Your busy, we all are. Yet despite what the popular press may have us believe, most Americans today still strive to make Christmas a tradition-filled, culturally rich experience for themselves and their children. With the fusion of our multicultural and sometimes transracial families, we also find ourselves in a “bigger world” so to speak. Having traveled across the world for our children, sometimes even visiting their orphanages, we have both taken from and left part of ourselves in these far-away places.
This year I would like to share with you what I am doing to bridge that long distance between the U.S.A and the countries from whence my children come. It’s my hope that you may consider doing the same, or something similar, in your family. My children are older now. I actually have 2 teenagers and 3 elementary age kids now. They’re old enough to have a lot of questions and feelings about adoption, the cultures of their birth, and especially the children left behind.
It’s been my hope for years to be able to travel either as a group, or with each child individually, back to their birth countries. As time goes on, however, I realize that idea will probably remain a dream. Time and money….the great limiters. However, I think I may have found a way to bring to them a bit of social responsibility mixed with a strong tie to their birth countries.
This year the 4 oldest of my children will receive a one year sponsorship of a child currently living in an orphanage. Each of my children will receive their own child to sponsor, correspond with, send gifts to, and pray for. On Christmas day they will receive a photo, a medical and a short write up about their child. After the first year, we will decide together if they would like to continue the sponsorship…and if so, they must also begin to make a monetary contribution (an affordable amount based on their allowance size) towards their child’s sponsorship.
I actually ran the idea past the girls during the last week. I had looked into some programs (some of whom I currently sponsors children myself through, others that I have heard about), and discussed with them the different types of sponsorship. To my great pride, each child was enthusiastic and VERY excited to find out who ‘their child’ is. They can’t wait to open that envelope on Christmas day and see that special someone that they will be praying for and loving this coming year.
However, the kids came back to me within a day with an even bigger surprise. 2 out of the 4 were not interested in sponsoring a child from their birth country! Apparently we have done a pretty good job of helping them to connect and learn about the areas of the world where they were born…and that knowledge has helped them to expand their interests to other countries as well. My daughter from Korea has informed me that she would like to sponsor any child in Africa. She feels very connected to the children there after doing a school project about AIDS orphans, wars and social issues in Africa. My daughter from China has several Hispanic friends and would like to sponsor a child in Mexico or South America. She loves Spanish and all the food from that area and would love to be connected with a child in need from South America. The girls were afraid I would be disappointed, but I was even more proud that they had taken on a global interest and did not feel limited by their own race. Instead, these girls are empowered to follow their own interests and hearts.
Child sponsorship can be paid yearly or monthly in installments. And there are other ways to help the children and connect your child to children who are in need. Some programs have children who need sponsorship to have surgery. Others programs offer school sponsorships, wheel chairs, and much needed medical supplies.
There are hundreds of programs available through adoption agencies or non-profits that have been started by adoptive families. It would do a disservice to many if we at RainbowKids.com focused on just a few. I invite you to contact your own agency today to ask the types of programs they have, or use a search engine to research the many options available to you through other non-profits.
Please consider starting this new tradition today. Your child will learn and benefit in so many ways….and another child’s life will be enriched and changed forever.
Merry Christmas from my family to yours. And may God bless all the children who wait and hope.