Today I am thankful for the amazing group of children God brought into my life 17 years ago this month. I am talking about my “Rez kids”, most of whom I met when they were students in Miss Carrie’s First Grade class at Red Cloud Indian School on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.
2001-02 was Miss Carrie’s first year of teaching and I was so blessed by her willingness to let me adopt her class from far away New Mexico where I was living. It became an adventure far beyond what I ever could have dreamed of.
What began as sending little treats and gifts evolved into exchanging notes and letters, and eventually the opportunity to spend a week in the classrooms at Red Cloud. Those visits remain some of my most treasured memories, truly among the happiest times in my life!
Miss Carrie was and is not only an outstanding teacher but has become a lifelong friend. The children loved her and still do. She did so much to foster my relationship with the students in her class, even lining then up to visit with me one by one on the phone! How I loved those calls!
Over time I became friends with some of the kids’ parents and siblings, and they have welcomed me into their homes and lives. I am honored by their kindness and trust.
This first class officially graduated in 2013. Several went on to college, some joined the military, some are working, and some have started families of their own. I am so proud of all of them! Growing up on the Rez isn’t easy, and their resilience leaves me in awe.
Through the years I’ve been able to stay in touch with many of these kids via the Internet and watch them grow into adults – first through Bebo and now via Facebook. Although God hasn’t given me blood-related grandchildren in this life, I love each and every one of my Rez kids as if they were my own. They truly are among the greatest blessings of my life! ♥️