Nothing warms the heart nor has as significant an impact than a child's laughter and smiling face.
Children truly are special blessings that make us all harken back to our youth and that special time of innocence when all was right with the world.
Many youngsters in the Mountain State - and in the entire nation - do not have the stability and love that only a family can offer.
More than 4,000 children are in West Virginia's foster care system, with more than 1,000 eligible for adoption.
As part of National Adoption Month, a traveling display, "Heart Gallery of West Virginia - Portraits of Hope," stopped in Elkins Monday to promote the need for good, stable homes for these all-too-special gifts.
The display featured portraits of West Virginia foster children eligible for adoption, many of which have been featured in the Sunday's Child column in The Inter-Mountain.
Rachel Kinder of frameworks, a nonprofit organization, said there are many ways people can help to improve the lives of foster children.
Her group helps to recruit people to be foster parents or to adopt children. The organization also assists prospective families get through the steps of being certified and in ultimately getting children placed in the home.
In addition, through framework's Carry-On Campaign, community members can donate new or gently used luggage for children to utilize when moving to a foster home.
The program's goal is to "eliminate garbage bags as luggage for youth in foster care," according to the frameworks newsletter.
Adults also can donate personal items, such as toothbrushes, stuffed animals, blankets, books and crayons through the program. Care packages for the children also are welcome.
Donations can be dropped off at The Inter-Mountain offices at 520 Railroad Ave. in Elkins. For more information about the Carry-On Campaign, call 304-562-0723.
Carol Phipps, of frameworks, put it best Monday by stressing that all the kids featured in the exhibit need normalcy, a routine and people to love them; in other words, a home.
In this season of giving thanks and counting blessings, it only is proper to think of those less fortunate, especially children who need a loving and caring home. The holidays are a time to be with family and create memories that will last a lifetime, a sentiment any foster or adoptive child yearns for above all else.