An Incredible Celebration with Foster Care Families

I alluded to this in my Events, Invites and a Blog Candy Giveaway post on Sunday, and I’m excited that today is finally here so I can share the story of my amazing weekend along with some wonderful photos (please note:  you’ll see little blue stars in several of these picture to honor the anonymity of the children who attended the event).

An Overview

I was thrilled when Rhonda, a resource development administrator for the Georgia Department of Family & Children Services, reached out to me to organize a “scrapbooking event” for the families in Georgia Foster Care Program during their annual celebration of the participants of the program.  I didn’t take a breath before responding with a big “YES!  I’ll do it.”  Here’s a picture of Rhonda and me – her shirt says “Every child deserves a forever family” (I love that!):

Brian King & RhondaRhonda found me online (yay for consistent blogging) and called with the particulars for the event – I placed an order with Stampin’ Up! for the supplies and agreed to show up for the event and walk the participants through Project Life by Stampin’ Up!

Receiving the Order

I don’t want to get too far ahead.  If you’ve ever received a Stampin’ Up! order (and I know you have!), then you know the excitement of opening the box(es) and sorting through all the products to make sure you have everything.  Even though this order would be delivered to the event for Foster Care Families, I was excited to receive and sort the order.  I took off work last week to be home when my UPS man dropped by to deliver 34 boxes of albums, pocket pages, cards, pens and supplies.  I was watching by the window all morning:

Waiting for the UPS truck, Brian King

You can bet I jumped for joy when the truck finally arrived and backed down my driveway (that’s a first!) to deliver my boxes:

The UPS truck is here!, Brian KingI met my UPS driver at the door – he delivers lots of boxes to my house but he knew this delivery was different.  The entire shelf on the left side of the truck was filled with my boxes.  We had time for a selfie:

The UPS truck is here!, Brian Kingand he left with a small thank you gift – a handmade card (of course!), two bottled waters, a gift card and some GooGoo Clusters.  He was excited to learn that I make cards with all the stuff he routinely delivers to my house.  🙂

My awesome UPS driver, Brian KingHere’s a look at all the boxes, stacked in the corner of my den:

The UPS truck is here!, Brian King

There’s a lot of happiness in these boxes!  Julie and Pam helped me spend the afternoon checking, sorting and repacking all the supplies.  It felt like Christmas – except for the 90 degree weather.  🙂

Heading to the Event

The event was organized by the Department of Family & Children Services as a celebration for their Foster Care Families.  We weren’t the only thing happening at this event – the event coordinators hosted a jumpy castle, a foam machine, lots of games, cotton candy and a barbecue luncheon.  The event was held at a park pavilion in High Falls State Park in Jackson, Georgia (about an hour-and-a-half South of Atlanta).

Several of my team members (and a couple of friends) jumped at the opportunity to help with this event – just as fast as I did.  We packed up two cars with boxes and people and headed out.  This is the back of Gay Lynn’s minivan as we hit the road (there was more stuff in the back of the other car, too!):

boxes for the event, Brian KingWhen we arrived at the park in Jackson (but before we started unloading boxes), we pulled over for a group photo by the man-made waterfall in the beautiful park:

Stampin' Up! road trip, Brian King

(left-to-right) Brian, Karen, Caroline, Gay Lynn, Katie, Jeremiah, Serina

If you were more interested in seeing the waterfall, here’s a great picture Serina snapped:

Waterfalls at High Falls State Park, Brian KingWhen we arrived at the pavilion, we helped set up tables and chairs and started unpacking all the supplies we brought with us – despite the fact that the room was without power (and air) initially, the group I brought with me jumped right in:

upacking at the event, Brian KingHere are some pictures of the setup at the front of the room:

Stampin' Up! Product Shots, Foster Care event, Brian KingStampin' Up! Product Shots, Foster Care event, Brian King Stampin' Up! Product Shots, Foster Care event, Brian King

Sharing at the Event

I gave the group of families a quick walk through of memory-keeping and documenting the small events of our daily lives.  I shared a book I made last year for my work team’s knitting project (my boss taught us all how to knit, and we made blankets for a homeless shelter and little caps for neonatal care unit).  I showed them how easy it was to sort the cards and pictures to tell a story – such an important thing for the children and the families who care for them.  We distributed an album, pocket pages and a journaling pen to each attendee.  We set out boxes of cards on each table for them to start filling their pages.  What a joy to share with them!

