With all the marketing and consumerism we are bombarded with in our daily lives - even more so around the holidays - it can be quite commonplace to forget the true reason of the season. And everybody's reason can be different, but the true emphasis is on celebrating our loved ones, cherishing the special moments, and giving as opposed to receiving. Here are three dads whose social media posts reminded us, about the true spirit of the holidays.
Happy Holidays everyone!
"Merry Christmas my babies"
Michael Duncan lives in Winston-Salem, NC, where he moved eight years ago after separating from the U.S. Navy. "After serving overseas in the military, it was important for me to have a family of my own," shared Michael. "I had seen so much violence, missed so many holidays and experienced a lot of loss as a widow." Michael's late husband, whom he had met at age 5 in Kindergarten, was killed on their one year anniversary. "We had promised to start a family together," continued Michael. "He bought me a "Father's Day Card" for our anniversary which was his way of telling me he remembered our promise to one another."
Michael kept waiting to find another love but after years in the Navy, he decided he could no longer wait and started the journey to fatherhood on his own. "I started working with our local Department of Social Services to foster. I was approved as a foster parent and my sons were my first placement in my home. We fell in love with one another and really clicked from the very first moment we met. I started the process of adoption and 14 months later welcomed them into our forever home."
Reading Michael's Facebook post above, is a wonderful reminder of the important things in life, and for many of our families, it can be having an adoption finalized, a foster journey moving forward, or a family last name being formalized.
"Holidays for me is about family! Having children of my own to share my life and traditions with," says Michael. "Giving love to others as a family unit and ensuring we bless those around us who are in need. It is the simple acts of love that matter most in our home."
“With your support, we are donating over $90,000 to the beneficiaries including over 2,500 teddy bears to Children's Health!"
Jason Hanna, dad of twin boys through surrogacy and husband to Joe, lost his mother after a courageous fight with lung cancer. When they first found out about her diagnosis, Jason sprang into action. "In honor of the battle she was just beginning, I wanted to do something to give her the strength to push through all of the treatments, so I did a teddy bear drive and donated those teddy bears to children in the local hospital who were going through the same type of treatment."
Sadly the first event of its kind in 2011 was the only one Jason's mother was able to attend before she became very ill and passed away only a few months later, but her legacy continues to live on year after year. "We continue the Teddy Bear Party in memory of her and all of the other loved ones lost or impacted by cancer while we continue to advocate for the LGBTQ community and our families."
Since 2011, it's been incredible to see the Teddy Bear Drive grow every year and see the kiddos that benefit. "These teddy bears comfort each kiddo throughout their hospital journey and for years to follow."
"For our 'Magical Victorian Christmas' we had 60 kids come and receive first from Mr. & Mrs. Claus from our kids toy drive"
Brian Splater and Austin Karnatz became dads when they adopted their great-niece and great-nephew in 2018. The family of four live in Superior, Nebraska, and call a very important local landmark home. "Since we live in an 1885 Victorian home and one of the, if not the, most iconic home in our town, we decided to have an Annual Magical Victorian Christmas Open House. Since our kids knew Santa would be there they wanted him to hand out gifts to the underprivileged kids in our community. That is how "E and J's Magical Toy Drive" began. We thought we'd get 30 USED toys but we ended up with 275 NEW toys on 18 days!"
They family ended up with so many toys left over, their 8-year-old daughter suggested they give them to sick kids, and so the family drove to the Children's Hospital in Omaha to deliver the 183 new toys. Their act of kindness caught the attention of WOWT6's local news anchor, Brian Mastre, who met them at the hospital. (Watch the clip here.)
But this family's kindness doesn't stop there. They have started a page called Ambassadors of Kindness. "We created the page to share everyone's acts of kindness they witness or do. Because of the toy drive, it inspired us to create the page."
We look forward to following along with this family and their future acts of goodwill and kindness - something so important, not just around the holidays.
Share your own story, or someone else's, of kindness or holiday cheer, and we'll share to our social pages.
Happy Holidays to all!