Previous   Next

Have you adopted a family for the holidays?

Asked at Massachusetts Street on December 13, 2005

Browse the archives

Photo of Hannah Sumner

“Yes. Our church has a tree with ornaments that have what each family needs. I’ve been doing it since I was in high school.”

Photo of Edgar Koigi

“I’ve never done it before. I usually just donate things to the Salvation Army and give money to the bell ringers.”

Photo of Milly Fergus

“No, not personally. Our church adopts a bunch of families, but we don’t adopt them individually. Everyone just brings in toys or money for the community fund and the church takes care of it.”

Photo of Lary Brown

“Yeah, my church back home does it. People just bring in gifts or put in a couple dollars toward the things on the lists - whatever they can do.”

Related story


sweatpeagj 12 years, 5 months ago

Living now in the Florida keys I have definetely adopted a few families. Most here, ecspecially the children, lost their homes and all their belongings. I even donated $200 worth of candy for Halloween because again, the children, needed to feel that this latest hurricane didn't take away their fun. Please, there are so many that need a little something extra this year that it would be great if everyone who posted today adopted or donated to help them out. My 18 year old is actually still helping to rebuild Louisianna that I have sent him money to help there as well as adopting a family in his name this year. You don't have to donate toys but you can donate time to help with a meal or food items to help out. I know this is not politically correct but Merry Christmas to all. May your holiday season be filled with love, laughter and the start of new traditions.

l_eustacy 12 years, 5 months ago

We adopted families at church and work. These people have very basic items on their wish list - such as soap and toilet paper.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone, regardless of which side of the roundabout they are from, gave a little?

Linda Aikins 12 years, 5 months ago

Yes it sure would, l_e. Sounds like there are lots of opportunities there to make yourselves feel good.

Gosh, North Carolina has really changed Larry Brown, huh! ;)

canyon_wren 12 years, 5 months ago

For the past 8 years or so I have taken a couple of "Angels' " names off a tree at our supermarket. I generally get a boy and a girl and try to find ones who want books, since I love to buy kids' books. Mostly the parent(s) who fill them out just indicate a need for clothes, which are not quite as much fun to buy, since it is hard to know what kids would like in the way of clothing. This year I got a 13 year old boy who wanted "art stuff"--that was fun!--and a 4 1/2 year old girl whom I gave clothes and a "Little Bear" book. I wish I could afford to pull more Angels' names off the tree--it is so much fun.

I did get to buy 5 books for the Books for Tots program that our local bookstore owner has each year. People who haven't had a chance to participate in "adopting" a child or family in some way don't know the fun they're missing! Even if you can't afford much, it's still worth while.

italianprincess 12 years, 5 months ago

I guess you could say I adopted a little family. Saw a post on a local site here in Lawrence by a single mom like myself. She has little money for Christmas this year, so I went out and bought her two little ones a few things. She stopped by yesterday to pick everything up and she seems to be very nice.

Christmas is about giving and not receiving. If you can help out just a little bit, and give someone else a Christmas thats wonderful.

neopolss 12 years, 5 months ago

I have in the past, but not this year. Our little one has set us back quite a bit with his being born and all. Maternity leave eats at your savings!

canyon_wren 12 years, 5 months ago

On a past subject--ms_canada, I got the pudding made and steamed. It looks good and the dough was tasty! Can't wait to "light it up" on Christmas Day!

bankboy119 12 years, 5 months ago

Haha neo we're in the same boat this year too. Hopefully next year we'll be able to adopt a family again.

Jen Catloth 12 years, 5 months ago

i remember in high school collecting toys and food and then going around to peoples homes and delivering them. i visited about 6 families that day bringing them what i thought would make their christmas special because they couldn't afford it. instead i found, big screen tvs, stereos and other luxuries in these homes that someone claiming to be in their situation clearly should not have had. some of the places we brought the gifts too the people were so ungrateful and picky it made me so mad that i haven't helped since.

that probably sounds harsh, but sometimes it only takes one bad experience to ruin everything.

badger 12 years, 5 months ago

I have never had the money to do it (I can only really spare a couple of hundred dollars and I can't kick my Toys for Tots habit, so the amount I could spend would be less, even) properly, and I haven't worked someplace that did it, so instead whenever I'm out shopping, I kick ten bucks into canned or boxed goods and drop it in the bin. I carry ten bucks in ones every day so I have a couple to drop in the kettles as I pass them. Whenever I'm at Target, I pick up a toy for TfT. The place I'm working now is doing an educational toy drive, and I've put some toys in there. In general, I just try to give a little here and a little there as I can.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 5 months ago

So far, I've done the same as IP. A local site where people ask for things is a great way to get them exectly what they need. I found a family with 2 little girls (I couldn't resist) and was glad to help out. Earlier, I found a young single gal who was 2 weeks away from giving birth and she had NOTHING!!! I gave her a few things and also gave her my phone # (just in case).

