Foster Mom Forced Child To Eat Candy Wrappers. Year Later, She Gives Her New Mom A Special Gift

Amy Beth Gardner is a name that a lot of readers have already heard before. This mother’s heartfelt Facebook posts about raising her two little girls have touched hearts everywhere for years now. Amy Beth has a unique way of speaking that makes us feel fortunate to know her. Her lessons about motherhood resonate with us all and keep us tuned in to her journey.

She is able to write in such a passionate manner because her life as a mother is not easy. She uses her posts to express her innermost emotions and mothers appreciate the levity that she can provide. Amy and her husband have had a very difficult road. They could not conceive children of their own because of infertility and elected to become foster parents as a result.

After a few months, Amy’s dream came true when case workers arrived at her door in the middle of the night. Two little girls were in tow and they looked absolutely terrified. It took a little over a year for everything to become official. 509 days later, Amy and her husband became official parents. They were happy to have Breona and Bridgett in their home and looked forward to raising them as her own.

The family is very close. Yet the girls still struggle with the memory of their past life. Halloween recently triggered a painful memory for the children. Amy noticed that the children were freezing in fear any time the holiday was brought up and she wondered why. The girls shared a story that will absolutely break your heart.

The girls were forced to watch an adult devour the candy that they had been given for Halloween. As if this were not monstrous enough, the girls also had to eat the candy wrappers once the adults were finished. Amy knew that she would have to earn their trust and she helped them label each piece of candy individually so that they knew no one would take it.

After a few years, their fears started to subside. The youngest of the two girls decided to show her mother just how much she meant to her in the best way that she knew how. She brought her a piece of candy that came with a note that said she wanted her mother to know how much she loved her. A gift like this one is truly priceless because of its connection to the pain the child had experienced. Please share this story if it touched your heart as much as it did ours.


“My youngest daughter was five years old when she came to us via foster care.

As we approached our first Halloween together, I noticed that she and her nine year old sister froze in fear each time I mentioned the upcoming holiday. I finally asked the girls if they had ever experienced Halloween before coming to live with us and was horrified by their answer.

They took turns telling me about how they had once been given candy for Halloween only to have an adult take the candy and eat it in front of them while making them watch. When the girls began to cry, the adult handed them the brown paper wrappers that had been holding the chocolate peanut butter cups and forced them to eat the empty wrappers — a cruel way to give the girls a literal taste of what they were missing out on that Halloween evening.

With this story in mind, I knew that I needed to approach our first Halloween with them cautiously. My instincts were confirmed when I noticed that the girls were discreetly counting the pieces of candy they received as they walked from house to house in their adorable costumes.

When we got home, I pulled out two plastic bags and a black marker and explained to the girls that I wanted them to count their pieces of candy as they put it into the bags. When they finished counting, I helped them label their bags with the precise number of pieces of candy inside and, each time they would eat a piece of candy, I helped them relabel their bags.

For weeks after Halloween, despite our assurances that we would not eat their candy, the girls asked if they could recount the pieces before going to bed. I would sit and count their candy with them night after night, earning their trust one lollipop at a time.

That was fall of 2014. They are now adopted and thriving in our home but each October the story of the one Halloween that they were forced to eat empty candy wrappers resurfaces in their young minds.

Last night, as I was cleaning up our kitchen after dinner, I noticed my youngest daughter rooting around in the pantry. As I finished wiping down our countertops, she approached me with a bag of candy she had collected while at a recent Halloween event.

She had wrapped the bag in a piece of paper and it was clear she was presenting it to me as a gift. As I pulled the piece of paper off the bag, I saw these words scrawled in her sweet third grade handwriting:

“Mom, I want to give you a taste of how much love I have for you by giving you my candy.”

Let that sink in for a moment. This child, who was once forced to eat empty candy wrappers, went through her bag of Halloween candy to select pieces she thought I would enjoy and then gave them to me as a gift.

She didn’t choose her least favorite candies or only pick out one or two pieces to give. She filled a bag full of her very favorite pieces and gave them to me with so much earnest pride on her face that I could cry just typing these words.

You have gifts to offer, too. But, like my daughter and her candy, I’m almost certain that your most valuable gift is connected to deeply rooted pain in your life. You and I have the opportunity daily to make the choice to take the terrible things that have happened to us and turn them into gifts to offer to this hurting world.

My daughter’s gift of candy was priceless because of what it cost her. She chose to give despite what had been done to her. What if you and I show that same kind of courage today as we take inventory of our own pain — and allow the bitter to become sweet?”

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