Seventeen-year-old Sergio sat with his brand new foster family, waiting—disinterested and lonely— for the festivities to begin. For most kids, Foster Santa parties are full of holiday joy and the surprise of getting brand new bicycles. But Sergio had a different surprise coming.
As two other boys arrived at the party, Sergio leapt from his table and sprinted toward the door. He grabbed the younger boys to him and held them in a long embrace. He had found his brothers. None of them had known they had recently been placed with Uplift Family Services foster homes. (The information had not yet come through from the county to our staff either.)
When very young, Sergio and his brothers suffered severe neglect until they were removed from their birth mother’s care. They were kept together for several years through a series of relative placements and foster homes. Finally, Sergio was moved to a group home as his brothers went to yet another foster home. Sergio was able to see them during monthly visits at a community center, but he missed them terribly.
Recently, with his new Uplift Family Services social worker, Sergio opened up about his feelings and the value he placed on family. His face lit up as he talked about them, but he also constantly worried about their happiness and well-being. He shared about the pain he experienced when he was separated from his birth mother and, later, from his brothers.
Now, Sergio brought the two boys over to where he had been sitting. All night he never left their company. He looked like a different kid, relaxed, smiling and happy. For just a moment, Sergio lost all thought of being cool in front of other kids at the party and just reveled in being with his brothers. He reached out a hand to one and then the other brother’s arm or back, as if to assure himself they were really there with him.
Right after the party, our staff set up regular visits for the boys. The younger brothers’ foster father has been especially supportive in keeping their family connections alive, and Sergio sees his younger brothers at least once a month
Whether it’s a new bike or a sense of family for a kid like Sergio, your gift to Foster Santa provides holiday hope to children and teens in our programs. A great opportunity for individual or corporate giving, Foster Santa is 100 percent donor supported. Party locations include Alameda, Fresno, Sacramento, San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Solano, Stanislaus and Yolo counties. To donate, contact Richelle Donaldson at (530) 747-3122 or read more.