I was conducting a meeting recently with a group of our foster and adoptive parents. We try to hold a general meeting every six months or so to keep them in touch with what’s happening at OFY and it gives me a chance to “see them in the flesh.” I don’t often get to personally thank them for what they do for Cuyahoga County’s children and teens. They then have an opportunity to ask me questions and give me feedback on how we are supporting them.
One of the items I was talking to them about was what OFY did in August of 2014, which was my last trip to Uganda. I explained I had taken some money that was provided from a Fundraiser we held last year and donated it to a network of Ugandan foster and adoptive parents. Ugandan foster and adoptive parents are very special people (very much like foster and adoptive parents here). They receive no financial support from the Ugandan government (like U.S. foster and adoptive parents often do). Yet they take in children and do whatever they can to make money so that they can raise and educate the children in their home. In Uganda, you have to pay to send a child to school as there is no publicly-funded education. These children typically have lost one or both parents and would otherwise be raised in an orphanage or be forced to grow up on the ‘streets’.
In addition to all this, the Ugandan foster/adoptive parents in this network also come alongside a widow and her children and help mentor, support and care for this ‘satellite’ family. With the little money they have, the Ugandan foster/adoptive parents donate to a fund that the ‘satellite’ families have access to so they can plant crops for food or try to set up a small money-making venture to try to become self-sufficient. It’s an awesome set up!
As I was explaining this to our OFY foster/adoptive parents, I said, “Wouldn’t it be cool if I took a financial donation from our foster/adoptive parents on my next trip to Uganda and gave it to these Ugandan foster/adoptive parents?”
In August, 2014 the money I took over doubled what they had in their fund. They were ecstatic!
As of this morning, OFY foster/adoptive parents have doubled what I took over on my last trip!!
I leave for my 5th visit to Uganda on Thursday. I can’t wait to tell that Ugandan foster care/adoption network of parents, “I have a gift from our OFY Foster/Adoptive parents to your Ugandan Foster/Adoptive parents.”
From one special group of folks to another special group…separated by over 7,700 miles…speaking different languages…but doing the same thing for children/teens in need.