I remembered this photo of me when we had just come to this country a few months prior.
I'll tell you about the burn on my left hand another time. Do you see that sofa? Hideous. Those gigantic slippers that didn't fit me? My clothes. This is the picture of an immigrant child. And I'm proud of it. Because it reminds me that we are a strong family.
Sometimes, I look at it and remember how good we have it.
This time, I cleared out half of my clothes in my closet and half of the hand-me-downs going to my toddler from the older daughter. I also packed away a large trash bag worth of toys from each child.
And contacted Catholic Charities of Lake County, IL. As far as I've ever
I asked if it was possible to donate clothes and toys to an immigrant family and explained why. They were more than willing to help me do this for someone else.
I took my daughters with me to make the donation. I wanted them to see where our things were going, to what ended up being two separate new immigrant families in Lake County, IL. That Mama had once been one in Baltimore. That they should never forget that they, like all Americans, have immigrant roots and should treat those people with respect.
I hope those two families find inspiration from our gifts. I hope that their case workers tell them "This came from a fellow immigrant and her family and she wants you to know she believes in you and that you can do amazing things, just keep trying hard."
I don't know if that is what they will be told. But I do know that after dropping off the donations, we said a prayer in our car that the families who receive our gifts find strength and courage to try hard. And that they know they aren't alone.
Note: You can donate to Catholic Charities as well.