Walkthrough of Memory Keeping, Stampin' Up!, Brian King

Documenting their Memories

Here are some shots of folks who enjoyed playing with the cards and filling out their albums – I really can’t tell you how fun it was to watch the families begin to put together their albums:

Documenting Memories, Stampin' Up!, Brian King Documenting Memories, Stampin' Up!, Brian King Documenting Memories, Stampin' Up!, Brian King Documenting Memories, Stampin' Up!, Brian King Documenting Memories, Stampin' Up!, Brian KingMake-and-Takes

In addition to the albums the participants were able to assemble, I organized a quick-and-easy make-and-take with notecards.  The card included a cheerful banner and a stamp it-punch it-pop-it-up-with-dimensionals sentiment.  While the card was designed with the banner extending down the portrait layout of the card, Caroline (Gay Lynn’s daughter) really had fun with her sample card:

Caroline and her card, Stampin' Up!, Brian King

Caroline took over the make-and-take table (she was a real natural):

Make-and-takes, Stampin' Up!The “Happy Day” sentiment is from the Perfectly Wrapped stamp set.  I gave each family the opportunity to make two – one for the parents and one for the children.  I asked them to write a memory of a happy day to stick in the album.  I knew the parents would love the keepsake in the child’s writing and the children would love the keepsake in the parent’s writing.  Not everyone made the make-and-takes, but those who did loved it (as I knew they would)!

In Summary

What an amazing day!  I am so glad that Rhonda reached out to me and that I was able to participate in such an important celebration.  The friends and team members who accompanied me to the event all shared their joy at being able to serve these families.  We were able to talk to many of the mothers and fathers (and danced along side of several of the young children) about their experiences – beautiful people with beautiful stories.  I adore her Mama Bear shirt:

Documenting Memories with Foster Care Families, Brian King

I have a wonderful family (you already know how awesome my Mom is, right?).  In our day-to-day lives, it’s easy to forget how “happy family life” is not guaranteed to every child and “having children” is not guaranteed to every adult.  I am so grateful for my natural family, my Stampin’ Up! family and my family of friends outside of Stampin’ Up!.  I am so glad to have spent time with this awesome group of families and to make some new friends – so much joy all the way around!

Thanks for stopping by today!

Brian

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80 Comments

  1. Oh Brian!! This made me all teary! What a wonderful and AMAZING event that you did. WOW. I am blown away with the special way that you have helped those families document and preserve something so special to them. I am also very happy that you had a picture of the man made waterfall without you guys in it.
    Awesome awesome event and thank you for sharing it on your blog too. It was wonderful to read and will share this with my team and customers too. I know they are going to love it.

  2. How wonderful u are!

  3. Fantastic event Brian. Those families and especially the kids, will now have something tangible to take with them wherever they go in life. What a special day to be a part of!!

  4. How lovely you were able to be a part of this Brian. Sharing your amazing talent and your welcoming personality. What a joy! 🙂

  5. What a wonderful, joyous, and kind event that you put together. You’re so kind and generous, not to mention, an awesome artist. Thank you for sharing your story and inspiring us with different ways of giving back to our communities.

  6. What a wonderful opportunity to share !! Very inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Fantastic! As a foster and adoptive parent, creating a Life Book with a child in care is not only fun but is a connection built with a special soul. Thanks for sharing this story, Brian. Removing the stigma from foster care will happen with caring people like you helping things along. Well done!

  8. What a great event….thanks for sharing the story and photos. Heartwarming!!

  9. What a wonderful day for all involved! So many happy memories will be kept and treasured. Your heart has to be full after sharing your love and talents that day!

  10. AMAZING POST and I am sure that your JOY TANK was FULL. The feeling inside is just indescribable when you make a difference to others. I am sure that you and your team had a fabulous day and that the people that attended had the BEST TIME OF THEIR LIVES….

    You ROCK my friend….a super fun day that will be cherished by many!

  11. Wonderful, Brian. This will touch so many lives and make them so the richer.

  12. What a wonderful event. My Dad was adopted and that always was special to me. I adopted my youngest child and I have always felt so blessed to have her join our family. It has been a very memorable journey.

  13. I am always excited to see your emails. You do such beautiful work and most of your samples I have flagged. However, this story exemplifies what a great heart you have and such compassion for people. You go above and beyond as a Stampin Up demonstrator. May God continue to bless you as you have others.

  14. Brian, you are the best! I am sure that is a day that the kids and adults will long remember.

  15. Brian I always enjoy reading your daily blog and so often getting my daily dose of laughter. Today’s was so very heartfelt, what a beautiful gift this event was, and I enjoyed every word and pic of you capturing this exciting day. The Georgia DFCS struck gold when they found your blog. Kudos to you Brian King!

