Earlier this fall, we had the opportunity to visit the Museum of Lost Childhood. Foster teens in the y.o.u.t.h. training project (an initiative of California Youth Connection) have created this very sobering display to convey the daily life of a child in foster care, using actual objects or photos from their lives. We were struck by many things, but one plaque particularly caught our attention. It read:
GROUP HOME CHRISTMAS
This is a picture of a youth spending Christmas Day in her group home because she had nowhere else to go and no one to visit. The sweatshirt she is holding up was the only gift she received. Many youth in foster care lose connections to their birth families and are never given the chance to develop other permanent connections. They often spend holidays, birthdays, and special occasions alone and forgotten. Have you ever sent a youth a birthday card? Who sends foster youth birthday cards?
Most of us take Christmas cards for granted. This is the time of year when they start appearing in your mailbox almost daily. Every one represents a connection in our lives and someone who cares about us. Can you imagine not having a single person in your life who cared enough to send you a card for Christmas?
We have connected with a group home here in California that houses 12 children, and – with your help – we want to fill their mailboxes this Christmas. Our website has the instructions about how and where to send cards. (We hope to expand this project throughout the year to send birthday cards as well, so sign up for our mailing list to get those updates and instructions.)
We know that a Christmas card doesn’t replace a child’s family. We know that it is not a permanent connection. But it is a chance to remind a child that they are loved, simply because they are a child of God, that they are not forgotten, and that they are being prayed for.
As you make your Christmas card lists, we hope you will consider sending a few extra to Jesse, Angelina, Destine, Armando, Faith, Ciyarah, Tytis, Guadalupe, Tyler, Cheyenne, Miracle, and Sergio. And we hope that you will keep these children of God in your prayers.