Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Paper and glue sticks

Last Friday, I had an amazing experienceworking with some kids who have been adopted (or are in the process of beingadopted).  A dear friend of mine worksfor a private, non-profit agency that helps kids and families transition duringand after placement in this state.  Inaddition to many of the services this organization provides, they alsoroutinely have get-togethers on Friday nights; as it is important for kids tosee and interact with others who have also been adopted because they feel less “weird”about their experiences. My friend coordinated with me so that I could help thekids on their lifebooks.  A lifebook is aspecial scrapbook that relays the story of adoption from birth to placement orlonger. 

There were six kids ranging from 5to 15 on Friday night.  I had preppedgoody bags for the kids—glue sticks, paper, markers and some stickers.  My initial plan was to go over some basics,like what to include and to encourage them to write down (or journal) what theyremembered.   My plan quickly got thrownout as I watched the kids open their goody bags.  Almost every one of them said something tothe effect of “this is for me?”   I gotvery emotional as I watched their excitement grow.  Each one carefully pulled out all the paperand looked through their small stack and it was fun to watch them plan.  Especially for these kids who have bouncedbetween foster homes and their birth homes, it was also important for me togive them ideas on writing about their experiences because pictures may nothave traveled with them.   As they cutand pasted, some began sharing some of their own story with me.  A twelve year old girl, with the mostbeautiful smile was showing me pictures from her finalization…which happened onChristmas Eve 2012.  No doubt, she hasseen a lot of heartache in her life, but felt loved now.  Her mom was there with her and hugging herand giving her a hard time. This girl had been with the family for only twoyears, but it was sure fun to see the love they shared for each other.  As the parents worked with their children onpreserving history, I soaked up as many of the smiles and shows of creativityand completed pages that I could.  Whoknew that paper and glue could bring out so many smiles in such a short time?  I didn’t get any “teaching” done but I wassure blessed beyond comprehension. 

I think that I will be able toreturn and help them again and will probably start pestering my friend for thenext date soon. I was reminded of how seemingly effortless it can be to make someoneelse’s day; those kids probably aren’t going to remember my name, but I betthey remember that one lady who came on a cold, rainy Friday night.  I think wherever the USAF takes us; I willtry and find a similar agency to volunteer at. Again, I was reminded of the blessing of foster families. It certainlytakes special people to love on a kid for an unspecified amount of time; I’m thankfulfor all of them. 

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