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Adoption: Lessons in Giving from Children

By Ruth Leigh | 11 December 2020 | Comments (1)

Two women: both Christian writers, both married to clergy, both mothers of four children. And both adoptive parents.

As Christmas approaches, they shared some of the ways they’re looking forward to living out generosity at home and in their communities, as well as the truths about giving that they’ve learnt since adopting.

Maressa lives in Gloucestershire with her husband Richard and their four children, aged between seven and twelve. They’re siblings, adopted seven years ago.

“Because of their birth family background, for our kids, Christmas comes with a whole stack of anxiety and uncertainty. Accepting the blessing of gifts given with love is something we’ve had to teach them about at Christmas. Due to past traumas, they’ll also hold on to possessions which they’ve long outgrown.”

“We take a lot of stuff to the charity shop and I’ve taught them that giving things away blesses other people. It does make them very happy knowing that another child will enjoy their old things. We’re constantly amazed, though, by their natural generosity, especially at Christmas. They love making biscuits or Hama bead creations for people, to cheer them up or make them smile.”

Maressa is Dutch and has brought her country’s traditions into the family’s festive celebrations. “We celebrate St Nicholas rather than Father Christmas. He comes to the house on the evening of 5th December and gives us his presents. The children know that he lived a long time ago and was a very generous person who loved to share. For us, Christmas Day is more about Jesus and spending time with family, along with anyone at church who is alone at Christmas.”

The children have taught their parents a lot too. “They’re so quick to come up with a solution to sadness or a crisis. They’ll make a card or offer some cake to anyone who they think needs a bit of love. If we had a whole Christmas cake, they wouldn’t ask for seconds, but say, “Why don’t we give some of those slices to the neighbours?” I love the speed with which they come up with their generous suggestions. Having them has taught me so much about God’s abundant love for us.”

In York, Lucy Rycroft and her vicar husband Al live with their four children, aged between eleven and six. They too have learned from their children’s natural generosity and modelled giving to them in turn.

“Every family has its own generosity ethos and with us, it’s largely about hospitality. We both grew up in very hospitable homes. Al’s parents are legendary in Liverpool Christian circles. My mother-in-law will give the very best – with her, you get nibbles, champagne, a three-course meal and chocolates. Christmas at hers is amazing! My parents are thrifty, probably due to having been missionaries who had to manage on a tight budget, but their home is always open to anyone who needs it. They host the people who nobody else wants.”

Both Lucy and Al went into marriage with the belief that their home is there to bless others, at Christmas and all year round. “Our children see the way we share our home, faith, food, memories and toys. When they were tiny, I resolved that I’d have people over for Sunday lunch as much as possible. Al was preaching three times on a Sunday and it was becoming too easy not to offer hospitality. By the time we moved to this church six years ago, we’d formed a generous habit.”

This Christmas, each child’s class is making a hamper in conjunction with a Christian organisation in York. “They’re making ‘reverse Advent Calendars’, where you give rather than receive an item, and have each chosen what they want to donate. It’s tempting to micromanage, but I want them to have ownership of it, so I leave the main decisions on Christmas giving to them.”

Like Maressa, Lucy sees the beauty in her children’s attitude to giving. “I’ve realised that children are more open than adults, not weighed down with responsibilities as we are. They can afford to be very generous with their time and emotions. We so often come up with reasons why we can’t afford to give.”

“Children are exuberant. They have such big hearts, unpolluted by the world and cynicism. At Christmas in particular, I see them working that out with their school friends, family and the wider community and it fills me with joy.”


You can read Maressa’s writing here: and Lucy’s here:


Pressing Re-Set This Christmas

7 Different Ways to be Generous this Christmas

Posted by Ruth Leigh

Ruth is a freelance writer and speaker, based in beautiful Suffolk. She is married with three children and a variety of other livestock. She has two novels in the editing stage, writes for a number of Christian charities and writes blogs for small Suffolk businesses. She is a recovering over-achiever who is now able to do the school run in her onesie most days. She contributes to the Association of Christian Writers’ blog, More Than Writers, and also blogs at Big Words and Made Up Stories, covering topics as diverse as King Zog of Albania, a Christingle plagued by punch-ups and tummy upsets, and the inevitable decline of elderly parents. She has abnormally narrow sinuses and a morbid fear of raw tomatoes, but has decided not to let this get in the way of a meaningful life.


gabriel smith jr.

January 15, 2021 2:39 AM
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