Christmas from a Different Perspective

Foster homes do what they can to keep the holiday spirit.

“Many children and teenagers beg for expensive material things for Christmas, but my Christmas wish was for my parents to do what they were supposed to be doing so we can get out of that place,” says Alex Bibiano, a former foster teen. Bibiano was staying at Casa Pacifica along with his 10 year old sister, Estrella for about 6 months. When asked about what he felt his obligation was, his response was, “Just to take care of my little sister.” Estrella meant the world to him and since he was not allowed to spend much time with her he would become very upset and rebellious.

 

Cristina Miranda, a youth policy advocate at Casa Pacifica (a foster home in Camarillo) said, “for most youth who are placed in foster care, the holidays can be a very challenging time.” Since many of the children in foster care are not allowed to spend the holidays with their families, unless approved by their social worker, they are often let down.. These children begin to lose motivation, and think the worst about holidays since ‘Home for the Holidays’ is nowhere near what they are allowed to do.  

 

Fortunately at Casa Pacifica, Christmas is celebrated and gifts are brought for everyone. “We are very blessed to see and feel the love their community has for them,” Miranda says. “Each year (a week or so before Christmas) Amgen, the local biotech company comes to the agency and transforms the gym into the most beautiful holiday setting for the annual children’s Christmas party.” The gym is decorated according to a Christmas theme each year.

 

Pentair, a company based out of Moorpark that sells pool, spa and aquatic equipment purchases 1 large gift for each child living in the facility every year. “On the day of the Christmas party, Pentair staff serve a beautiful dinner for all of the children, right before Santa Claus walks in and passes out the gifts to all of the children,” says Miranda.

 

The staff tries their best to accommodate the children, and do what they can to make Christmas a happy day for everyone. “On the actual Christmas day, all children who are living here receive a couple items that they need (such as shoes, or clothes) and a couple items that they want (a gift card of some sort). Our staff prepare a delicious dinner and they spend the day just hanging out and watching Christmas movies,” says a staff member at Casa Pacifica.  
Although these kids do not have the opportunity to spend time with their families, the foster care system still manages to do the best for each and every child.