Home for the Holidays: Fostering Care
With a joyful confidence, David began the speech he had prepared. Leaning over the podium with a big smile he began, "Thank you all for your warm welcome, and, Chloe, your kind introduction was very generous. I appreciate that you have asked me to speak at your meeting tonight, and, by the way, this holiday meal was spectacular!
"It is an honor to have been asked to make the announcement of this change in leadership, and it is a pleasure to be with each of you. I hope to speak with many of you before the evening is over." Nodding in their direction, "My wife and other family members feel the same way, I'm certain."
There was no way he could really explain the way his family had supported and encouraged him. Giving him the time to work along with his brother and help him develop the foundation through their own sacrifices was a gift that was too personal for words in a speech.
"Some of you only know me from the business community, so you may not know that my history is part of the reason I’ve been asked to speak at this dinner tonight. I was a foster child and to this day I do not know why.
"I know very few details about my birth parents’ lives, but I know enough to realize that my life would have turned out very differently if it were not for my foster parents’ intervention in my life, as well as in my brother’s life.
"Today, you all know me as a successful business man, but you probably don’t know that without the training and love that I received through foster care the chances of my having a successful life were negligible. My foster parents were wonderful people who shared their home, their family, and their faith with me.
"I still remember the blessing of that first holiday season as part of a real family." Nostalgia filled his eyes as he continued, "Coffee wafted through the house in the mornings while everyone tromped around in their socks and PJs just enjoying each other. Everything was new and different in those early months together.
"Dad and Mom told me right away that they wanted me to call them that. They intended to parent me, and my new brothers and sisters treated me just like one of their own from the beginning.
"We sipped hot chocolate and put a huge puzzle together during our first break off school together. Puzzle piece by piece, sip by sip, I was able to get know each family member a little better.
Smiling gently as he described the scene, "On Christmas Day our gifts were nice, though modest, yet, that day I realized that no present on earth could ever equal what being accepted as one of their family members meant to me. I was home for the holidays.
"I'll always be grateful for their love and unselfish sacrifices, and I know my brother agrees. Right now I would probably not need to say more than that to you, but there is more that we need to talk about. The foster care system needs responsible, caring adults to help raise children in stable families.
"We’ve all heard the horror stories of breakdowns in the system, but we don’t often stop to think of what is at the root of those stories. You can imagine that there are individual details to each of the situations, but the why behind each story is the same.
"There are not enough good foster parents to go around. I can’t solve the problems within the foster care system, but I can encourage those of you who have something to offer children not to wait on finding a way to get involved in the lives of your community's children.
Standing straight and tall, he spoke firmly. "So, while I do support the foster care system that I am familiar with, I am also involved in this grass roots movement to privatize foster care. Private citizens can always do a better job of providing care for children than the government can, but I also know that it takes a good core group of people for an effort like this to be successful.
"The Children’s Corporation is managed by people with skill to match their hearts. Each member of the board is a friend of mine and I am familiar with the way they manage their personal and business lives. I’ve known most of them for years and I assure you that they are quality people of high character.
"You’ve seen the literature on this effort to place needy children who have high hopes for the future in families with a desire to help them. You’ve heard from the various department heads, the social workers, and the volunteers that are already in place to help the first group of children waiting on placement in the new organization.
"This is a new venture, a brave move on behalf of children who have the potential to go far in life if they can escape their desperate circumstances. We hold in our very hands the chance to help them become productive citizens at the very least, and who knows which ones will be the ones to help solve some of society’s biggest problems?
"It’s up to us to make sure this project is successful," he reminded his audience with outstretched hands. "You don’t need me to tell you what to do. The need is obvious, the opportunities to make the solutions work are plentiful. You have all of the information you need to show you what your next step should be.
"I can only urge you to make a difference in the live's of needy children, like my foster parents did for me and my brother. Perhaps you will do just like they did, or your part may need to come in another way, but I ask you not to wait. These children have waited too long for a helping hand to reach out to them.
"Oh, and so you don’t go home wondering who my brother is," David added with a sly grin, "you’ve already met him, my twin, Jerrid. I’m proud to say that he is the founder of The Children’s Corporation, and that with his own resources he has built this organization without compensation.
"He's now put it in the hands of these capable people you see behind me. Both Jerrid and his wife, Felicity, will serve as advisors from this point on, each sharing their experience and heart with the new leadership's panel of experts.
"You see, they have decided to adopt four stair-step brothers who have two baby sisters. These children need a family, and I'm so proud to say that my brother and his wife want to be their parents. As you enjoy this holiday season, keep in mind that the new year can be a new beginning for children who have no hope, except for your help.
"Merry Christmas to you and yours, and may your New Year be bright with the joy of knowing that you made a magnanimous decision to be here and join forces with them tonight. Fostering care for children in need will make an enormous difference for them, of course, but also for you personally, and then corporately within your community. Thank you for your time tonight."
Should You be a Foster Parent?
• 15 questions you should ask before deciding to be a foster parent can help you make this important decision.
From the Experience and Heart of a Foster Care Mom:
• Various discussions on foster care issues range from inexperienced opinions to that which comes from a wide variety of experiences. This mother approaches it with God-given strength and courage.
More Story Titles from this Home for the Holidays Series:
The following list allows you to easily find my other titles in this group of stories. Though, our imaginations can cause us to wish for the perfect holiday (that may in reality be a disappointment), allowing our thoughts to wander over the best experiences life could bring can inspire us in many ways:
• Perfect Traditions -- Home for the Holidays, Number 7
Mom’s delight is to have her big get-together on New Year’s Day. She loves it that the whole clan has that to look forward to after Christmas has come and gone.
• Christmas Fudge -- Home for the Holidays, Number 6
There’s a small river between the woods and the main field that I want to get reacquainted with. He and I are old friends, and I need to hear his voice again.
Foster Goodwill with Children
• The Favor -- Home for the Holidays, Number 5
We make it a point to get out of Dodge and we leave technology behind us for a real slice of country life at my parents' home.
• A Holiday Respite -- Home for the Holidays, Number 4
I’ll close my eyes in the safest place on earth, and open them again to familiar sights in the morning's light. Everything on this side of the world will be behind me--for a little while.
• The Gift of a Lifetime -- Home for the Holidays, Number 3
Adam told her he had been listening to the children breathe as they slept. A snow-bound house full of children and grandchildren was just what he and Angie needed to give them the merry Christmas they wished for.
• Grandpa's House -- Home for the Holidays, Number 2
He’ll settle you around his tree by the fireplace. The gifts will be spilling out everywhere, but he won’t say a word about them.
• A Change of Plans -- Home for the Holidays, Number 1
Friends who used to run the groves and fields with me will show up. Some of them, anyway. Those who won’t be there, well, they’ll still be there.