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Spread Christmas cheer to local foster children

Statesboro Service League seeks help

Spread Christmas cheer to local foster children

Spread Christmas cheer to local foster children

With help from the Statesboro Service...

Last Christmas Eve, two adults and 10 kids fell asleep in the Moore house dreaming of shiny new bicycles, baby dolls with curly hair, and surprises wrapped in pretty red bows.

Thanks to some help from the Foster Care Committee of the Statesboro Service League, those wishes came true.

“Santa brought seven bikes,” said Traci Moore, a foster mom and the wife of Ben, a self-employed general contractor.
Biological children, ages 22, 21, 18 and 6 – older children skipped bicycle requests – and foster children, ages 11, 6, 4, 4, 2 and 2 – and mom and dad celebrated a memorable, joyous Christmas.

“Some of the children said it was the biggest, best Christmas they’d ever had,” Moore said. “They were so excited and felt so blessed. They truly felt like part of a family.

“It just touched our hearts,” she continued. “Because of the Service League, these kids’ stockings were packed, and they had lots of gifts under the tree.”

Moore said it’s evident that the sponsors who shop for foster children really put their heart into selecting the gifts and genuinely want the kids to have a good Christmas.

“It warmed our hearts to know that there were families who thought about others who might not have a good Christmas,” she said. “I truly believe it’s a calling to be a foster parent, but it’s a calling to help foster families, too.”

Heather Whitlock, this year’s chairwoman of the Foster Care Committee, is seeking sponsors to help make Christmas special for the foster children of Bulloch County and needs to distribute wish lists by Nov. 5.

“We have 50 children in the system, up from last year,” she said. “Families can shop together for the children; we can match a family member with a foster child of the same age.”

Whitlock also hopes local businesses might take on foster children to sponsor. Last year, Bulloch Pediatrics chose to sponsor 12 foster kids in lieu of exchanging gifts among the office employees.

“Foster parents provide a wish list of clothing sizes and toys,” she said.

Sponsors then shop for the children, and the committee checks over the gifts to be sure needs are taken care of, organizes, buys gifts that are still needed and meticulously wraps each present.

The committee spends hours getting the gifts ready, but, “It’s all worth it to make a child’s Christmas,” Whitlock said.

The Service League hosts a Christmas party in December, and Santa calls each child by name to receive a gift. The remaining gifts go home with families for Christmas morning.

Moore remembers the moment she decided to become a foster parent, almost five years ago.

“I was working in the nursery at Eastern Heights Baptist Church one Sunday morning, and a church member came in with the most beautiful little girl I’d ever seen,” she said, choking back tears.  “I just fell in love with her. I couldn’t get this sweet foster child out of my mind and my heart.

“It was a God thing,” she continued. “God put me in that place at that time. I felt such a connection to her.”

The very next morning, Moore said, she was on the phone with the Department of Family and Children Services seeking information about adopting or fostering.

Moore said her husband was not surprised with her decision and has always been supportive.

After completing their training, paperwork, interviews and inspections, the Moores have taken care of more than 20 children in their home since the first foster baby arrived in April 2010.

With one adoption finalized this past June and another one in the process, Moore said she welcomes and loves any child that God places in her home.

“They’re all such beautiful children,” she said. “I just can’t help it; I’m one proud Mama.”


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