We held Parker and McKenna’s birthday party over the weekend. They spent hours running with friends and opening gifts and pushing the limits of sugar way too close to bedtime. I alternated between not being able to stop smiling and taking pictures and talking.
Driving home with a van piled full of gifts and kids recounting every moment of the Bestest Birthday Ever, I felt spoiled by it all. Love, thoughtful gifts, leftover dinner and four extra cupcakes balanced between car seats and chatter, had left me full.
Last week I read an amazing article by Kristen Howerton at The Huffington Post, “The Only Mommy War Worth Waging” (if you have not read it, go now and then come back, I’ll wait right here). When I read her thoughtful post about motherless children, my heart broke for the kids she spoke of and I had the urge to ask my husband, once again, if we can adopt one or ten more kids.
And then someone pulled on my arm or someone spilled juice or I smelled dinner burning and I continued on with life.
This weekend, two days after reading that article, I crossed paths with parent-less kids. Two faces to put to the stories Kristen discussed in her article. They have a home and clothes and three meals a day but my mind is consumed with wondering how often they get a hug or if anyone has ever asked them if they wanted the crust cut off their sandwich. Their basic needs are being met but the thought that they aren’t being mothered and may have never been, leaves me acutely aware of how much I have (love not things), how much my children have (hugs not toys) and how we can give them some.
I may start dropping off our clothes to their center rather than trying to sell them and find out what they want for Christmas and their birthdays and see if we can make those things happen.
But I want their hearts to be more full than their shelves. I’m going to keep them on my mind when we head to the mall or the movies or high school events and make sure there is a seat for them in our van. I’m going to check on their holiday plans and be someone who asks about their days and really wants to hear the answer.
I can’t take them into our home but I can take them into our hearts.
I ended the weekend overwhelmed by friends and family and all that we have
and a tap on the shoulder from the universe, telling me it’s just too much to keep to myself.
I urge you to find a home near you that houses children who have spent their lives in the foster care system. Do something personal, give someone a hug, let them know you care. It doesn’t cost a thing.
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It’s hard to believe there are so many children without parents. You are just too wonderful for words. Also, love this photo. XOXO
Simply, Jessica? Well-said.
No good ever comes out of name calling. And no good ever comes out of ignorant, hateful statements.
This was so touching, Jessica! The part about the sandwiches not getting their crusts cut off got me. Thanks for making us more aware.
Rach (DonutsMama) says
Thank you for caring about those kids and for sharing with us. It breaks my heart too and I feel like no precious child should go without hugs. Makes me think even harder about how I can make a difference.
JD @ Honest Mom says
Jess, you really inspire me. Thanks for this. You really have your priorities straight and I so admire that. 🙂
Hearing that story last night broke my heart. You are too, too kind to do all you can to show them some love. You’re going to make their day. Year. Life.
I love, love, love this post. I have two adopted kids and I worked as a CASA volunteer and I find myself wishing all the time I had a house that was HUGE and lots of money and more time than I do. I cannot bear that there are children out there who have no parents.
Your heart is so wonderful and so open, and they are lucky to have encountered you, not only for themselves but for the awareness you are raising about what some other motherless children might really need.
My Inner Chick says
—S T U N N I N G
Megan (Best of Fates) says
That article is amazing. And crushing. Thanks so much for pointing it out!
What a wonderful idea. And what a beautiful and big heart you have. (Oh, and I LOVE the photo.)
This post just made my heart happy. I used to volunteer with foster children when I was back in the States (and childless) and you could see it in their faces that these children wanted validation and affection. Some foster parents are amazing and then there are others. You are doing an amazing thing by getting this out there!
Wonderful reminder, Jessica. Kids do need so much more that just meals and shelter. They need so much love and so many hugs and kisses too. Thanks for this post.
I love your heart…. absolutely love it.
Wow, I envy you for being overwhelmed by your friends and family. Keep that positive energy there because it can be contagious to your family members as well and to your readers. Love you post and your picture!
i agree, there are so many things that can be done besides fostering directly. here is the post I read a year ago that made me feel i had to so something: http://www.ourcupsrunnethover.com/blog/index.php/2011/06/09/a-story-of-a-boy-akin/
also, have you heard about this very cool organization helping kids who age out of foster care, including a registry to help them with things they need: https://camellianetwork.org/
Elaine A. says
I know these feelings. I felt them many times while in college, volunteering with children like you and Kristen are championing. They deserve more and you may have just set something in motion in my heart as well…
I love that you have volunteered with them in the past. I keep thinking that if we could all just do the little things it would add up to so much more and, at the very least, a few more kids feeling loved.