March of Kindness

This post is part of a link up @codenamemama is doing for the month of March.  My great intentions of having it done sooner were adversely affected by our recent move! Visit her blog for more stories of kindness 🙂

There is a woman in our community who inspires me.  She epitomizes kindness. She cares about others and seems to be a bottomless pit of kindness.  She is also real, admits her flaws, accepts her own imperfections, and isn’t afraid to tell you what she has done in her mothering, that is less than perfect.  In so many ways I aspire to be more like her.

I met Carol a few years ago when our daughters were participating in a school activity together.  It was only after a birthday party, though, that I saw Carol’s van.  It is a 15 passenger van!  As in IT.CAN.HOLD.15.PEOPLE.  Now, there aren’t too many people out there who need a fifteen passenger van.  Deep down inside me, I have always kind of wished to have a large family.  Growing up, I imagined my kids all lining up someday, in their Sunday finest like the family in The Sound of Music. So of course, I had to ask.  I stood at the end of my driveway that day, when I probably should have been wrangling birthday party attendees, captivated by the story of her family.

Carol is the mother of 4 biological children.  And 4 adopted children (out of foster care). And (yes, there are more!) 5-6 foster children! For those of you who aren’t great at math, that is 13 children and a maybe! When you add in Carol and her partner, that is 15 people total, as in, the 15 passenger van is FULL.   Carol has nice kids.  Some of her kids have some special needs to which she gracefully attends.  This woman is the essence of kindness and truly puts her actions where her heart is.  I have seen her on enough occasions to know this.  And watching her with her kids, I learn things about what I can do better with my own.  No matter that she has all these children, she has always made time to answer my questions–about children, adoption, mothering.

Life is not always easy when you are putting your heart on the line in fostering and adoption.  I was very upset to learn that Carol is experiencing a loss that most people never have to deal with.  Carol recently took in a sweet baby boy, fell in love with him, began the adoption process and truly thought he was hers, only to lose the baby to the birth mother who had put him up for adoption in the first place.  There was nothing she could do but grieve the loss of her child.  In preparing for his departure, she put together all his things, made notes for the birth mom about his likes and dislikes, his routine, and things that give him comfort.  She packed up the special clothes and toys she bought for him, and sent them along.  When I spoke with her she was simply heartbroken, as any mom who has lost a child, would be.  It made me very sad to think of this baby leaving the only mother he has ever known and of my friend being forced to grieve this loss while trying to be strong for her other children.

At the same time that Carol was experiencing this heart-wrenching loss, I heard about a family in my daughter’s class who had experienced a fire that leveled their house and destroyed all their possessions.  The school was collecting clothing and items for the family to help them get through the end of the winter.  Their family is also a big one.  There are 10 kids in their family too!  I didn’t think much of it as I went through our outgrown clothing, figuring with that many kids, someone probably would fit in whatever size I could come up with.  I put together the bags of clothes and decided to call the school the next day.  I knew this family had been living with neighbors while they figured out where they were going next and how they were going to get back on their feet.  It seemed best to find out where their neighbors lived so I could take the things directly to their house rather than require an extra trip for them to pick it up.  I called the school to find this out and though they had already collected enough items, they did say where the family had been living.

In case you haven’t already guessed it, it was with Carol.


15 Comments to “March of Kindness”

  1. Oh WOW! I think we all need to do something randomly kind for CAROL – what do you think? Is her family open to green living stuff? I’d be happy to send some cloth wipes (although family cloth is a pretty big leap if you’ve never heard of it before). Let’s think about what we could do – what an amazing woman!!

    • I am not sure if she does a lot of green stuff. Seems like she would be open to it. I think the best thing we can all do for her is send loving thoughts her way that she find peace in her grieving. Prayer would be a nice gesture. 🙂

  2. the things most needed are likely blankets, clothing, and grocery store gift certificates. Maybe we can all rally together to contribute to a gift card to their local grocery store?

  3. Oh man. What an incredible woman, and what a loss. It sounds like she is having to receive the goodness of others for a while, after all she has given…

  4. What an amazing story!

    You know, it can be easy to start feeling cynical, and of course there are many bad things that happen in this world…but it’s a pretty good world too – thank you for the reminder. 🙂

  5. WOW! I wanna take LESSONS from Carol!!!! I am a single mom of two special needs kids and a toddler and I’ll be honest… I suck at it. If only there were classes to teach someone how to do a job that’s hard enough for two, but O.O for one. Carol sounds like she could TEACH that class!!!!! 🙂 *thumbs up*

    • Sounds like a good business idea! I bet there are a lot of parents who would like some special instruction on how to handle really tough parenting situations. You keep up the good work, Mama. I am certain you are doing a great job!

  6. Wow. What an amazing woman! I would love to help her in some way too!

    • I bet some loving thoughts and prayers would be very appreciated. I will try to think if there is something we could do that would help. Maybe even just sending her a big bouquet of flowers with a note that people who have read her story, appreciate what she has done for the world, and wish her well. 🙂

  7. That’s almost unbelievable. I’m so sad for her loss of her boy. I would also like to help in some way. I like the idea of grocery store certificates. That seems like a very necessary thing.
    Please post any ideas or group efforts. I’ll subscribe to your posts.

    • Thanks for subscribing and thanks for caring about my friend. 🙂 She is a good woman. I don’t know what would help, nothing can take away that kind of pain, you know? I am not sure what she needs, I will ask her when I talk to her again.

  8. What an inspirational person. How is she doing? And how is the family who lost their home?

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