All They Want for Christmas!

Almost fifty-eight years ago, in the early hours of one
morning, a young nineteen year old unwed woman gave
birth to her first child…a boy.

She spent most of her pregnancy in a home for unwed
mothers as her father would not, as he said, allow a
bastard child in his house.

She was uneducated and unable to provide even the
basic needs for herself yet alone for her newborn child.

She did what she thought would be best for him. She
placed him lovingly for adoption within hours after
his birth.

She wished for him the best; a loving, nurturing,
stable family and a home to call his own.

Instead he spent the first year of life in a hospital
nursery and also the nursery of the same home for
unwed mothers his mother had spent her pregnancy.

Despite being a white, blond, hazel eye, healthy baby,
no one came forward to adopt him…he was NOBODY’S
Child!

Those first days in a nursery turned out to be
eighteen years of being moved from one foster home to
another or institution; fifteen moves by age eleven.

During those years he would attend many schools, never
having long time friends. He at a time would find his
bed on a back porch and be forced to steal food from
other children at school to dampen his hunger pains
from being fed only one meal a day. He would face the
horror of sexual abuse at the tender age of ten.

Each Christmas, as he heard the carol, “All I want for
Christmas” he would change a few of the words so his
birth mother’s wish for him would become a reality.
All I want for Christmas is a Mom and Dad to call my
own! That this would be the Christmas a family would
adopt him and call him son!

His wish never became a reality. Christmas, the most
joyous time of the year for children, became a time of
anguish and pain for this boy. The pain continues even
now. 

He aged out of the system at eighteen, thrust out into
the world whether he was ready or not.
 
Somehow, with the help of a few mentors, hope and a
deep inner faith this baby boy was able to overcome
the years of his childhood. He received a college
education and began a professional career.

At age of thirty-one he suffered a massive heart
attack. He could not answer the doctor’s question of;
“What’s your family medical history?” He was
embarrassed and ashamed for as far as he knew…he
still had no family to call his own.

He began a search for the person who he thought would
be able to provide some answers…the mother who
lovingly relinquished him years earlier.

The search took four long years. It was a painful,
trying and at times a frustrating journey as he met
numerous obstacles along the way.

He remembers vividly the message left on his answering
machine on April 17, 1986, “This is your mother!” They
would speak a few hours later…a phone call that
would last for hours. His spine still tingles and eyes
tear up as he remembers that day now nineteen years
later.

He met his birth mother not many months later. It
unfortunately was just the beginning to what turned
out to be a very strained relationship at best.

They never developed a mother/son relationship; even
saying they became friends would be stretching it.

This relationship ended tragically a mere twelve years
later. Painfully it happened on Christmas Day 1998,
the first and only Christmas he would ever spend with
any immediate family. His mother, on her own accord
this time, rejected her son and wished him dead as she
could not bear learning her son…her first born…was
gay.

All the anguish of the unfulfilled Christmas wish of
the past years came flowing back to him. He would
spend that Christmas night alone in a hotel, crying
himself to sleep. After all these years he realized he
still did not have a family to call his own and
probably never would….he was still NOBODY’S CHILD!

Despite several attempts at reconciliation by the son;
mother and son were never to speak or see each other
again in her lifetime. She passed away just shy of
three years after turning her son away.

The son, after time, was able to forgive his mother
and to thank her for not only giving him life but
making the decision she did on the day of his birth.
Despite how his childhood was; it had been the correct
decision.

He also was able to search, find and meet his father
once. His father did not wish for a relationship and
his father passed away four years after he found him.

His half siblings, from both his mother and father’s
side, rejected him as their brother.

The one foster family whom he called to be Mom and
Dad, even after he was on his own, are both long
passed away.

What should be a joyous occasion remains a painful day
as it always has been. It brings forth those memories
of a childhood he cares not to remember.

He has, in recent years, found and met extended
family. They have welcomed him with open and loving
arms. He has even been able to share Christmas with
many of them. Yet, pain, rather than joy, is his
holiday season…there is still a hole in his soul!

He will receive well wishes from friends, extended
family and others this holiday season. However, in
many ways he will still feel alone. There will never
be Christmas wishes from a mother, father, brothers or
sisters…and his heart breaks. His eyes still tear up
when he hears, “I’ll be Home for Christmas.”

Despite those painful memories he moves forward. The
hope and faith that sustained him through these many
years continues to sustain him.

How do I know each detail of this person’s life?  I am
that son born to the unwed mother almost fifty-eight years
ago.

The wounds of the passed have in many cases healed;
however, there are many that just scabbed over waiting
to be broken open anew…they will never heal. The one
that will never completely heal; a Christmas wish
never to be!

Why do I share these memories with you? It is not to
obtain any sympathy for I survived my childhood and
will survive it all and continue moving on with my
life.

I share it because of the thousands of “legal orphans”
stuck within our foster care system today awaiting
their forever family to come forward…to call them
son or daughter.

