Keneysha, an FSH graduate reflects back on our Adopt-A-Family project and how it all came full circle for her family.
I remember the very first year our family was adopted for Christmas. It was a difficult year for me financially, so much so that in order not to kill the joy of the Christmas for my children I made up a noble yet duplicitous story. I told my girls that we were given so much throughout the year that Christmas was a time to give back. I told them that they wouldn’t receive anything on Christmas instead we would make things for friends, family members and others in need.
Though this taught my girls a great deal, I felt badly that they wouldn’t experience the joy of opening their own gifts.
Thankfully this changed because of FSH. When I learned that a generous family had graciously adopted my family I was floored. I remember my girls and I didn’t even have a tree. They were at school when I received notification that our gifts were available for pick up. I was so excited to see the packages wrapped beautifully and with love with each of our names on them. I found a place in our apartment and set them up as decoratively as possible. When the girls came home they were so excited! The looks on their faces were priceless matched only by the joy on their faces as they opened each one Christmas morning.
It has been over 4 years since I graduated and moved from Family Scholar House. I have gone on to earn a Master’s degree and am fast approaching professional license in my career. The one thing I always vowed to do was give back to the place that had given me so much. One of the ways I knew I would participate was adopting a family for Christmas.
The first year I adopted a family I was so excited. I didn’t have a huge budget but I knew the little I was able to do would be appreciated by the family receiving our gifts. The next year my boyfriend and I adopted a family and we were able to give more. This year the young adult group at my church came together along with my husband and daughters. We were able to make a mother/daughter duo (hopefully) very happy this Christmas! I also told friends about the program and they excitedly adopted families of their own. This included a skeptical friend who stated that he hates giving to charities because he never knows if his money is being used appropriately. I was able to share my story and convince him his time and money would not only be well used but well deserved.
I get so much joy out of giving in this way. I am giddy from the time I get my family’s wish list until the day I drop off the gifts. I have so much (maybe too much) fun shopping! My only regret is not being to see the joy on their faces but then I realize I have seen it. I saw it in the faces of my daughters just a few short Christmases ago.
There is no way to adequately express the overwhelming joy of experiencing full circle the meaning of selfless giving, receiving and gratitude. I know some say that Christmas is not just about gifts and I believe that is true. The lessons, the stories, the memories that surround those gifts are what makes it worth it!