Last year at UUCEP we had a big box in the back for people to bring in gifts to donate and we had a good response but the varieties of gifts were pretty wide-ranged. This year we decided on a Giving Tree for foster children through CASA El Paso. As many know, this is when you set up a Christmas tree in a hall, or in our case in the sanctuary, with tags hung on it describing various children and their gift wishes for Christmas.
Before the tree was even set up Austin and I spied the envelope with tags in it in the office while we were putting together our travel poster. We looked through the many cards and Austin clued in on some boys close to his age and wanting gifts that he would love himself. I told him that we had to choose just one and put the others back for the giving tree but Austin didn’t like this. He asked why he couldn’t choose two and I explained that there were other people in the church that would want to donate also.
I decided to ask him why, why did he want two? It’s not like he’s getting the gifts himself (as many young children would feel) and he wouldn’t even get to meet the children. But Austin said decisively, “Because I feel so bad for them. They don’t have as much as I have.” And there it was, the growth, the maturity, and my parental pride all balled up inside of him and me.
So I promised him that we would check the tree in a couple weeks and see if any tags were missed. If so, we would take them and go straight to the store for more gifts for the children.
You see, my son Austin is adopted. A beautiful soul that was a gift to me and is now a gift to the world.
CASA of El Paso trains and supports volunteers from the community to advocate for abused and neglected children who need representation in the family court system, striving to provide them a safe and permanent home.
For more information, visit www.casaofelpaso.com.