Our family traditions always make Christmas extra special. Our kids know we will get in the car, pick up hot cocoa from Starbucks, and drive around the valley looking at Christmas lights. They are familiar with every area of the zoo and can pick out the new additions to the lighting design at Zoolights. They know we will go to church on Christmas Eve, come home and open presents of PJs before we watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, and put out cookies for Santa and celery for the reindeer. Christmas would not be the same without these special moments we spend together.
At Foster Arizona, we work to create special moments for kids in foster care all the time but, especially around the holidays because we understand Christmas can be incredibly hard for these kids. No matter how great their foster family is or the amount of cool Christmas presents they receive, the reality of being away from their family is a real struggle for many kids in care. If you are a foster family, we encourage you to understand that no matter how special your Christmas traditions are, your kids in care may still have a hard time this season. Last year, we shared stories from incredible foster families and how they chose to love their foster children through loving their birth families. It is amazing how small gestures of love towards their families can change everything for kids in care. You can check out some of the cool ways they chose to love families here: https://fosterarizona.org/christmas-with-the-fosters/
What does that mean for the rest of us? Please don’t stop giving but, also, please choose to see reality through their eyes. When we put ourselves in their shoes, when we choose to empathize-choose to step into their pain, we have the ability to really connect and meet them where they are. If you desire to give your time and connect with kids in care, we invite you to join us January 7th at our Wildlife World Zoo Kid Connection Event. You can find out more here:
Please do not underestimate the healing power of a community who loves well. The gift of knowing you are loved and cared for is one of the best gifts any of us will ever receive.
Founder/CEO Foster Arizona