Our Advent Calendar was hung with great excitement and anticipation on November 30th. Each morning since the 1st of December my kids enter our kitchen with shuffling feet and sleepy eyes, awake only enough to search out if their siblings are also awake and then one of them shouts, “You guys! Advent Calendar!” Each pocket is filled with a holiday activity (attend our local tree lighting, visit Zoo Lights at the Portland Zoo), family activity (share a reason you are grateful for one another, watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer), a yummy treat, verses from Luke’s gospel, or an opportunity to give. They never know what is inside so it’s a thrill every morning (for them as much as us). And it’s interesting, because they are getting more and more excited about opportunities to give to others. New to our Advent tradition this year will be an opportunity to create and give a Welcome Box to a child entering foster care this season.

Welcome Box

As a family who knows and understands foster care it is our joy to not only participate ourselves this holiday season, but also to extend the invitation for you to join us in creating these beautiful welcome boxes for kids.

As a community, we can come alongside caseworkers and children.

Unfortunately, this is a high intake time for foster care. Kids removed from their homes often leave with very little. Jillana Goble of Embrace Oregon says this,

The majority of children coming into foster care in the Oregon tri-county area {or Vancouver, WA} must wait in an office for 1-2 hours while a social worker calls to find them a suitable placement. This is usually a time of high anxiety for children, as they’ve recently been removed from their home and are being moved to a new, unknown foster home.


The notion of a Welcome Box is a simple one. While the child is waiting, the social worker gives him/her a box of age-appropriate items to occupy their time while in the office. It is also a box they can carry and take with them into their new foster home. Since many children enter their new foster homes with very few belongings, the psychological importance of owning nice possessions cannot be underestimated.”

Creating the Welcome Box is a great way for children to engage in an opportunity to give. Your family selects boy or girl, and the age of the child. Then together, you fill the box with art supplies, a night light, snacks, and an assortment of other small items. When you are finished you contact your box coordinator to find out where to drop your box off. Ready to make yours?

Image from Embrace Oregon

Image from Embrace Oregon

Here are directions on how to create a Welcome Box. Print out the directions, have the kids cut out and attach the box labels, and then follow the recommendations for essentials and extras to place inside. Your family will enjoy this task and the child who receives it will enjoy having something all their own during a transitional time.

Thank you Blended Community for loving children entering foster care during this holiday season! 

This is a local opportunity in the greater Portland area. If you do not live here, please contact your local Department of Human Services to see how you can partner with them.

For more information, or to schedule a drop off time, contact the appropriate coordinator below.

Welcome Box Coordinators:

Images and information sourced from Embrace Oregon and Sarah Desjarlais