Be sure to tune into A Home For the Holidays which will air tonight on CBS. This is the 12th annual special meant to raise awareness about foster care adoption. This year will feature performances by Katy Perry, Maroon 5, Ricky Martin, Nelly, Melissa Etheridge, and 2010 Angels in Adoption gala performer, Jimmy Wayne.
I got to thinking about what this time of year means to children who were once bounced around in foster home, never belonging to a family or knowing the love of a parent. I wanted to hear firsthand what it means for a former foster child to finally have ‘a home for the holidays’. I reached out to one of CCAI’s 2010 Foster Youth Interns and asked him just that. Here is what he said:
“I’ll be home for Chri…wait, will I? That is a question that so many children and youth in foster care wonder when this time of year comes around. All too often, people get lost in what the meaning of the holidays really is, and too easily take for granted spending the holidays with loved ones. There are children in foster care who will be spending Christmas in a new foster home apart from siblings and any family they’ve ever known.
I was very fortunate to have been placed in a foster home with a lady who quickly grew to love, cherish, and treat me no differently than if I was her own child. The love and stability and comfort I lacked growing up I found in this home. Because of this, family is something that has been and will always be important to me. But when I turn on the news and find out a foster youth took his own life out of loneliness and hopelessness the day after thanksgiving, I can’t help but think how we must be willing and commit to doing more for this country’s foster youth.
I think we all, no matter if you work in child welfare or not, need to look around at the people in our lives who may not have everything needed to enjoy the holidays. We can all play a part in making the holidays a special time for everyone. Just being able to turn to someone on Christmas morning and say exactly that, “Merry Christmas” is, in every sense of the word, the most meaningful gift.
Now here is what I want you to do. I want you to go through your phone book and find a friend or a family member who you may of not talked to in a while, dial their number, and just talk to them. Say “Happy Holidays” and just listen to them. Again, having the ability to talk to someone or possessing the feeling that someone really cares about you and loves you really brings back the true meanings of what the holidays are about.
As you enter 2011, think about what you can do for a child in foster care in your community to make sure this time next year, they have that person who loves and cares about them.
Happy Holidays, everyone!”
-Jeremy Long, 2010 FYI
CCAI wishes you all a safe and joyous holiday!