I work for a very large company with many employees, most of whom I do not know. As I was walking in one morning shortly after Thanksgiving, I over heard two ladies talking about the needy family that had been “adopted” for Christmas by her husband’s company. She was very upset over the family that had been selected because they had “too many children”they should not have had that many if they couldn’t take care of them.
My blood was boiling, but I bit my tongue. She continued to relate that she and her husband decided not to give anything this year because they didn’t want to help a family that”just did’t know when to stop.” The second lady agreed. I couldn’t help myself. I turned around and, as calmly as I could, I asked them what they really knew of this family. The lady who had been doing most of the talking explained that there were seven kids, the oldest of which was only ten.
The parents were only thirty and “obviously they started too young, instead of getting an education to provide for their family.” She knew their first names, their ages, favorite colors, and the items they needed and wanted for Christmas. The list of wants/needs was pretty basic: hats, mittens, coats, a doll for little Susie, a truck for Joe, etc.nothing extravagant at all. the “problem”was just that they had “too many children.”
At that point, I introduced myself, explaining that I was also in my early thirties and had “too many children.” I had seven children, and my oldest was only eight. The women decided my situation was different because I was working and providing for my children and that they were not being “adopted by strangers for Christmas.” I then told them that most of my kids also had their names on Christmas want lists and would very desperately love be adopted for Christmaspermanently adopted ay a “real” family. You see, six of my seven children are foster children.
They stammered, shuttered and apologized; they had never thought of that. I gave them a few other possible instances of how a family can end up”too many children.” It could be anything: death of the parents, blended families, grandparents raising grandchildren, and on and on. After hearing this, the ladies said that they wished they would have done something to contribute, but it was too late because the collection already had been completed and turned in.
Continue this story on the next page by clicking below!
I knew that they could see things differently now. I explained how I often got rude comments at the grocery store when I took my kids and used government vouchers (subsidies for food for low-income families and for kids in foster care).
We heard cruel comments like,”You shouldn’t have so many children if you can’t afford to feed them.”
One day after hearing this, my oldest asked me, “Mom, can we afford all this food?”She was truly bothered by these comments (we routinely spend three hundred dollars a week on groceries, after the vouchers).
I don’t explain it to strangers in the store because it would only hurt the kids even more. they all have come to dislike the “F word” (as in,foster), which not only makes them different, but also gives them a feeling of being unwanted or unloved. But many of our family and friends are teaching others not to he so quick to assume and judge. The ladies and I continued to talk for a while, and I showed them pictures of my seven kids.
We talked about the number of children in foster care in the United States, as well as in overseas orphanages, waiting to be adopted. It’ s incredible that there are so many children in need. In some way, she was right: the “problem” is that there are just “too many children”; too many who need to he loved and cared foreven adopted, not just for Christmas but forever.
The following morning, when I arrived at my desk, there sat two bags of Christmas gifts for “my” kids. It’s amazing how much people really do care when they really know.