  16. LOVE ! Loved seeing all the pictures and your telling us all the details !
    I have two adopted GKs so I know how special all of this is !!
    Thank you for sharing !

  17. What a wonderful thing to do! I’m sure the families appreciated the opportunity to document their time together. And the kids will have something to show that their childhood existed!

  18. What a special person you are! Such an inspiring story.

  19. Awwww, my your just that kind of guy , our King ♥️♥️♥️♥️
    Your making a lovely deference for all those people, great job to all of you !!!!! And thank you for SHARING my friend ♥️♥️
    Your the BEST ♥️♥️
    Hugs Frenchie

  20. I love this story especially the goo goo, water and thank-you card for the UPS guy. We do a goo goo search each year for our Halloween treats. You touch a lot of lives my friend. Very proud of all the good you do!

  21. Much love to you Brian for making it happen!

  22. What an amazing story Brian. So glad you were able to participate!

  23. You are such a BLESSING to so many! Many Blessings to you and those who were involved in helping with this event. And God Bless those who become Foster Parents! TFS this story with us all! 🙂

  24. Thank you for sharing this event! You and your team did an awesome job! Making a memory book about this will be easy with all these great pictures!

  25. Blessings to you, Brian ! What an inspiring story! I am sure you made a difference in many lives that day and that is what it is all about ! This story does my heart much good !! And you even reached out to the wonderful UPS driver !!!! Thank you for sharing this !

  26. Wow! Just wow! What an incredible day that must have been!

  27. Beautifully done Brian & team!!!! What a wonderful idea.

  28. Oh my goodness!! I am blown away! What a wonderful event!! You continue to be a blessing to SO many! Your team and even the UPS guy were clearly happy to be a part of it all! Well done!! You are my hero!!

  29. This was an amazing project and you are so awesome for taking charge and making it such a big success. Thank you for all you do in sharing your love of all things creative.

  30. Jennifer Spiller

    What a wonderful awesome day! Thanks for sharing ?

  31. Words can’t express how much I love this recap and what that event must have meant to all those families! Amazing!

  32. Oh Brian, this was wonderful!!!!! Lots of happy tears filled my eyes!!! (((HUGS))) and SMILES to you!

  33. Robbye Hamilton

    I am overjoyed that the event went so well. Doing something for others can be so rewarding. You all helped this group not only document memories, but also make some new ones as I’m sure they’ll always remember this event as will you.

  34. What an amazing person you are. I am sure you made a big impression on the families . You made their day a day filled with lots of HAPPY.

  35. What a great event! Thank you for sharing the story. You and your team made a difference in each of these lives and one they will never forget.

  36. What a wonderful positive activity for those who give so much-
    I’d like details on how you organized that event…

  37. Christina Westbrook

    What an amazing event. That took a lot of thought and effort. I’m impressed. I loved seeing all the smiles on your faces!

  38. Awesome. You and your team are amazing.

  39. Great story, Brian. Your generous, giving, loving spirit is so inspiring. You and your team did an amazing job to make a very memorable day for this group of wonderful people. Enjoy your day!

  40. My bestie just became a foster mom 2 weeks ago. You got me in the feels. Way to go, Brian! <3

  41. This was such an inspiring story! Thank you for sharing!

  42. Cindie McDuffee

    Brian, you (and your team) exemplify all that is right in the world. What a great story, what a great post, what a great purpose. Thanks for giving us a glimpse in to this heartwarming and meaningful day.

  43. Congratulations on a wildly successful, happy, cherished event!! Thank you for sharing it with us. The people attending may not remember you or your team in a few years, but they will remember making their books and sharing a wonderful fun filled day! It really doesn’t get ANY better then that!
    Love the photo of your UPS driver!! 🙂

  44. What an amazing and wonderful event! The results of this outing will be treasured by all in attendance for many years to come! So proud and happy that Rhonda found you and your fellow” Stampin’Uppers” to make this a memorable event! Love you, “my brother” and all who participated!

  45. Ginger Toivonen

    What a beautiful story and such a nice way to touch lives with some important people -cjildren. Nicely done Brian!

  46. Just beautiful! What a wonderful thing to do! Look at those happy faces. Oh my gosh! Makes the heart smile!

  47. With everything going on in the world it’s so nice to hear such a heart warming story. You touched so many lives in such a happy positive way.

  48. Such an awesome service project. You and your team rocked it. Small things bring such big rewards.
    Thank you Brian. You have the biggest heart.

  49. Brian, there are no words to tell you how wonderful you and your team are. The happiness you brought to those families is something that they will cherish forever. You rock my friend. God bless you

  50. This makes my heart happy! Great job one and all!

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