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.
Our Love Box Program encourages volunteers to connect with the foster families they are matched with monthly, but our Love Box Leader, Samantha, has gone above and beyond.
Her first month with the Lopez family is off to a great start. So far, Samantha has stopped by twice this month. Once with a Love Box filled to the brim with a small gift for each child in the home (and the parents!) as well as practical household necessities. Samantha used what she learned about the Lopez family during the Needs Assessment to make sure her gifts were intentional and necessary. At the second meet-up, Samantha brought over a board game to teach and play with the children while foster mom, Lina, cooked dinner. Lina's husband has been putting in tons of overtime, so she shared that the time before dinner has been chaotic and difficult to manage on her own. Samantha took this to heart and kept the five little ones occupied so that Lina could have a more relaxing start to her evening. We love when our volunteers listen to their family's needs and find ways to ease any stress or difficulties they may be facing.
In October, Love Box Leader, Samantha focused on bonding and spending some one-on-one time with the Lopez' oldest child in foster care.
Samantha got tickets to Disney on Ice, and they went just the two of them. Samantha said they had so much fun getting to know one another more, and the foster mom, Kendra said it was great to have some time at home to focus on her younger kiddos while knowing her oldest was getting to experience a fun activity that would have been too overwhelming for all of the kids in the home. Samantha continues to stop by several times a month to spend time with the kids and help Kendra with whatever she needs around the house.
Thank you Samantha for walking alongside the Lopez family in their foster care journey!
We wanted to take a moment to thank you for being a part of our Spokane Angels Community and wish you a happy and fulfilling Thanksgiving surrounded by your family and friends.
At the beginning of November, our Case Manager, Melody received a heart-wrenching referral for a young refugee woman in extended foster care who was experiencing immense financial hardship following the recent illness of her 18-month-old daughter. She stayed home to care for her sick little one, missing work, resulting in an inability to purchase basic necessities for herself and her daughter. This young woman was a recent referral and had not yet been matched with a Mentor, but her need was immediate.
Melody knew what to do – call upon our Spokane Angels Community. We posted this immediate need on our social media channels and within hours every need had been filled. Our excitement for this story comes from our deep appreciation for our community.
Our Spokane Angels Community is made up of Spokane community members, foster parents, and Spokane Angel volunteers. We are so blessed to have such a connected community that truly cares about the youth and families experiencing foster care in Spokane. We know that without our community, much of what we accomplish would not be possible.
We are constantly humbled and amazed at the hearts of our community. YOU make a difference!
“Alone, we can do so little. Together, we can do so much.” Helen Keller
Learn more about how to get involved in the Spokane Angels Community, by reaching out to our Executive Director, Amber Swain. There is truly room for everyone with a heart to give, in whatever capacity fits best.
#spokane #communitymatters #fostercare #spokaneangels #fosterlove #nonprofitsofinstagram
Every so often, families on our waitlist have pressing needs that encourage us to reach out to our volunteer community in an attempt to fill that need.
This is a story about a group of volunteers who went above and beyond for two very special families on our waitlist.
In October Spokane Angels put out an ask on social media for two, one-time Love Boxes for families in foster care who had recently applied to our Love Box program. Since the families were both on our waitlist, they were not receiving the support of monthly love boxes. Both of the families had similar immediate needs, groceries (or funds for groceries), household staples, and clothes for their children (or funds for clothing). We immediatey had at least five volunteers reach out and volunteer to help as needed. One volunteer graciously took on one of the families with a Love Box filled with Fall and Halloween themed activities, as well as several gift cards so they could go shopping for the 4 kids in the home. For the other family, three volunteers worked together to collect some household items like groceries, cleaning supplies, and hygeine products. Several of the volunteers also included gift cards for groceries and gas. The single foster mom and two kids who we collected the items for was overjoyed to receive the Love Box, and said it came just when they needed it.
Thank you to our volunteers for showing up for families in foster care! You are making the difference!
#volunteering #spokaneangels #nonprofitsofinstagram #fostercommunity #fostercarelove
"This tiny 2-day old 6-pound precious baby came to my doorstep at midnight on November 17th, he still had his hospital bracelet on. My heart completely melted the second I saw him, he was absolutely beautiful. I never knew I could love someone so much that I just met. Although my heart was filled with love, my heart was also breaking thinking about his birth mom who carried this beautiful baby for 9 months and had to have him removed before he ever went home. The pain she must've felt really stuck to me that night. From the day he entered my heart and my home, I vowed to love him with all my heart, take care of him the best I could, and advocate for his best interest.
As a single mom, I spend all my free time with baby J. We are extremely close and have a very tight bond. This sounds cheesy but I probably catch myself tearing up at least once a day because of the amount of love I have for him. My favorite part of each day is when I pick him up from daycare and he is so excited to see me. He sees me behind the glass door and crawls as fast as he can while smiling and giggling so hard till he gets to me. There is no better feeling in the world.
I am grateful that foster care has given me the opportunity to love on and mother 10 beautiful children over the last three years. When someone asks me to tell them about myself I always start with 'I am a Mom.' Being a mom is the core of who I am and how I want others to see me. These children make me a better person. People ask if I will continue to foster if I am given the opportunity to adopt. I tell them yes, I hope to foster for many years to come. Fostering is so needed, children need me. It's what I'm good at and what I love. I just hope one day I can find an amazing partner that will join this journey with me so I can make a bigger impact."