My finger froze above the keyboard, as I was about to submit my name to adopt a soldier. This was 2009. Soldiers weren’t winning Dancing With The Stars in 2009. Back then, the only time I heard about troops is when something bad happened. Either they were hurt or had P-T-S-something and hurt someone else. So I hesitated. What was I getting myself into? If I’m mailing stuff, this guy is going to know where I live. I was having a “stranger danger” moment.
Then I remembered the tears in that sailor’s eyes when my daughter Sofia thanked him for being brave (A Sailor Wrecks My Indifference). And I thought about what I was signing up for. To send kindness and care to someone far from home who was risking their life to protect people like me. You know, strangers.
I hit send.
What is Adoption?
You commit to sending one letter a week and one care package a month for the duration of the Deployment. Mail is important. It affects morale.
It’s like Christmas Morning For Us
I could write an entire post on just how much getting mail means. So many of my guys have told me it’s like Christmas morning. When I was doing research about adopting, I ran across these thank-you notes from two soldiers.
Soldier 1: Although I can not truly speak for everyone, I am sure there are thousands of service members who feel the same way I do when I say beyond the cards, letters, and care packages you send to us, the most important and valuable thing you send is a sense of worth. What I mean by that is we realize we are not forgotten by people other than our immediate families. That it does make a difference in the world what we are doing, and that if there is at least one person out there who cares then the sacrifice that so many of us have and or will endure, it is worth it. Thank you very much.
Soldier 2: The guys out here really appreciate what you’ve done for us and so do I…what you and your friends do makes a difference. Morale lifts and with it depression, anxiety, anger, frustration and loneliness to name but a few things. What you do allows us time to feel good about ourselves because someone we don’t even know cared enough about us to do something wonderful. It allows us to be able to do our jobs out here with a sense of clarity. It helps us all try harder to come home safely. I can never say this enough, THANK YOU ALL. 😉
Your Soldier Information from AAUSS Adopt A US Soldier
This is what I got for hitting “send”. (For privacy, I took out a few details and cropped the photo of his wife.)
My name is xxxx I’m 24 and from the great state of xxxx. I’ve been in the military for 6 years now and this is my 3rd combat deployment. I’m married to a beautiful girl named xxxx She just gave birth to our first baby about 7 weeks ago. We had a baby boy Kyle. I still haven’t been home to see him but should be home for leave in a few months. Just got to Afghanistan in mid June and will be here until sometime in May.
I looked at the beautiful but dangerous place he worked. I looked at the child he had yet to meet. I looked at his wife who was about to have all those “first” baby moments solo. And I felt bad that I ever hesitated. This young family had a lot at risk. I think I can manage a letter and some beef jerky. I also decided to send him a What To Expect The First Year book and call it his new “field manual.” I would try to think of creative things to send. This would be fun! 10 days later I found out it would be something else as well. His email began, “We had a rough week…”
© Gina left the mall, 2012