The season to be jolly is upon us. Everywhere around the world people who
celebrate Christmas are busy planning for the holiday. Everyone is
planning parties and planning to get together with family and friends
to celebrate. People are in a shopping frenzy…well except me. This
got me thinking about what the child in a children’s home will be
thinking at this time. Is this really a joyous time or it brings more
sadness than anytime of the year?

At this time lots of well wishers do spare a thought for the less
fortunate and this includes the children in shelters and residential
care. Lots of donations come as Christmas gifts and some even donate
their time just to make the days special for these children. There
are some host families who are prepared to have one child over just
for Christmas lunch. This makes a huge difference. This is the least
people can do and it is appreciated.

At this time a residential social worker and children’s home staff try
to get all those children who have families home to be with their
families. But what happens to the orphan? What happens to the one who
was severely abused and neglected by family that there is no going
back? What happens to the foreign child who cannot return to war-torn
DRC or is awaiting the lengthy repatriation process by the
International Organisation for Migration to their country of birth?
These are the ones that depend on the caring hearts of the community
to make Christmas day special for them. These are the ones who are
sad even as they open gifts from strangers because they wonder why
their own family could not be present at this time. The main thought
is “how festive is the season when I am away from my family?”
“All these people are nice but I wish I could see my mother,
brother, sister, aunt….” I remember when I was back at home and
my mother would take us shopping for Christmas clothes so that
everyone has a new outfit on the day. Are these the same memories
they have…? 

So this season is bittersweet. It is a pleasure for me to spend time
with the girls at my residential facility but I get to see the
sadness in their eyes. It is sad for me because there seems to be no
consolation or replacement for what they yearn for and that is to
spend time with loved ones during the festive season.  These children
are strong and they still smile through the sadness and hope for a
different year when the festive season is over. For a few though this
is the only time they have had a Christmas so for this group it is a
blessing.  I guess this year I am in the same boat because my family
is also away at home but it will never be the same. At least for me
it is not due to unfortunate circumstances that I am away from family
but I can relate.

Here’s to wishing all the children in children’s homes a Happy
Festive season and a Wonderful New Year. Who are you sparing a
thought for this festive season? My list is endless….

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