Over the weekend, I had the chance to watch the new movie, “Instant Family,” a comedy/drama about a couple adopting three foster children into their lives. I recommend that our readers watch this movie over Thanksgiving weekend to help put in focus the need for more foster families in our state. While the movie depicts a softer (and funnier) version of reality, it does help open your eyes to what these kids and their families endure (you can read a good review of the movie at https://www.commonsensemedia.org/movie-reviews/instant-family).
 
There is a great quote from the movie that stuck with me: “The things that matter are hard.” That sums up the work done by so many different organizations who work to help foster children as well as the heroic foster parents who provide a loving and safe home to children in-need.  
 
At the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA), we are working to support these foster parents and kids during the holiday season, and we invite you to join us in that effort. OK Foster Wishes is our holiday gift drive that will provide thousands of foster children with presents they have specifically selected on “wish lists” submitted to the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.  These lists can now be downloaded now at okfosterwishes.org.  We encourage our readers to log-on and get a wish-list or make a monetary donation.
 
We are also asking holiday shoppers to support the gift drive during the upcoming “shopping holidays” and to spread the word by posting about their support on social media with the hashtag #OkFosterWishes. Shopping holidays and ways to help OK Foster Wishes include:
 

  • Black Friday: request your list or lists at okfosterwishes.org so you can take it shopping with you

 

  • Small Business Saturday: please frequent a local store to purchase an unwrapped toy to drop off for our Santa Store for kids who came into the foster system after lists were due

 

  • Cyber Monday: add OICA to your Amazon Smile account to increase the return for OK Foster Wishes at smile.amazon.com

 

  • Giving Tuesday: contribute the estimated value of a wish list ($75) at okfosterwishes.org to fill one of the lists which is returned unfulfilled

 
If you take a list or purchase toys, you can drop them at an official location, or you can mail them to Morningstar Storage, C/O OICA at 7100 NW 50th Street, Bethany, OK 73008.
 
I also want to conclude with congratulating OICA’s former executive director, Anne Roberts, for receiving the Special Recognition Award from the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits for their 2018 Visions.  Anne led our organization for two decades and continues to be a champion for Oklahoma’s children!