Monday, December 4, 2006

The Christmas Family

Last summer, on our way back from the park, where we had just honored our oldest dd's birthday, we were thinking of ways to honor her memory in other ways. My brilliant idea was to adopt a family for Christmas. It needed to be a family with a special needs child, I thought, so we could truly make a difference in a way that would be meaningful for us and for them.

Last October I contacted a local public school with the idea that they would help us find an appropriate family. I am obviously not familiar with the beaurocracy of the public schools. My phone calls were repeatedly not returned, even though when I did happen to catch someone I was assured that the "wheels are in motion". On the day I was actually planning on giving up and making some last-ditch effort to find another family through someone's church or something, I got the phone call from the social worker saying that she had found a family. She had obtained a list of the family's needs and was ready to give it to me. I was a bit annoyed only because of the length of time it took to get to this point. The SW told me that this family was very excited and grateful to be on the receiving end of our project. I was very happy to hear this. I really wanted to take the burden of providing Christmas when the financial resources are not there to be lifted.

In order to initiate this project, I solicited money from friends and family. Many people generously agreed to donate. We ended up with about $450. I think that is wonderful and more than enough to have a very merry Christmas. Well, I got the list in the mail and there were many things on it that I would love to get for them, and in fact have already purchased for them. There were also many things that made me scratch my head in confusion and a bit of disbelief. Apparently this family has called the SW a few times to add to the list. The things that are added are not cheap. Many of these things we do not own ourselves. This is resulting in a bit of an emotional struggle for me.

We do not have money ourselves. The only reason we are able to do this is because of the help of our family and friends. My own children are not receiving gifts such as what the family is asking for. When my dd died, we instantly lost her disability payments, which has resulted in difficulty buying even the most basic things, such as food. We are being helped ourselves this year, through an online community and the wonderful mamas there. We are so very grateful for that. I do not feel like this family is grateful. We have had only one direct experience with them and it was not positive.

So I need to get this figured out soon. I certainly don't want to present them with gifts with my current attitude. I want so badly to give to them out of love and good will. I think perhaps it was just too soon for a project this big. My dd has only been gone 5 1/2 months. My family is not doing Christmas with anyone else but ourselves because it is simply too painful.

There is quite obviously something important for me to learn here. Wish me luck in figuring it out.

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