First of all, I want to thank everyone that nominated a deserving family for the "Giving is Awesome" giveaway. What a great gift you are you offering and it was amazing to see so many people take the time to write such great letters about the people they love.
I have to admit, it was very hard for my judges and I to decide who we felt really needed this gift. Most of the stories we read were heartbreaking and I definitely wish the best to all our nominated families.
The votes starting coming in from the judges and it was close one at first, but in the end this is the letter that tugged at our heart strings the most...
When I thought about who truly deserves your photography services, I did not have to think long to come up with the most deserving person you will ever find. The most deserving person is Nettie. This wonderful, most caring person in the world, is my aunt and she has sacrificed so much for two wonderful children that I believe in my heart she truly deserves this special gift.
Let me tell you a little about her and why….
At the age of 15, my aunt gave birth to her first son, Jason. Despite the odds of being a teenage parent, she took wonderful care of her son and made the best home for him that she could. She was married to his father at a young age, and unfortunately lost her husband, father of her child, to Hodgkin’s disease when her son was only two years of age. Despite the heartache of losing her husband and father of her child, she carried on and continued to work to provide her son with everything she could.
She later met my uncle, William, and had 2 additional children, Nicole and William. Nettie had young children at home, but wanted to complete her education so she went back to school and received a GED. Throughout her life she would often hold two jobs, while trying to provide a home for her children. Through conversation, I have learned that she would often work long hours to provide for her family and at times would have such little left over after paying for a babysitter, gas, and insurance needed to work.
My uncle and aunt have worked hard in their lives to provide for their family, often with little for themselves. Neither had medical insurance during several periods of their life because they could not afford the cost of such and be able to pay their bills and put food on the table. Despite all of this, my aunt has always had the most positive view of life and cherishes her children dearly. She is always an inspiration to me and believes everything will work out for the best.
Five years ago, my cousin gave birth to her daughter Jordin. My aunt was a doting grandmother and tried her best to help support her daughter in caring for a child as a single parent. My cousin stayed with my aunt and uncle for a few weeks and eventually rented a house next to my aunt. During this time, my cousin relied heavily on my aunt for financial and emotional support. My aunt often took care of the little girl as she saw that her needs were not being met. Throughout the first two and a half years of Jordin’s life my cousin did less and less to provide for her child and eventually left the home and her child in the care of her mother.
My aunt continued to provide for Jordin and sacrificed so much to give her the love and home she deserved. My cousin had little contact with her daughter and eventually my aunt was providing everything for this little girl. In fact, she was acting as a parent when my cousin was not. She did not have much, but provided everything she did.
A little over a year ago, my aunt found out that my cousin was pregnant again and had already contacted an adoption agency only weeks prior to delivery. My aunt could not imagine having this grandchild adopted out and not having the opportunity to develop a relationship with the infant. She also thought that Jordin should have the opportunity to be raised along with her sibling. My uncle and aunt finally decided that they would take the child and raise it along with Jordin. My cousin readily handed over the child from the hospital never looking back.
Over the last year, my aunt has continued to sacrifice in order to provide for these two little girls. She gave up her job because she could not afford to pay for a babysitter in order to be able to work. She tried working for first couple of months after Aliah was born, but eventually realized she was bringing home less than she was paying for childcare. Again despite all hurdles, she continued to be the best role model for these children and provided them the love and everything she had.
Jordin recently celebrated her 5th birthday and Aliah her 1st. My cousin did not bother to come to either celebration. Out of the blue a month ago, my cousin came to her parents and informed them that she was married, pregnant, and wanted her girls back. My aunt and uncle were devastated. Jordin had resided with my aunt and uncle since the age of 2 ½, and Aliah from the first day home from the hospital. My cousin went to the police, after my aunt and uncle refused to just hand the girls over after she had had little to no contact for years. Thankfully, the police agreed that it was not in the best interest of the children and they would remain in the home for the time being.
I would like to give my aunt the most memorable gift of your photography services in the likelihood that her grandchildren will eventually be given back to their mother. I believe the memories of the holiday pictures would mean the world to her, especially if she does not have the girls physically in her presence. The pictures would remind my aunt of these precious children and also remind her that she provided the best world possible to two little girls in the time they needed it the most.
Please help me be able to give Nettie this gift. Thank you for this consideration.
Thank you so much Toni for your nomination and your Aunt's story. I will be in contact with her (and you) once the holiday fever calms down, but I thought you would like to share your gift to Nettie on Christmas Day.
Congratulations Nettie, I can't wait to meet you and your kiddos!!!!