For the first time, Joe and Dianna Moorman will have the sounds of three foster children opening gifts on Christmas morning in their home.
“I am just looking forward to seeing the look on their faces when opening their gifts,” Dianna Moorman, director of elections for James City County, said. “It’ll be amazing to see their faces when they know that santa came and there are people that love them.”
The Moormans first became foster parents to three children under the age of 12 in May. Their decision to foster children came after learning they were unable to have children. They struggled to find children from the community to adopt.
As first time foster parents, Joe Moorman said there were a lot of things to be nervous about, but they knew they wanted to get Christmas right for the children. When having foster children of varying ages but from the same family, the Moormans wanted to respect the children’s previous traditions but also share a few of their own.
One of the newest traditions they’ve started is using the popular Elf on the Shelf to provide a bit of Christmas mischief every morning for children. While it seems like something small, Joe Moorman said it gets the children even more excited to wake up every morning and see what shenanigans the elf has gotten into during the night.
“We know that they have had their own Christmases in the past but we want to give them something special, too,” he said. “But just seeing how excited they get is something that we hadn’t had before when it was just the two of us. It brings something new to the holidays.”
Joe Moorman said having the three children have also helped him and his wife to venture into new experiences they wouldn’t have previously thought of, such as going to a holiday accordion concert or stargazing in York County.
But the Moormans know the holiday season wouldn’t be complete without gifts under the tree, Dianna Moorman said the foster children have been so excited for the holiday that they’ve loaded their Christmas lists with a variety of different items. Just like with any parent, the Moormans have to navigate the gift-giving waters with caution.
“What’s difficult is knowing that we want to give everything they want but also limiting their expectations because there are certain items, like cellphones, we just aren’t comfortable with,” she said.
But the gifts at the Moorman house aren’t just what the children ask for—Dianna and Joe Moorman tried to make sure that each child has something that will make them feel special.
“When we were shopping, we wanted to find things that fit into each of their personalities,” Dianna Moorman said. “Individuality is something that can be hard to maintain as a foster child so we wanted to give them something that resonated with their identity and would have lasting meaning.”
“When they look at some of these gifts years from now, we don’t want them to just be more things they own,” Joe Moorman said. “We wanted them to have something with meaning.”
The Moormans are looking forward to bringing Christmas magic to their three new family members and they said they know it will be something they’ll remember for a long time.
“We’re taking bets on who is going to wake us up first because Santa came,” Dianna Moorman said. “We used to be able to sleep in on Christmas morning but now we’re just as excited as the kids to wake up early and see them open presents.”