For many people, the holidays are a time to enjoy with family and friends. However, for kids in foster care, that does not always hold true.
10-year-old David Oliva of Corpus Christi spent five years in foster care. He lived in 11 homes before finding a forever home with his adoptive parents.
“I had gone to good [homes] to not so good homes and pretty good homes,” David Oliva said.
David also spent two Christmases in a behavior hospital for children. The fourth-grader fondly remembers one Christmas morning from his hospital room.
“They showed us the Santa tracker, so it’d tell us where he was,” David said.
David’s parents say that memory from the hospital as a child in foster care was the highlight of his Christmas.
“Things that people do that are extra, they mean so much to somebody that may not be celebrating with their family,” said Jenner Oliva, David’s mother.
Foster Angels, a local nonprofit organization who helps meet the needs of children in foster care, says there are more than 1,200 children in foster care in South Texas. Unfortunately, the holidays, which is supposed to be a time of joy, can bring back many memories for those foster children.
“The holidays are a really big time for them to experience triggers,” Jennifer said. “Things that remind them of their past, things where they might shut down or act out.”
But now, David’s highlight of the holidays is spending his third Christmas with his adoptive parents.
“I feel honored to have him in my home,” Gabriel Oliva said, David’s father. “I don’t feel like I rescued him. I feel like he completed us.”
“I just like the feeling of Christmas for some reason,” David said. “Like it’s not really about the presents, it’s like I can feel the Christmas spirit.
Foster Angels say they helped over 2,800 children in 2018 by providing new beds, bedding, school supplies, clothes and more. For more information about Foster Angels, click here.