Author: Julie H., Foster Mom
In November, we were driving past a pumpkin farm up the road from us, and with Halloween being over, I knew that Christmas was coming up. I started to think about putting up our Christmas tree and suddenly had the thought of all of my kids’ ornaments that they had. They would get a yearly ornament from us that represented that year in their life. I turned around in the car and asked Miss D if she brought any ornaments with her from her previous foster placements. She looked at me and shook her head no.
I immediately (and silently) started to get all emotional and teary in the car. I knew I had to do something. She had to have ornaments on our tree! So, as a typical teacher, I created a spreadsheet of each year since she was born, how old she was during that year, and then asked her (slyly over the span of a couple of weeks) what things she was interested in during all the years growing up. From there I went on Amazon and started searching for ornaments and added the links to the yearly ornaments into the spreadsheet. Because I have such great friends and family members who always ask me if they can do anything for me or Miss D, I decided to share the spreadsheet with them. If each one could buy one of the ornaments, then we could get all the ornaments we needed!
Ornaments are not always cheap so buying them all at once was going to get too expensive for just one person. My friends and family stepped up and soon small packages were arriving at the house. Every time a package showed up, Miss D would ask “Another package?? What are you ordering??”. I would smile and stash them away. Once I had gotten them all, I labeled them all with the year that correlated. Some of my friends went all out and customized ornaments with the year and Miss D’s name! (see picture attached).
Now for the BIG REVEAL! I got the tree set up, and dragged out the big box of ornaments. Miss D and her friend said they would help put them up. Next to the big box was a smaller box (filled with her ornaments). She started hanging up our ornaments and I said “Don’t forget the ones in the smaller box, too”.
She looked in the box and said “WHO in this house has a Dora the Explorer ornament? Johnny???”. I smiled at her and she took another look in the box and pulled out, one by one, her ornaments. With each ornament, she exclaimed “A violin in 2019! That’s when I played the violin!” or “I loved Princesses in 2010!”, or “A pink elephant Baby’s First Christmas! I love elephants!”. My husband sat and watched with tears in his eyes as her joy filled the room.