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Commentary | VOICES / A FORUM FOR COMMUNITY ISSUES

Santa Heard the Call and Gave the Best Gift of All

December 20, 2003|Charles W. McCoy Jr. | Charles W. McCoy Jr. is managing judge of the Complex Civil Litigation Courts in Los Angeles.

Abandoned in Los Angeles at Christmas 25 years ago, two brothers, then ages 5 and 8, spent the holidays in a county foster facility. They had received nothing listed in their letters to Santa.

The boys moved in with us in October the following year. As Christmas neared they asked why Santa had forgotten them the year before and feared that he might forget again.

I wished I could take away the boys' sad memories from the prior Christmas, but I could not -- not ever. Abandonment leaves emotional scars that can last a lifetime. But, thinking about what had happened that lonely Christmas, I discovered a joyous truth hidden within the sadness.

The boys had thought Santa made toys and came around only once a year, but he had been with them every day that December, not making toys but finding them a loving new family. My wife and I were the family. Santa turned out to be a dedicated L.A. County adoption worker.

On their first Christmas with us, I wrote a poem for the boys, telling what Santa did the year they thought he passed them by. If you wonder whether Santa Claus is real, just ask our now grown and happily married boys:

Gather round my children for a story that is true.

A story about Santa Claus and the gift he gave to you.

You said that last year Santa didn't come your way,

That there was nothing 'neath the tree for you on Christmas Day.

When last year Santa saw you in that foster home, he knew what you were feeling -- so sad and all alone.

You wrote down what you wanted, made your list of toys, and oh how Santa wished that he could give you back your joy.

Santa's toys are made with love, each a work of art.

But Santa knows that none of them can mend a broken heart.

So Santa doesn't always bring just what you ask him to, he searches deep within your heart to find his gift for you.

He watches when you're dreaming, hears you when you pray.

And that's how Santa chooses what to bring on Christmas Day.

Back and forth Santa paced, then sat down in his chair.

Scratched his head, thought and thought and fiddled with his hair.

Soon he closed his big blue eyes, his cheeks all flushed and red.

In a flash, he fell asleep, as if he were in bed.

And as he slept more deeply, he began to snore.

Till the roaring of his snoring shook the workshop floor.

Suddenly he woke up with a twinkle in his eye.

"I'll give those kids a present money cannot buy."

He grabbed his coat, rushed outside and disappeared from view.

All night long he searched and searched to find his gift for you.

He'd watched you in your dreaming, heard you as you prayed, and that's how he decided what to bring on Christmas Day.

All at once he found it and stuffed it in his sack.

It was a gift that you could hug, and it would hug you back.

A present you could play with, and it would play with you.

A gift that you could love and love, and it would love you too.

A present you had asked for, but only in your dreams.

Exactly what you wanted more than any thing.

You thought that he forgot you, that Santa passed you by.

But that's because you didn't see the twinkle in his eye.

Santa gave you something that you had never had.

He gave you what you wanted most.

A loving Mom and Dad.

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