Common questions asked about the effort to fulfill the “Holiday wish lists” of kids in foster care.

I haven’t received the wish list I requested online yet. Do I need to request it again?
No, chances are we have your request. We knew our community was good-hearted and generous but we are still completely overwhelmed by the number of people who requested wish lists in our launch week! We have staff and volunteers working around the clock to send out all the wish lists so please give us a couple extra days.

How do we know these gifts are going to kids in foster care in Oklahoma?
We are honored to be the official method of wish list distribution for children in Oklahoma’s DHS custody state wide! What a huge honor to be entrusted with providing the community with the opportunity to make holiday season a little brighter for a child in foster care! Please read the letter from OKDHS stating that OK Foster Wishes is the official method of distribution for wish lists of children in foster care in Oklahoma.

What if I get a wish list from an 18-year-old?
Short answer
Please fill it with a happy heart!
Long answer – Think about the fact that if you have their list that means that they are a child who turned 18 without ever being reunified or adopted by a forever family. Many kids turn 18 their senior year of high school. Children in OKDHS custody have an average of 5 placements during their time in custody. Because of this, many get behind in school because of changing schools and schools teaching different curriculums. Foster kids are allowed to stay in a foster placement until completing high school even after they turn 18 as long as the foster home allows. In fact, they have to sign themselves in to “voluntary custody” if they need more time to complete high school. Sadly, many do not. Some become a statistic and believe that they cannot finish high school, which only perpetuates the situation by raising the likelihood that their own children will be put into foster care. So, be thankful that you can encourage a kid who chose to stick it out and finish high school!
*Less than 50% of foster kids ever receive their high school degree and less than 2% go on to finish college. Not because of financial support, but a poverty of relationship.

What if the foster parents misuse the gift card I buy?
Short answer – It’s unlikely.
Long answer
– Most foster parents are “kinship” placement, which means that they had a relationship with the child or sibling group before they are taken into custody. Kinship families do not receive reimbursement from OKDHS for the care of the children until all background checks and home study is completed, which usually takes 6-9 months. With all that being said, foster parents make tremendous sacrifice of walking along side and supporting child victims of abuse, neglect & abandonment during very trying times of judicial, emotional and sometimes medical journeys. They provide comfort, shelter, bedding, clothing, food, transportation and more! The likelihood of a caregiver, who is already sacrificing so much, taking advantage of a gift to a child in their care to benefit himself is very slim, and to be honest, offensive.

Can we host an event or deliver gifts to the children?
Short answer
– No.
Long answer
– There are a few policies that we have to work around. Children in foster care are not to be identified as “foster” children and are in the state’s protective custody so by you handing them a gift we would be violating that and the child’s privacy.

Although your intention is very kind, you might consider the amount of work that you are adding to the foster parents and caseworkers to transport and supervise the children to an event. Foster parents plans for the day might be disrupted and their other children would be left out. Foster parents are asked to incorporate foster children into their homes and treat just as they would other children in the home. Most foster families already have several events (court, therapy, family visits) each month and this would be an additional event to attend. Not to mention that some children would not be appropriate to take on an outing either because of medical conditions or behavioral issues brought on by the trauma they are experiencing.

OK Foster Wishes is a “double blind” giving that was created to safely provide the children with gifts from whomever the child’s caregiver wishes they came from. Some foster parents and group home parents use the gifts to give to children from “other sibling”, “biological parent”, “grandparent” or “Santa”. If the kids picked out their own gifts or were given their gifts from a stranger it would ruin the surprise. Remember, for some of these children these are the only gifts that they will receive.

With that said, we will be hosting a foster parent pick up day and you would be welcome to volunteer to serve the people who have opened their hearts and homes by making a commitment to care for these children. Click here to sign up for this and other opportunities.

What if the name/gender/age/clothing sizes don’t match up?
Short answer
– Do your best & always go with specifically requested items first.
Long answer – Sometimes the lists have a typo or wrong info. Lists are sent to us by caseworkers that are already very busy and doing their best to provide care for their kids. We ask that you use your best judgement to navigate the size, gender and trust the toy requests as your guide.

Why is there a $75 spending limit?
Short answer
– OKDHS says so.
Long answer – It is common for foster homes to have multiple children (biological, adoptive or other foster) and need to be able to supply other children’s gifts to make sure that the holiday season is a great memory and equally provided for all children in the home.

Wrapped or unwrapped?
Short answer
– Unwrapped.
Long answer – Unwrapped, because many times there are multiple children (biological, adoptive or foster) in the homes, so we need to make sure that caregivers know what gifts are coming to be able to make decisions to best serve the children in their home to assure a very merry holiday season for all.

Are there other ways I can help?
Short answer
– Yes! Spread the word, attend our events & sign up to volunteer.
Long answer
*Sign up for volunteer opportunities.
*Challenge your friends and family to participate and join you at some of our fun events! Click here to see what’s coming up.
*Share our Facebook page ( Twitter (@okfosterwishes) & Instagram (@okfosterwishes).
Share your pics of shopping with your wish list & tag us!