Jõulusoovide puu

The Christmas wish tree is made up of the dreams and wishes of children in shelters and substitute homes, sent to Santa Clause. To make sure that these do not just remain dreams, pick a gift from the Christmas tree and make a donation to the best of your ability.


Christmas wish tree: there is no reason to be ashamed about asking for help and advice

There are plenty of wishes on the Christmas tree stating that the person making the request is Urve, Andres, Tiiu or Jaak who “will soon start their independent life”. However, today, let’s talk less about the presents and more about starting life on your own. We are taking a look at the feelings and expectations with which we dive into the tide of adult life because when it comes to having these feelings and hopes, the young people of substitute homes are by no means different from all the rest.

When looking at the wishes of the Christmas Tree, several people have asked why are we making gifts to those who are no longer children – after all, someone over 20 is an adult who should be able to handle their life on their own and they surely don’t believe in Santa any more. People tend to forget the simple fact that everyone, young and old, wish for a Christmas present because the feeling of being cared about and not being alone is more important than the thing itself. Most of the people who have had no contact with safe houses and substitute homes do not know that in Estonia, young people of up to 26 years of age can stay in substitute care if they have no parents and they are still in school, because they lack the support network that helps them manage.

But now, a bit of the Christmas wishes. When taking a look at them it is clear that the Christmas wishes of young people in safe houses and substitute homes are often related to some of the practical aspects of living alone. For example, cooking. The first things that people usually buy for their home are tableware or pots and pans. It also reflects in the Christmas wishes. For example, a soon-to-be-grown-up young lady does not wish to lose the impulse received from a healthy eating course she attended at the substitute home and wants a blender for Christmas so that she can continue making fresh smoothies from fruit.

Some people step into independent life confidently and fearlessly. Others may have doubts or fears. One of the most common feelings that cause unease is related to finding a professional job and managing economically. The other fear is loneliness. Since there is always a supporting family in the substitute home, being alone is a new and rather scary thought for many of them.

But rather than keeping on describing an abstract and statistically average young substitute home adult, we asked some questions about independent life from a specific young man – Ulvar. Let’s see what he thinks.

Ulvar, what does leaving the substitute home and starting an independent life mean to you?
Since I have been mostly independent in the substitute home for a while now, it does not mean just independence for me. It is rather taking reasonable responsibility for one’s own life and the way one handles it. From now on, it’s all up to me.

How ready do you think you are for that?
I think I am ready and I can handle it, but certainly not as well as I would want to. I am afraid that finding a job in my field may be complicated and thus it might be financially difficult.

What are your future plans?
Ever since I went to the university, I have become more ambitious every year and thought about the possibility of creating passive income for myself. However, until I don’t have that, I plan to find a steady job in IT and start working in the direction of financial freedom.

What is the knowledge or lessons you will take with you when you leave the substitute home?
Definitely that there is no reason to be ashamed of asking for help and advice. Of course you have to rely on yourself the most and not to expect life to become easy on its own if you don’t do anything yourself.

What are you looking forward to the most?
I don’t know. Maybe having more peace and quiet without all the people around all the time.

What are you afraid of the most?
The worst fear is not to achieve financial stability so that I could concentrate on other things in life. Money in general is not important to me but since we are living in a society where you cannot manage without it, I have no choice.

Who and what will you miss the most?
I will probably miss the chance of speaking to someone face to face at any time. I will live alone at first when I will move away. Of course I will also miss the teachers who have supported me the most and some people living in this home whom I have become friends with.

How do you look back at your life in the substitute home and what kind of suggestions or knowledge would you give to the young children in this home?
Ending up in a substitute home has been very good for me. Without it I definitely wouldn’t be where I am now. The main suggestion I would give to the younger ones would be not to think that the substitute home restricts them somehow. All this guiding and pushing is only to ensure that you would manage better in the future.

How do you plan to celebrate Christmas from now on?
Since I’m not a celebrating type, nothing will change much. I’ll try to visit my brothers and sisters and other people I care about.


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