As joy-filled and festive as the holiday season can be, it can also be a trying time for youth in foster care and the families who care for them. This is the time of year where many of us want to give back or do something kind for those in need. Often, though, our strong desire to help out can keep us from understanding how our actions might affect those on the receiving end of our acts of kindness. Knowing how to navigate this tenuous balance between being charitable while also being considerate of the real needs of others can make a huge difference in the success of one’s holiday giving.
Luckily, the thoughtful folks at Confessions Of An Adoptive Parent came up with this wonderful list of things to consider if you or your loved ones wants to bring some holiday cheer to a child in foster care. Having adopted and fostered several children themselves, Kristin and Mike Berry are adeptly tuned to the ways in which the holiday season–a time of year many of us associate with warm thoughts of family and togetherness–can adversely affect young people who grow up separated from their biological family members.
The simple considerations the Berrys offer to those who want to help out a foster family during the holidays can easily be applied to other instances of charitable holiday service and giving. As you contemplate where to aim your acts of holiday kindness this year, reach beyond the standard bright, ribbon-wrapped packages. Pause to consider what you could do to bring the most positive, lasting change in the lives of youth in foster care and offer them a gift that will echo well into the new year.