Jessica & Analia: The Gift of Connection

The holiday season often reminds us of family, and sometimes it’s not only a family we’re born into, but one we’ve chosen. This is the case for Big Sister Jessica and her Little Sister Analia.

“I have had important mentors over the years,” said Jessica. “People who have shaped who I am. I wanted the opportunity to be that for someone else, especially since I have no kids of my own. I wanted the opportunity to pay it forward.”

Jessica and Analia have had many fun experiences since being matched, including going fishing, going to the movies, berry picking, going to the zoo, going to the library, and even going to the Renaissance Festival. “I did not realize how much fun I would have being a Big!” said Jessica. “While I have always tried to incorporate fun activities for us to do together, we have also done simple things like grocery shopping, watching TV, or cooking dinner together. When I became a Big, I did not realize that I would have a genuine friendship with my Little Sister – we are both very honest with each other, and we talk about silly stuff and serious stuff.”

Amidst the silly and serious stuff a familial bond has formed. “Since I have very limited family, an important part of my life is the concept of chosen family,” said Jessica. “Analia has become a part of my family. I also appreciate that I can be an extension of her own family, and do things like attend an awards ceremony at her school when her mom and dad were unable to go.”

The pair share family traditions as well. “One of my greatest joys is being able to share holiday traditions with Analia that I grew up enjoying, like coloring Easter eggs, carving pumpkins, and decorating for Christmas,” said Jessica. “We have also come up with our own traditions, such as watching ‘Elf’ and eating spaghetti together! I think traditions are important, and I know they have become important to Analia because she has asked to carry them on each year.”

“Even though these traditions may be small in the grand scheme of things, they are important for us both,” said Jessica. “Analia has also gained new world experiences through our match. We have been able to enjoy a lot of firsts together, such as going to her first plays (Beauty and the Beast, and Anastasia), going on her first boat ride, and even just trying new foods,” said Jessica.

“Being matched has provided Analia with an adult outside of her family that she loves, trusts, and feels safe with. We are also able to discuss the future together, and to talk about things like going to college, and other goals for adulthood (though she’s only 11, after all!).”

Being matched has provided Jessica and Analia with a new ‘chosen family’ that is changing both of their lives for the better, forever.

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