Many people have asked me over the years, “What did I
want the most as a child and what do kids in foster
care today want?” The answer to that question is no
different today than it was for me as a child; “A
family and home to call my/their own!”

Millions of children soon be thinking of the holiday season and will write their wish list to Santa this year. In most cases the one wish of foster children will not be written or vocalized. They will hold it deep within their hearts as many have been too
disappointed on Christmas’s past. 

They will awaken Christmas morning bright eyed and
wishful only to have their little hearts broken yet
again…there will be no family or home to call their
own. They will lay their heads upon their pillows, if
they are lucky enough to have even a temporary home,
tears within their eyes but yet a hopeful heart that
maybe, just maybe, next year!

As we begin to think of baking gingerbread houses,
decorating our trees and homes, buying gifts for loved
ones or sending a card to a friend; I ask you to think
of the children in foster care that would love to be a
part of your holiday planning.

It is far too late to make their wish come true this
year in most cases, however, if you begin working on
it now it could become real for yet this Christmas.

If you are unable, for whatever reason, to bring
another’s child into your life as your own please do
something to at least brighten their holiday season a
bit.

Many will find under a tree, as I did so many times,
only their semi-annual clothing allotment from foster
care and maybe a toy or two.

Visit your local agency; bring a gift or offer to host
a party; anything to make the holidays just a tad
easier for them.

No, their Christmas wish won’t be fulfilled by these
gestures, but it might bring a smile to their face for
at least a bit.

Clothes, toys, candy etc will last just a short time;
a family and home can last forever.

Won’t you consider being a forever family to a foster
child in need of one and make their Christmas wish,
their everyday wish, a reality. On this Holy Night of
the year let them once and for all sing, “I am Home
for Christmas!”

Next month, Novemember, is National Adoption Awareness Month…though it is now only October it is never too early to start the process.

Make the Christmas season a time of joy for a child,
after-all Christmas is for kids!

Peace!

10 Responses

  1. I will one day, but I have a lot to learn. Years ago I never realized how much I had to learn about this.

    But untill that happens, where I work will buy toys for kids that need them, and there are probably lots of local places that will give to kids in the system..

    I’m sorry you went through all of that…

  2. A sad but true story so often felt in the hearts of millions of orphaned children.

    God be with you.

  3. I was adopted at birth, and it hasn’t always been easy, but your story made me realize how lucky I was to become part of a family that loved and accepted me fully and completely as their child. I am so sorry that you went through this and I hope you find peace in your life. You are doing a great thing telling the story of these forgotten children.

    I can’t have children, and I sometimes look at the pictures of foster children who are up for adoption and wonder if I should bring one home. I get scared. What if they resent me? What if I can’t reach them? I know how hard it is to be the different one, to live in the shadow of the rejection of your parents – even if they did it for your own good.

    I admit, I still don’t know if that is in the future for me. But your words gave me a lot to think about. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

  4. I’m so sorry that you spent much of your life that way. I grew up in foster care too from 11 and aged out of the sysyem. My birth family still isn’t there for me since they have mental illnesses. I try not to blame them for what i went though . After all its an illness.

    When i turned 19 i got married and had 2 kids. Well i did that and was the best wife/mom ever. i wanted to provide a loving and stable home. Being a mother is the best thing that has ever happened to me. My husband and i knew we wanted to help out kids in the foster care system. My two boys are now teenagers and we have since adopted 6 other chilren. ages range from 1 to 16. I know i will give these kids everything i have. Its also everything i never got growing up in the system. A place to call their own. A family forever. If anyone is reading this and thinks they could help out a child in the system i’d say go for it. You just might be their missing link to a family forever………

  5. if you are thinking of doing foster care and need to ask questions, you can reach me at sil244@aol.com
    Dont let your uncertanties keep you from helping others that need you… I’d be happy to help🙂

  6. Hi,, this may be a stupid question,,, are there any programs or organizations out there that place children in homes for the Holiday season? We cant go the foster family route just yet. We have a 2y/o special needs daughter (she is blind). We would all love to welcome a child/children into our home this Holiday season. Any age, boy or girl. I don’t know if this is possible, but we would love to share our families traditions. Thanks for any information you can share with us.
    Merry Christmas!
    Rhonda, Tim, and Abbi

  7. I had no idea that this was possible. What happened? Why weren’t you adopted and spent all that time in foster care?

  8. This story is heartbreaking and I hope that some have been able to take it and use it to make them strong enough to help them find the strength to help these children out there that need a home.
    I am glad I did and I will never regret it! It was not easy but it was even less easier for those precious children!
    Thank you for sharing your story with us!

  9. Can I have your permission to share this blogpost with the foster care agency I work for? it was just a great reflection and I could use it to share with perspective foster care parents, esp as Christmas approaches – please email me at annagoodworth@hotmail.com to say yes!

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