Every other month, Spokane Angels creates an opportunity for community members to provide one time support to families on our waitlist. These seasonal Love Boxes often come with a theme. As you may expect, our Holiday Love Boxes are eagerly awaited by individuals who keep this tradition on their list year after year. Hilary is one of those special individuals who looks forward to supporting a family each holiday through the love Box Program.
This year, Hilary was blessed to support the Tulson Family:
The Tulson family has 8 children, they've been on our Love Box waitlist for over a year due to their large family. They were matched with a volunteer named Hilary for their Holiday Love Box. When we match families with volunteers we try to ask questions to help the volunteer shop for the family intentionally.
Hilary did a great job of thoughtfully picking out gifts for all the children and the family to enjoy together. The Tulson family says they are so grateful for the support Spokane Angels offers them in their fostering journey. Hilary enjoys putting together seasonal one time Love Boxes for families in foster care, this is the fifth one she's done and she says shopping for and delivering the Holiday Love Box each year is one of her favorite parts of the Christmas season.
"When we match families with volunteers we try to ask questions to help the volunteer shop for the family intentionally."
The Tulson family took the time to write Hilary a thank you note for the gifts, she said it was so sweet and genuine that it made her cry! Thanks to all of our amazing volunteers this holiday season!
June 17, 2020
"Teachers inspire the smallest hearts to grow big enough to change the world." - Paula Fox
Our Love Box leader, Mindi, is one of those teachers. When Cooper came into her kindergarten classroom almost 2 years ago, she knew he had had a rough start to life. She knew he was in foster care and placed with an adoptive family. She didn't know at the time that he had been in 12 foster homes total in his 6 years of life. By November of his kindergarten year, that adoptive home had failed, he had switched homes 2 more times and she had to discuss with his new foster parents about placing him in a more supportive learning environment at a different school. His little body could not handle learning in a classroom setting with all of the change in his life. She was heartbroken and didn't want to lose him, but knew it would be a better environment for him.
A few months later, Mindi reached out to Cooper's foster parents to check in on how he was doing. She worried about him often and wanted to make sure he had everything he needed. She offered to help in whatever way she could. His foster parents knew about the Love Box program through Spokane Angels and how powerful it would be if Cooper could maintain a relationship with a healthy adult like Mindi. He had experienced so many people coming and going from his life, they knew that Mindi could help him heal and remember that he is worthy and loved.
Mindi and her family have been supporting Cooper's family for a year now, and are continuing to grow their relationship. A few weekends ago, Cooper's now adoptive parents reached out to Mindi to see if she could spend a day with him. He had been struggling, his parents needed a break and he was in need of some one-on-one time. Mindi and Cooper went to the lake together and had an incredible day paddle boarding, swimming, fishing and enjoying the sun.
This is the power of relational healing in action and we could not be more grateful for Mindi's caring heart! 💛
December 10, 2020
Earlier this year we shared a story about a boy named Cooper and his Love Box Leader and former kindergarten teacher, Mindi. Mindi supported Cooper and his family for a year through our programs and within that time the family adopted Cooper as well as two of his brothers.
Although they aren't formally in our program anymore, Mindi still stays in touch with the family and supports them in any way they need. She regularly takes Cooper to play at her home with her own two boys and will babysit all of the children occasionally so the parents can have a date night. As the foster and adoptive community knows, the need for support does not stop after adoption takes place.
Mom shared with us that Cooper and his brother spent last Sunday with Mindi while their dad had to work and she needed some help watching her kids. When mom picked the boys up, she learned that Mindi had taken the boys shopping to pick out gifts for all 8 members of their family and had helped them make a homemade ornament each with their picture in it! Mom said, "I was speechless and teary eyed with the heartfelt thought that went into that special day with them. After a hard year of homeschooling every day, it was so special to see a precious handmade ornament from them. And to have the stress of those gifts taken off my plate was priceless. We are so incredibly grateful for her and her family that continue to be such a great support for us."
August 7, 2021
You've heard us tell the story about Cooper and Mindi before. Cooper was Mindi's kindergarten student and after he moved from her classroom, she became his Love Box Leader. By doing this she was able to be a consistent, healthy relationship in his life; something he had very little of prior to her. Fast forward 2.5 years and Cooper is now adopted. They are no longer in our Love Box program, but Cooper still spends a weekend with Mindi and her family every few months. They spend time together at their lake cabin, playing video games, playing with Mindi's boys, and helping in the garden.
Cooper's mom said, "It's one of his favorite places to be. He loves her so much and it provides some much-needed respite for us. We are so grateful to not only have this support but to know he is loved so well when he is with her family. We are forever grateful for Mindi being able to stay in his life all these years."
November 14, 2021
Cooper celebrated his 9th birthday this month! His life long Love Box Leader, Mindi, took him for a special birthday day together, just the two of them. They got to pick out some birthday presents, go to lunch and go back to Mindi's house to play with his new toys and test out their virtual reality game system. Having such a positive relationship in Cooper's life is such a blessing for his parents. He looks forward to his days with Mindi - so much so, that they ofen don't tell him he's going with her until right before they leave because he gets so excited and anxious to go see her! After their time together, Mindi text Cooper's mom and told her about their time together. Cooper's mom said it brought tears to her eyes. She shared that, "Cooper was confident, polite, happy, helpful, positive and amazing in every way!
I can truly see a huge difference being with him today and I just need to tell you how incredible you two are!
Cooper shared his birthday gifts on his own terms with a smile on his face with our boys. All the boys were racing Cooper's cars around the house and I was thrilled to see their smiles.
My heart was so full today and I’m thankful you are willing to share Cooper and your family with us!" Mindi will be having all 3 boys over for a sleepover in the coming weeks allowing their parents to have an evening to themselves. We are so grateful for above and beyond volunteers like Mindi who stay in their families lives way past our programs endpoint.
Our hearts are warmed each time we are able to create a perfect match. However, when a family has been on our waitlist for some time and are right on the brink of adoption, it is an especially impactful story!
Last Monday we made a very successful Love Box match!
Lina and Joe Sanchez have been foster parents for a little over two years, they're set to adopt their little ones in just a few weeks! They've been looking for a Love Box Leader who will provide positive connection and support for their family. Joe's sometimes works long hours, so Lina is looking forward to her Love Box Leader being able to provide support for her on those days.
Bethany, was the perfect match for them, as a pediatric Occupational Therapist she has experience working with young children from hard places. Bethany loves children and is excited to get to know the Sanchez family and their kids. Once they've built a strong relationship, Bethany hopes to provide occasional babysitting, and plans to start her journey as a Love Box Leader by helping them celebrate adoption!
We know that placing the Sanchez family with a Love Box Leader during this important transition in their lives will wrap support and intentional relationship around the whole family.
AN ADOPTION STORY
We are so happy to share that this family adopted their kiddos in November, 2021. The Sanchez family were recently matched with a Love Box Leader,Bethany and invited her over to celebrate adoption day and she helped with party set up and clean up and got to meet the whole family. They have their December meet up planned for later this weekend, Bethany plans to support the foster mom by spending most of the day Saturday with her and the kiddos while dad puts in overtime at work.
We'd like to say that this story has a very happy ending, however, their story is just beginning.
Photo credit goes to Sammie Jones Photography and Heather Stokes Photography.