Updated: Aug 17
By Kimberly Kellems House
One of our main goals as parents is for our kids to always know that we love them. But do they know that other people love them, too – beyond relatives? That there are other Mamas in the world who would go to the ends of the earth for them? Mamas who would gladly embrace them and give them a hug when they are sad? Mamas who would cheer them on like they were their own child? Mamas who would fight for them and who DO fight for them in so many arenas? Do our children know that these other Mamas exist? Sadly, I am not sure many of our LGBTQIA+ kiddos do.
I can only imagine that this was part of the thought process that one Mama Dragon had, when she dreamed of a way she could reach out to the LGBTQIA+ kiddos of other Mamas. She yearned to let them know she loved them, had confidence in them, and dreamed of a wonderful future for them as she cheered for them from far away. How could she let these other kids know how she felt and give them the boost that she knew many desperately needed? How could she express to them what she knew so many other Mamas were feeling, too? This is where Paper Hugs was born – the dream of one Mama to show love for other Mamas’ LGBTQIA+ youth through cards and notes sent through the mail.
When I first heard about Paper Hugs I was a new Mama Dragon who was struggling to let my own LGBTQIA+ kiddo know that they were loved by so many more people than just me. I knew these people existed but I was having a really hard time finding them. When I heard about another Mama Dragon sending cards to LGBTQIA+ kids I knew I had to try and have one of her cards sent to my own child. I sent the Mama a message and asked that my son be added to the list of recipients. When that first card arrived in our mailbox, I was anxious and wondered how my own kiddo would react to getting a card from a complete stranger. As my son opened the envelope and began reading the card, tears began running down his cheeks – all while a smile covered his face like I had not seen for months. My Mama heart was SO grateful for the love this other Mama Dragon shared with my child, whom she didn’t even know. Through one card, one Mama – who I had never met before – touched my heart and the heart of my child, forever. She showed my son that there are others who love him, others who cheer for him, others who would embrace him when he needs a hug, and others who would fight for him.
In the Fall of 2019, one Mama Dragon came up with the idea that would change how so many LGBTQIA+ youth looked at their mailboxes forever. Mailboxes were now a place where Paper Hugs arrived almost magically from Mama Dragons who they had never met but who they knew loved and supported them.
A group of dragons is known as a “Thunder” because of the thunderous sound their wings make together. The Mama Dragons group that now sends Paper Hugs has grown from one individual to a thunder of more than 70 Mama Dragons, spreading love to over 180 LGBTQIA+ kiddos each month! Our numbers grow daily as more of our kiddos need a little extra love and more Mamas find a way to show that love they have to share. I know that each Paper Hug sent out immediately touches the hearts of at least three people: the person receiving the Paper Hug, the mother of the recipient and the Mama Dragon who sent the Paper Hug. This love spreads quickly, touching so many more people as it spreads!! If you are a Mama Dragon and would like more information on joining the Paper Hugs Group or adding your child to the list of recipients, please reach out to us on Facebook in the Paper Hugs Information Group or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Without a thunder of Mama Dragons, we would never be able to touch so many lives and spread so much love!
*Paper Hug Sub-Group Information:
Paper Hugs is a sub-group of the Mama Dragon’s Group. Only vetted members of the main Mama Dragons Group are allowed to join the Paper Hugs Information Group and its subgroup which helps to secure that our kiddos’ information is not public. If people outside the Mama Dragons Group are interested in making and writing cards to send as part of the Paper Hugs Program, they are invited to contact the administrators of the Paper Hugs group at email@example.com. Arrangements will be made for cards to be mailed to a Mama Dragon to be addressed and distributed. Our address list will not be given to those outside of the vetted group. We love to collaborate with groups who would like to send love via Paper Hugs!
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