This Sweet Doll Is Making A *Huge* Difference For Foster Children

All children deserve a safe, welcoming home, a comfortable bed to lie in, and a good night's sleep. For many children in the foster care system, a restful night isn't easy to come by. Being shuffled from one place to another and moving to an unfamiliar environment isn't exactly conducive for sleeping. Doll maker Lulla understands this, and teamed up with the Threads of Change organization to provide children a doll designed to relax and comfort kids during this trying time in their life. Based on the testimony of foster parents, this doll is making a huge difference for foster kids, and that's a wonderful thing.

The Lulla Doll is a soft baby doll that utilizes relaxing, real life heartbeat sounds and a Ujjayi breath technique to help lull children into a deep, natural sleep. These machine washable toys require two AA batteries to run the sounds for up to 12 hours, allowing children to get a full night's rest. Last year, Lulla donated 27 dolls to foster children through the Threads of Change Organization, which strives to offer meaningful help for children in foster care and the parents that support them. They have a "store" where foster parents can acquire toys, clothes, and baby gear free of charge.

The results of the collaboration were stunning. Soon after the program started, testimonials about the effects of these dolls started coming in. An employee at Threads of Change wrote, "We can not effectively express our gratitude of your donation of Lulla dolls. Many families have recommended the doll to others, and we often tell new families about the doll when they come to utilize our services for the first time. We all agree that you have a great product and thankful we had this opportunity to support so many kids in care with their sleep habits with your donation."

That is pretty amazing, because a study in 2010 found that one of the chief complaints of foster care is the poor quality of sleep reported by the children. At any given time, approximately 500,000 children are in the foster care system in the United States, according to Child Welfare, which means that a huge contingent of children are not getting adequate rest, making the transition from one placement to another all the more challenging. As anyone with a child will tell you, when they cannot sleep, their entire lives are affected, not just night time. These dolls are designed as sleep companions for preemies on through toddlers, an extremely vulnerable group for sleep disturbances.

The truth is in the testimonials, although they are heartbreaking. One foster mother wrote that "the child had night terrors before receiving Lulla doll. She would also wake up multiple times throughout the night looking for her pacifier. When falling asleep, she would want me to stay by her bed or hold her." A study on sleep disorders in adopted children reported that night terrors are not uncommon, and often difficult to treat.

The foster mother continued about Lulla that "the child now falls asleep on own with no tears. She sleeps through the night. I didn’t know what to expect honestly. This tool was very new to us, but we have seen much progress with the doll and are grateful for it."

Threads of Change was founded a few years ago when Angelic and Cory Horne discovered after two years of fostering that many foster parents struggled to meet the needs of the kids placed in their care. With the collaboration with Lulla, they're able to do a little bit more, and thankfully this doll is making a huge difference for foster kids. I have no doubt that the sleepy, heartbeat sounds and deep breathing from the soft toy could help your children as well.