A Not So Silent Night
It is not often that Heather and I have the opportunity to meet one of the children that Faith Hope & Love serves, but recently we were given that rare chance. We were able to meet one of the nearly half a million children in foster care in the United States.
I’m not a traditional blogger, but if you’ll give me a chance I would love to take this time to share this story with you. I hope that it touches your heart in the same way that it touched mine.
On Christmas Eve, December 24th young children everyone anxiously await for the arrival of Santa Claus. Kelly and Katie were not different. The girls looked out their window hoping for snow to make Christmas day all the more beautiful. What child doesn’t hope for a white Christmas after all?
It was as if the girls could hear Santa cry, “Now dash away, dash away dash away all” to his eight reindeer. Kelly and Katie had agreed earlier that Dasher must be the Reindeer to lead for certainly he was the most handsome and swift of them all to pull the sleigh.
Now evening had come and the girls did not delay in getting to bed, while visions of sugar plums still danced in their heads. But when the clock struck 3am Kelly awoke to a noise on the roof. Wait, not a noise, but rather a clatter. Kelly jumped and woke Katie quickly in her excitement. “He’s here! Santa’s here!” Kelly cried with a stammer. Katie cried, “Let’s run down the stairs and catch that old jolly Saint Nick.”
The clatter became louder as they raced downstairs. The girls envisioned what Santa had left for them, perhaps a beautiful pink dress. When they came downstairs though. It was not Santa, and there were no gifts, and the hope of a pink dress was quickly crushed. The girls’ faces fell as they found their parents in handcuffs and police officers filling their living room. No longer having visions of sugar plums. The joy of Christmas, and the hope for gifts disappeared from their heads as a police officer kindly told them to get their belongings because they would be taking them somewhere safer.
Foster homes are sparse and not even Christmas magic could keep the sisters together. They were sent to separate residences to spend Christmas with strangers. It was starting to feel like “A Nightmare Before Christmas” for the two girls.
Heather and I got the call on Christmas. We’re supposed to be on vacation, but we’re never fully off duty because there will unfortunately always be kids in need. The caller asked if we could bring one of the duffel bags that we provide to help children during distressing times. The bags are filled with hygiene and comfort items. It’s something a child can call their own when nothing feels secure in their world.
Heather and I took off shopping on the day after Christmas. We didn’t want to show up with only a duffel and forget about Christmas. We purchased items new rather than donated because we want children to know they have value and are loved. We do this because the one thing we read over and over again is that like any other child a foster child too wants to feel happy, valued, and loved.
Kelly was introduced to us and when she finally looked up at us from the chair where she sat. I had trouble reading the look on her face. I could only describe it as numb and possibly still in shock over the course of her week. She did smile a few times and it was easy to see what she liked most. The coat provided the biggest smile of all. We were not able to stay for a long period of time, but we stayed long enough to receive the news that the sisters would be able to see each other the following day.
I was blessed by this experience but also saddened. We never want to see a child whose been hurt by something like this. We’d rather that there wasn’t a need for an organization like this. A world where parents take care of their kids, and abuse doesn’t exist. Unfortunately that is not the reality and the world we live in does need Faith Hope & Love so that other kids like Kelly and her sister can see the everlasting love of God through the actions of a stranger.
Our hope is that at the least our efforts will help to write a better chapter into the lives of children. A little Faith Hope and Love. Then, just maybe, girls and boys like Katie and Kelly will not be counted among the 450,000 in foster care. Won't you join our efforts, to expand our programs and create two new programs in 2020 (see below)?
Mark and Heather Lojeski Co-Founders of Faith Hope & Love.
(The names were changed to protect the privacy of the children.)