This week we will be taking our girls out to buy for a family. I'm always so busy that I don't manage to officially "adopt a family" until 2 weeks before Christmas. There is usually still plenty of families on the waiting lists (sometimes they are larger families that no one has been able to take on). If we can't find a family this late then we go shopping for the local food pantry. My Christmas is not complete without giving to someone that has less than I do. I've been so blessed in my live that I just have to share. (It really is quite selfish on my part because I get to feel wonderful while helping out.)

p.s. Dad passed away when I was just a babe so the 4 of us sibs only had mom. I remember being the kid without...but Christmas was always great. I know first hand how important it is for these kids. Believe me, it was good to know when I was young that Santa didn't discriminate.:):):)

raven 12 years, 5 months ago

Yes I have been adopting a family since I was in high school. I will either visit Penn House or pull an angel off the tree at Wal-Mart or my church.

IP and Sue: What site did you go to to find these other people? Can you post it?

I too know what it is like to go without. But, now I can afford to help give and there really is no other feeling like it in the world. Christmas is such a special time.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 5 months ago

rockchalk, I'm truly sorry for your bad experience. I don't know how to screen out the bad apples but I just try to believe that the people really are in need and not just freeloaders. I would hate to punish kids because their parents stink. (Some parents spend all they have on themselves and none on the kiddies.) Most places you can go and actually see the list of items requested. Many just ask for things like warmer clothes or even soap, shampoo, and toilet paper! You should try again and adopt an elderly person. They never ask for anything fancy and they really do need help. I want you to get the spirit back. I feel for you but I understand where you're coming from.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 5 months ago

OOPS! use the first link (the second one doesn't work!)

jonas 12 years, 5 months ago

No, but I did take one home one year and have them for dinner.

OH. . . uh, I meant, OVER for dinner. hahaha. Fruedian whip. . . I mean slip.

/nothing to see here. move along, move along

Hello 12 years, 5 months ago

I've worked with the poor and I've seen what you're talking about rockchalkjayhawk. I agree it can be discouraging. In my experience, sometimes poor people can seem ungrateful because of shame. To help aleviate those feelings, I've had poor people do volunteer work to give them the opportunity to give back. You'd be amazed how that lifts up their spirits because then they realize that just because they're poor doesn't mean they don't have something to offer others. Giving of themselves also takes the focus off of themselves and their circumstances. Helps them see the bigger picture and realize that they have worth even if they don't have much money. We all need to feel needed, even the poor need to feel needed. Sure maybe they can't give back by giving money, but they can give back by giving of their time and give from their heart. Their is plenty of opportunity now especially for poor people to get involved and discover that they can have a great positive impact.

italianprincess 12 years, 5 months ago

I found this young single mom on and she also posted in Lawrence Free Cycle.

The link to is just as it looks and she was under the Swapmeet section.

The other link is or to subscribe to it ....... lawrencefreecycle-subscribe@yahoogrou...

I hope those work and have a great day.

italianprincess 12 years, 5 months ago

I just checked and only the Larryville one is working. The other is not so sorry. I belong to it and maybe someone in here who belongs to it also can put up the correct link.

Manson 12 years, 5 months ago

I am not adopting a family however I am directing a food pantry collection at my work and among family and friends.

Now to the real QoD. Tookie lives or Tookie dies? Your opinion?

ku_law 12 years, 5 months ago

SWEATPEAGJ, you sure do like to focus on your money, don't you? The other day you mention your fruitcake is wealthy and today you mention the exact amount of candy (200 dollars worth) you donated for Halloween. You could have just as easily said you donated candy and excluded the dollar amount. However, with your narrow mind focused lways on money, I am not surprised.

canyon_wren 12 years, 5 months ago

ku-law--how can you be so nit-picking and critical? You must have a miserable life--or at least those around you must have!

Ordinarily I don't feel like commenting about posts like yours, but yours seemed extra unnecessary! I think sweatpeagj has nice postings and would never have picked up on that "focus on money" till you pointed it out. So what??

jonas 12 years, 5 months ago

Manson: Little too late for the debate, methinks, eh.

Manson 12 years, 5 months ago

Why not? Still a valid debate on whether he should have or not....

trueninetiesgirl 12 years, 5 months ago

i adopted a family with 5kids and i also adopted two angels of wal-marts tree. i have been doing this for about three yrs. and it is fun to do.

Linda Endicott 12 years, 5 months ago

Does anyone know if the post office has letters to Santa, and if they're letting people come in and look at them and donate that way?

