After several years of unsuccessful attempts to have children, our daughter and son-in-law sought to foster and adopt. God sent them Xander, an adorable blonde-haired, blue-eyed two-year-old who came with his own “mailbox” of messages. Through the whole process, we discovered some alarming statistics of kids in the foster care system that solidified our resolve to help these kids, and to encourage those on the front lines rescuing them:
- 437,465 children presently are in the US foster care system;
- 273,539 children enter the foster care system annually;
- 117,794 children in the foster care system are awaiting adoption;
- 57,208 children in foster care were adopted this past year;
- 9,388 children have been in foster care for five years or more;
- 17,394 children in foster care, never got a forever home and entered adulthood on their own.
(Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System - AFCARS - 2016)
Xander Bunnies are Born
Over a year we had developed a line of premium baby textiles, lavender products and a plush, lavender-filled, warmable bunny - products that “hug” and that remind us all how much we are loved. Xander, especially loved the bunny (he picked a pink one and even helped fill it). One day this past summer while filling some of the first 2500 bunnies, Vickie and I had an eureka moment. “For every bunny we sell, we could place one in the hands of a child in the foster care system.” Lavender is known to be calming, to reduce anxiety and to induce sleep - all of which are critical needs of kids in trauma. No matter the child’s status or unsettling background, the bunny could give them a tangible “hug” and perhaps the bunny could help overwrite the previous messages - They ARE loved & they are NOT alone! “Let’s name them Xander Bunnies,” we declared. And so, Xander Bunnies were born - by the thousands!
As we fill each bunny, we pray for the little “Xander” that may someday receive it; we pray for families in trauma, that they can get their feet back under them; we pray for families to consider fostering to provide a safe temporary home: and we pray for some to open their hearts to adopt. We echo The Dave Thomas Foundation’s challenge:
“81.5 million Americans have considered adoption. If just one in 500 of these adults adopted, EVERY waiting child in foster care would have a permanent family.” www.davethomasfoundation.org
The Message is Out!
At Lavender Life Company, our products are handcrafted in small batches with our customers, our friends and now with “Xanders” in mind. We are being bold to think that in time, we will be able to place a Xander Bunny in the hands of all 437 thousand children in foster care, helping overwrite the messages of trauma, and perhaps see a surge in families fostering and adopting. We all are loved and are not alone. We are grateful that the message is getting out, that Xander’s Story is also our story!