It’s almost Halloween, one of my favorite holidays. It always has been. Until recently, as far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be someone other than who I am. So this gave me complete creative license to do it up. There was a ballgown and parasol for southern belle, Wonder Woman several times, a Goddess, an elaborate, spidery witch. I went to the store and used my mother’s money to purchase my whatever was my heart’s desire. I never even stopped to think of what it would be like to have nothing. No mom who cared, no money to burn. Halloween costumes are a non-essential and foster kids are often denied those items because they are deemed unnecessary.

That’s a very depressing and very real situation. I imagine it like watching this grand, joyous parade pass but being unable to join in. Nor are invited to. Many children are so adept at pretending to be someone else or acting out of self-preservation that an unending Halloween where they get to escape the reality of their life must seem ultimately  appealing. However, as I stated, most of the kids in foster care never get to enjoy a real Halloween. Which like Thanksgiving and “Christmas” are annual rites of passage that can trigger some true, deep sadness without a family to celebrate with.

That’s where my understanding of what it must be like to be a forgotten child intersects of what I know it to be like to be a broken child. I know how painful the holidays can be and I’m a grown woman. How painful must it be to have no one, nowhere to go, nobody showing you that they care about you? It makes me cry just imagining the kind of pain I endured qualified exponentially. That’s too much to expect anyone to bare, much less a dysfunctional child. The surroundings created the dysfunction, the pain feeds it; it’s an ultimate vicious cycle.

Halloween officially kicks off holiday season and there are so many ways to make it a better one for a child who really, really needs it. Please call your local 211 directory and tell them you would like to be of service this year. They are a wonderful resource only too happy to hear and assist positive inquiries. If that means donating from afar or working hands on in a shelter or group home kitchen, whatever you can spare of yourself may be the deciding factor in what a child decides to do with themselves.

I almost didn’t make it to this point in life several times and I had every professional resource at my disposal. That lonely, little girl who once was still lives inside of me and always will. She deserves to be honored in a way I couldn’t when I was a child, so now I delight in those childish pleasures. I ride the shopping cart, I love chasing bubbles, skipping, making silly jokes and building castles made of sand. KINDRED grounds me in the gratitude I have for my life today and motivates me to help as many other children as I can be able to say I got to be silly once, too.

For more info and resource material including links to organizations that provide children’s services, please visit our new website kindred

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