I am at and do not want to change homes or schools. Because of this, I do not ask for anything… not a can of pop, a tube of chap-stick or a package of gum!” He also shared with me that because he could move with no notice and someone else might pack his stuff, he keeps all of his belongings in his bedroom and is careful not to leave ANYTHING in a different part of the house, for fear his stuff would get left behind. This young boy broke my heart that day, but at the same time, motivated me to change this mindset for teenagers in foster care within our community and state. I went to WalMart the next day and bought 2 cans of pop, 2 tubes of chapstick and 2 packages of gum. I purchased all these items for a little less than 10.00 (with inflation we’ve increased the gift amount to $15), and thus our quest for gift cards was born! We collect these gift cards, wrap them up nicely with ribbon and paper, and give them to the teenage foster kids in DCCCA foster care homes and others that we come into contact with through our mentoring in the schools and communities. We have partnered with the Connections Program to provide mentoring and support to these young teenagers who are unable to go home and probably will not be adopted so that we can create some kingdom support and relationships for them, convincing them that they are loved and hopefully maximizing their potential to succeed in the future! Thank you for helping FaithBuilders be the hands and feet of Jesus to the least of these in our community. We are a 501c3 nonprofit organization and a tax deduction letter is available upon request for your donation of gift cards or cash to purchase these gift cards!
In HIM, Andrea