(At the end it relates to knitting and the Red Scarf Project)
My best Thanksgiving dinner ever took place 16 years ago. Far from home, far from the Land of the Pocohantas and the Pilgrims. It was in South America. These were the guests of honor :
These cuties were in the process of being adopted from an orphanage by families from the US. Dave and I had received an official adoption decree in court the day before, for the tiny guy on the far left. The US Embassy was closed to celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving and we needed to wait till Friday to get our baby's green card, to take him home.
We found other families in similar limbo to share the day. The meal itself was forgettable, save for the can of jellied cranberry that a woman from Kansas had oddly brought with her. What is forever memorable is how thankful we were to have our son, and be a family, and how we marveled at the dips and turns life takes to place you in such wonderful moments.
Being an adoptive parent makes me forever conscious of what family means. Years later I worked on a book about what happen to kids who age out of foster care. The one thing the subjects all said, whether their lives were going well or a struggle, was they wished they had a mom or dad. Not for the big things but for the small. Someone to show up at your sports games, or know you won a prize, or to call on a bad day when your car breaks down and fail a test or have a problem with a co-worker. One man in his twenties, a huge strapping entrepeneur and former college football player got tears in his eyes telling me that no one, zero, zippo, was there to see him graduate from college.
That's what the Red Scarf project is all about. The students who get a hand knit scarf in a care package this February don't have families to send them something that says"I'm thinking of you". But they'll know that someone was, thanks to the efforts of the Orphan Foundation and the goodness of many knitters.
I'm going to spend this Thanksgiving with my family, hopefully appreciating each other during a very long car ride but let's not get too carried away, OK?. I'll be knitting something red, and warm, and hopefully lovable as a scarf with this:
For more info on the Red Scarf Project.
Or visit the Orphan Foundation website, they're the organization that sends out the care packages and arranges mentors for former foster care kids.
For more information about National Adoption Month (November) go here.