Angel Tree 2013 Highlight: A Very Merry Christmas in Savannah!

Children served by the Savannah Specialized Foster Care, Adoptions, and Family Intervention Services, along with participants in the FACES program, had a very merry Christmas this year! Thanks to the generosity of numerous donors, our clients received an outpouring of gifts, all distributed by Santa!

On Saturday, December 14, Lutheran Services of Georgia held a party for the children in the social hall of host church Trinity Lutheran. Southside Fire Department brought Santa in an ambulance (It was raining - no open sleigh!) and delivered personalized gifts to every foster care provider and every child in each home. Everyone -- about 80 people plus staff -- enjoyed a delicious meal, served by LSG staff members.

The FACES party was held at the Old Times Country Buffet, and Santa, aka Donald Gruver, made an appearance to hand out gaily wrapped gifts.  Then it was “all you can eat.”  Everyone left happy.

Many groups and individuals within those groups selected names and purchased and wrapped each gift.  These groups included:

  • Asbury Methodist Bible Study Group
  • Groves High School Student Council
  • Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Springfield
  • Messiah Lutheran Church
  • Will Black, The Meridian Foundation
  • Publix Supermarket
  • Redeemer Lutheran Church
  • Savannah Pan-Hellenic Council
  • SouthCoast Medical Administrative Office
  • St. James Catholic School
  • St. Paul’s Lutheran Church
  • St. Paul’s Lutheran Church WELCA
  • St Paul’s Lutheran Preschool
  • Trinity Lutheran Church

Lutheran Services of Georgia is truly blessed to have such wonderful supporters throughout the area.  Thanks to the generosity of so many, LSG is able to continue to bring hope, healing and strength to people in need.


Angel Tree 2013 Highlight: Gifts for Refugees

Each year, Lutheran Services of Georgia's Angel Tree program helps ensure that our clients have a very happy holiday season! Lutheran congregations and other LSG supporters generously gave gifts and their time to support refugee families. Through Angel Tree, LSG is able to provide warm winter coats, blankets, and clothing for every refugee adult and child resettled during the year---in 2013, that's almost 500 refugees!

Students from Ohio State University and Florida Gulf Coast University taking a week of their winter break for service helped to sort, organize, and deliver Angel Tree gifts for refugees provided by congregations. Lutheran Church of the Redeemer's Mission House served "Angel Tree Central", the location for drop off of all the refugee gifts. Christ the King Lutheran Church provided gifts for over 160 refugees, the largest number of gifts of any congregation in  LSG's Angel Tree 2013! For the Kid in All of Us donated several toys from the 2013 Toy Party and Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Woodstock made shoeboxes full of small toys and items to delight every refugee child.

After the gifts were sorted, LSG staff members and volunteers personally delivered gifts to refugees throughout Clarkston, spreading excitement, smiles, and holiday cheer. LSG thanks all of the congregations, students, staff, and other supporters for making 2013 Angel Tree a success!

Adoption: Creating Holiday Traditions and Rituals in Adoptive Families

Many children who have been placed for adoption from foster care have anxiety and uncertainty about holidays and the expectations these times carry.  It is helpful for adoptive families to quickly establish rituals and traditions that embrace their newly formed family members, so the child can feel a part of a heritage that is significant fro the family. Traditions such as these help create bonds in adoptive families. The most enduring traditions cost little money, but help everyone feel special. . Your family traditions will remain important as your child becomes an adult.

One way the adoption staff at Lutheran Services of Georgia helps families build these holiday traditions is through our annual Adoptive Family Christmas Party. This year Andrew Willis was our Santa Claus, juggling several pillows to stuff his Santa suit! We also have a volunteer who annually offers her services as a clown teaching the children to make animal shapes out of balloons and keeping them enthralled with her pink hair and colorful clown garments. Families are asked to bring a dish to share and the children often help in the preparation of a holiday favorite from their home.

What we have discovered over the years is that families early in placement come in numbers to the party but as time moves forward and they develop strong traditions of their own, the tether to the agency is gradually released.  We are thrilled to see this as we know this means the adoption is no longer the primary focus of the family life. We do see families who adopt newborn infants return year after year to share with great pride their bundle of joy’s growth and development.

On December 4, 2011, we had between 50-60 people attend our annual Adoptive Family Christmas Party. Several families returned as they are now ready for placement of additional children from foster care.

We feel very blessed to be a part of the children’s transition to permanency, love and a nurturing family to grow up in. This has become a seasonal tradition we are proud to offer our families.