It’s not even Thanksgiving.
Today my eight-year old and I wrapped Christmas gifts for boys that don’t have a family.
We love them dearly.
Almost three years now they’ve been in the foster care system. Little Bitty is the only blood relative who is involved in their lives.
This morning, MG and I finished her schoolwork early. An idea expanded on our way home from dropping Little Bitty at preschool.
Like acrylics spreading across blank canvas, our strategy grew— the colors of our minds merging a plan to diligently finish a Grammar test so we could steal away to our garage and spend the morning creating.
Hers a Christmas gift on a tiny canvas.
Mine a much larger wedding gift.
Bare feet on cold gray concrete.
All silent but brush strokes and squeezing colored tubes onto palettes.
The quietness broken by her small voice,
Mom I’m sad.
I wondered how mixing hues had stirred sorrow in her heart and asked,
What are you sad about honey?
I’m sad because B and S don’t have a home, a family.
My creative trance abruptly shattered.
The cracks in my chest split open, exposing the fullness of heartbreak and longing that resides there.
Wet brushes in our hands, we knelt down on the frigid floor and prayed for Little Bitty’s brothers.
By God’s tremendous grace, we were given funds to purchase Christmas gifts for the boys.
People who don’t know them held out open palms and said yes to love them.
A brown truck and many cardboard packages arrive daily.
We decided to welcome Christmas early— carrying a few presents with us each time we see them.
Typically, foster children’s wish lists go to churches or are placed upon Angel Trees for people to pick their names and purchase gifts.
We asked their social worker for their lists a few weeks ago so we could help.
Each boy had three things they wanted.
They were surprised today when we arrived toting wrapped rectangular boxes. Green paper with swirled white trees. My husband with a penguin gift bag swinging from his arm.
Raw excitement and shock on their faces, they slowly ripped paper.
The youngest peeked inside the Nike box. Savoring the anticipation of fully opening the orange lid. He had the shoes on his list, probably not expecting to actually receive them.
The oldest didn’t have the shoes on his list. He sat stunned. Finally lifting the lid and holding the shoes to frame his face.
With a broad smile, he repeated over and over how much he loved them.
The penguin bag contained camouflage hats which they quickly perched atop their dark brown curls.
We can’t solve their deep grief. We can’t heal their hearts. We can’t give them a family.
But the body of Christ wanted to generously give to two little boys who have very little.
They are seeing Christ as they are loved, cherished, and known.
Each time we visit them, they run to embrace our entire family. The same thing when it’s time to go– the youngest boy declares it’s group hug time.
Even the lady who the State of Alabama pays to drive them back to their foster home is included in the hug-fest.
The youngest asked my man tonight if he’d help him with his homework— it’s a Friday night and we only had two hours together. This precious boy aches for a daddy.
My heart breaks and tears splatter over the keyboard.
They are in a dark place.
May He shine light and quickly come to their rescue.
Would you please pray for all the children who are desperate for a family?
Please visit The Heart Gallery to see waiting children in your state’s waiting children list.
Melanie and her husband, Kevin, have three biological children and live in Birmingham, Alabama. They have been foster parents for two years. More of their story and journey can be followed at Melanie’s blog Running to the Father.