Manson 12 years, 5 months ago

Source CNN

Prosecutor: Evidence 'rock solid' Williams was sentenced to death in 1981 in the killing of Owens, a 26-year-old Los Angeles convenience store clerk. The clerk was shot twice in the back with a 12-gauge shotgun while face-down on the floor.

Less than two weeks after Owens' February 1979 slaying, jurors concluded, Williams killed an immigrant Chinese couple and their 41-year-old daughter while stealing less than $100 in cash from their motel. Robert Martin, one of the prosecutors who sent Williams to prison, said the courts "have scrutinized this from every angle and they've found that the evidence is rock solid."

He questioned whether there was any moral equivalence "between co-authoring some children's books and the senseless murder of four people in cold blood."

"The books will live on," Martin told CNN. "We have many authors who have died, and their books are still in print. And if they have any good effect, that can continue. So I don't believe that that is a conclusive argument."

CNN's Ted Rowlands, Kareen Wynter and Bill Mears contributed to this report.


I especially like the comparison between childrens books and cold blooded predicated murder. I read a story about a murder that was released back to society after serving a lengthy prison term with similar accolades for his written work only to murder someone 2 days after being released. There is no gurantee that what tookie wrote is a symbol of reformation. I like to think that I can't trust a murder's word no matter how long he displays literature or spoken word contrary to his actions that led to his incarceration. It's convient to be proactive from behind bars especially when your life is at stake.

heretoday 12 years, 5 months ago

This will make you pee your pants....

As for adopting a family....we have not done it for years but have several times in the past. Our family felt that it was so much more satisfying to give to a family in need then to buy little gadgets for one another. A few Christmas's when we did not have a lot of money to go around...we would just pool it all together and make one family feel the spirit of giving.

heretoday 12 years, 5 months ago

Oh I forgot to add that you are supposed to loook for white smoke coming out of the car before it turns around the bend....

heretoday 12 years, 5 months ago

Oh and make sure you have your volume up.

acg 12 years, 5 months ago

I spent a fortune on an adopted fam last year. I wrapped up all the gifts in pretty paper with bows, etc. It filled my car trunk and the back seat--all for one family! Took it down to the Ballard Center and the guy in there was like "just put it over there". He never said thanks, never remarked on the 6 trips from the car it took for me to unload one families worth of goodies. All I got was a "just put it over there". I don't think I really was looking for an atta boy but a little bit of gratitude, maybe? I'm sure the family was thankful but the guy doing the coordinating was an ass. It gave me a bad taste in my mouth, to be sure. Now I just give money to the bums in the area of my office in N. Topeka. Someone should help them get the Christmas spirit...uh, spirits. Ha! I slay me. :)

italianprincess 12 years, 5 months ago

Well happy early get off work day for me!!!!!!!!!!!

My youngest son just brought home from school a mitten. Its a mitten off the adopting a family tree from his school this year. We will be heading out soon to hit the stores again for what this child wants.

I'm so in the spirit of Christmas giving this year.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 5 months ago

26 years on the CA death row...I say 24 years too darned long!

never would have had the opportunity to put up those children's books if the justice system had been swift and sure.

mrs. gnome and I help as we can, but believe that our "alms" should be done in secret, as Jesus taught. so, my answer is mumm.

pathetic race-bating by Jesse Jackson/NAACP over Tookey williams! this guy was no victim!

and, Bobbus Unus want to feature that book tour with a slow speed pursuit on an L.A. freeway!

gonna rain soon..."showers moving in." yea more mud!

Nachtwolf 12 years, 5 months ago

If by "adopted" you mean "ate" . . . Then yes.

sweatpeagj 12 years, 5 months ago

I want to thank everyone for ignoring ku_law..the only reason I mentioned an amount was to show that it doesn't take much to make a townful of children happy. It is so sad that that would be the one point he took from the entire post but really can't make anyone care about others when they are so assured they are the only ones that matter.
ku-law..I am sorry that you are so unhappy in your own life that you feel it is ok to nitpick in areas that you are far from knowledgable. I am sorry that my money has to be the focus of your attentions. Seems to be a pathetic existance for you but so be it. The OTS was about adopting a family and you seem to have completely missed that. Maybe that family was fortunate you did. Have a Happy Holiday Season anyway. You need some love and laughter in your life. If trying to debate or cause controversy is what makes you happy then feel free to keep trying to take shots at me and my life. I live a very fulfilled life and have raised 4 wonderful children who do not try to create issues but make others feel special and loved.

Purell 12 years, 5 months ago

Nachtwolf, You are one sick puppy.

wolf - puppy, I kill me

sweatpeagj 12 years, 5 months ago

gaynproud I am not trying to be in anyway pretentious I am hoping you don't believe I was trying to be. ku_law has a problem with me for an earlier OTS that he got upset with someone for agreeing with him. I think it just makes him happy to put others down and with getting recognition for being a pain.

