August 24, 2015
Posted By: Shaunescy
If you’re a mom like me, you combat your massive list of daily to-do’s with the swiftness of a sloth and the cunning of a bull in a china shop. I have kids in every direction, laundry, work, dishes, food, bathing (if I’m lucky), etc., etc. At the end of some days, I feel like I just survived a natural disaster. But I wouldn’t trade this life for anything else. I love my family and I know we are blessed to have each other.
Even in all the craziness, my husband and I felt giving back was essential to our kids’ upbringing and made finding the right thing for us a priority. I knew about the typical opportunities but wanted to see what else was out there. One day, I was in the car listening to the radio and heard, “We need Big Brothers and Big Sisters, but not many people know that we are also looking for Big Couples and Big Families to mentor a child.”
I love kids, and I had been a nanny for many years before I became a parent. I was blessed to have positive role models as a kid, and we work hard as parents to provide the same for our kids. Not all kids get that opportunity. We want our kids to be open, loving, caring individuals who love to make new friends. Maybe this is for us…
-It can’t hurt to call and find out more-
We got in contact with Big Brothers Big Sisters and started the process. A match support specialist came to our house to interview our family. We learned a few things: BBBS matches Big Families with Little Brothers only; the main parental figures of the Little Brother have to be open to matching a Big Family with their child (because it’s a partnership); and it could take a while to find the right match.
The next step was to wait… Big Brothers Big Sisters takes time to make the right match, not just the most convenient match. To our surprise, we got a call within a few weeks from BBBS saying they may had a match for us. This Little Brother lived with his grandmother. His parents were not in the picture at all. Grandma was active but knew she couldn’t keep up with an energetic 6-year-old boy. She also loved the idea of providing a typical family dynamic for him, something he had never experienced.
- Are we ready for this? 3…2…1 PRAY-
First, we met with the little boy’s grandmother. We got along great and knew this would be a great partnership. Ok, now that it was really going to happen, we needed to talk to the kids. We explained that there was going to be a 6-year-old boy who was going to hang out with us every week for a few hours. He was going to do all the things we normally do with us. Why? Because we are in the business of making new friends.
The next week, we met our Little Brother for the first time. His sweet smile and excitement melted our hearts.
“Grandma told me I get to play at your house sometimes!”
“Yes you do! If you want, you can bring your bike and we can go for a bike ride.”
“I don’t know how to ride a bike yet.”
“Well, we are going to change that!”
Becoming a Big Family has been one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. For my husband and I, we get to see a little boy smile and experience something new almost every time we get together. For our kids, they have a new friend they look forward to hanging out with. In their eyes, he is not a kid who has less, who has struggled – he is a kid. Just like them. We play ping pong, go sledding, walk the dogs, go out for ice cream, have a pizza and movie night – all things we do with our family anyway. Nothing expensive or outlandishly planned.
Our kids are more open, share without a second thought and are more inclusive of others in all aspects of their life. We have included someone in our life as if they had always been there, and our kids see that and mirror it. We’re not just changing his world; he’s changing ours.
If you’ve ever considered becoming a Big Family (or even if you haven’t), I hope this gives you a picture of what it’s like. I spoke with BBBS recently and they have over 30 Little Brothers waiting for a Big Brother, Big Couple or Big Family. Give them a call at 587-1216. You will be glad you did, and so will one of those waiting Little Brothers.
This piece was submitted by a reader anonymously.