To first grandson was born today 7 pounds 3 ounces...Alexander James..My son just called..what a great Christmas present..

ku_law 12 years, 5 months ago

If you re-read gaynproud's post sweatpeagj, you will notice that he directed his comment at me. Your response to him must have been your materialistic guilty conscience speaking.

sweatpeagj 12 years, 5 months ago

ku-law you really are that stupid aren't you? I was making sure that he was not thinking I was pretentious because he accused you of wanting it all...get a life and maybe you wouldn't feel so threatened by those of us that actually have one...I hope your name really isn't your profession because you can't grasp the undertones of comments. Another wanna be but failed..sorry you are such a lost soul that can only feel good by trying to make others feel bad that they have acheived their own goals in life..pathetic maybe they have a class for people like you..if not start your own since you think you are important..hopefully, with every post you try to jump onto..others will ignore you for just being you.

sunflower_sue 12 years, 5 months ago

sweetpea, CONGRATS!!! What a tremendous blessing a baby is. I know you will enjoy your new grandson. My mother tells me that her mother had a saying (and as a mother of twelve and thus a grandmother of massive hoards): "You can't spoil the good ones!"

sweatpeagj 12 years, 5 months ago

By the way..Thank you so much Kansasdaughter..I am so proud of my son and his son. Life truly is a blessing when you get to raise and guide your children and they choose to continue on and raise their own. I am sorry that I got caught back up with a wanna be before I got to thank you..Please accept my apology! :)

sweatpeagj 12 years, 5 months ago

thank you Sunflower sue..I have always said they aren't spoiled just well loved! I am going to fly out Friday to meet him for the first time. I can't hardly wait!

bearded_gnome 12 years, 5 months ago

sweatpeagj: congrats!

Sunny_sue: " "hoards" wow, that's scarey.

hope you get to hug the entire hoard for Christmas!
you get over that snow day excedrin headache yet? kids suffer any damage on that day?

last year, mrs. gnome and I, in october, put an ad in the paper looking for a dog.
a wonderful woman called us and offered her dog, one of eight, that really needed his own home.
well, now its been fourteen months, and he's happy, we are very happy with him. and we are so glad for her gift of a dog! that is, "gnomedog."

sweatpeagj 12 years, 5 months ago

gaynproud..I was just getting clarification..I knew you were talking to ku-law but wanted to make sure you didn't think I was pretentious and he was trying to out do me if that makes any sense. I know that last time he started in on me it caused some harsh statements by the posters about both of us and didn't want that to be the case this time. Ecspecially when it is such a great OTS and one very important to everyone that helps in every way imaginable. thank you bearded-gnome. I have waited for the day that I got to actually have a grandchild. I always felt that my grandparents were so special and loved the way they were able to love us and then send us home. We had a summer tradition that for two weeks every summer the grandduaghters got to spend it with them then they spent two weeks alone with all the grandsons. I have always dreamed of being able to do that with grandchildren. I just wish my granparents were still alive to enjoy their greatgrandchildren by my own children. We come from a large family so there was never any less than ten grandchildren at a time in their home. I want to create a tradition for mine. I am hoping with my four children I will get to have a houseful of grandchildren running around.

bearded_gnome 12 years, 5 months ago

Sweatie: yes, traditions are very important, especially when they communicate to the young your identity and values.
have a happy Christmas w/the new arrival! and when the nappies are soiled, remember you did that once, too.


sweatpeagj 12 years, 5 months ago

I am so glad your gnomedog is happy. I am sure that with you as his parent he has a great personality. I love reading your posts they are very funny and both you and mrs. gnome sound like great people. I did forget about the soiled nappies son was actually feeding him when he called to tell me so I am sure he can help with that little problem. I told him to wait and get "christined" by his son..he already got that right after he was born. I loved hearing him laugh about it. I know that the values I taught him are working because the baby is another mans who got the girl pregnant and walked. He is adopting him and carries his last name. He went through the entire pregnancy with her and actually cut the cord. My son's biological father did that to us and was raised by my ex right from the start. Sorry, I do tend to ramble..Merry Christmas to the Gnome Family.

planetwax 12 years, 5 months ago

It's great that people care enough to bestow needed goods, toys, and other gifts to families in need. I have no argument with that at all. However, I would like to see the "Adopt - a - Family" (any "Adopt - a - _") phrase stricken from daily lexicon. It undermines the value and meaning of adoption to a family formed in this way. Families are not adopted during the holiday season. They are "cared for". So, go ahead and "Care for a Family."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.