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Why I Sent My Baby Bjorn to Syria

Photograph by Facebook

Last week, my almost-4-year-old and I dropped our car off at a neighborhood auto shop for an oil change. We were walking the one block home, and it was very windy. "It's going to take us forever to get back!" she shouted into the wintry Chicago air. Of course, she dawdled a bit and I had to continually nudge her to keep walking; eventually, I picked her up and she nuzzled her head into my warm shoulder for the rest of the trip. We were home in less than three minutes.

I thought of that trip when a friend told me about a nonprofit she'd learned about on the "Today" show. Carry the Future was founded by California mom Cristal Logothetis after she saw that soul-crushing photo of Aylan Kurdi, the 3-year-old Syrian boy who drowned as his family attempted to seek refuge in Greece.

"When I saw that picture, I didn't just see a little boy facedown on the sand," Logothetis told "Today." "I saw what could have been my son."

RELATED: I'm Raising Kids Among Syrians and Want You To Know This

Carry the Future's mission is "to provide relief to refugee families while they are on their journeys to asylum." The organization specializes in hand-delivering baby carriers to fleeing families with infants and toddlers, then outfitting them and teaching them how to use them. These are parents who are carrying their children hundreds of miles as they try to escape war and find a safer, more peaceful future for their families. Their kids don't have the luxury of dawdling or of complaining about wind. These parents don't have strollers to make things easier. And baby carriers are basically foreign to them.

The thought that (baby carriers) might bring a bit of reprieve to a parent in need is helping to fill the emptiness I feel in my gut every time I hear about their pain.

Logothetis, whose little boy is 2, travels to Greece—one of the easiest and most preferred entry points into Europe and seeing thousands of new refugees every day—with donated carriers from all over the country. These carriers represent hope, giving, support. Soon, she will have one of mine; I just mailed it off, along with two more from friends.

Included in our package was a note that reads:

Stay strong! We are thinking of you and your beautiful families and sending you love from America. These carriers have been used to carry our children and we are honored that they now get to cradle yours.

(I was able to have the note translated from English to Arabic by a young classical musician whom I recently interviewed. She was able to leave Syria in 2013 and now resides in Chicago.)

So often, gut-wrenching global tragedies like Sandy Hook and 9/11 leave us feeling powerless. For me, sending my carrier gave me the tiniest ounce of relief. The thought that it might bring a bit of reprieve to a parent in need is helping to fill the emptiness I feel in my gut every time I hear about their pain. As one of Carry the Future's volunteers recently wrote on her Facebook page, along with a mother she'd just fitted with a carrier: "This is not an Afghan mom, a Syrian mom, a Greek mom or an Iraqi mom. This is a human mom."

If you want to donate your gently used carrier, send it to:

Carry the Future

121 W. Lexington Drive

Suite L 106D

Glendale, California 91203

RELATED: Syrian Boy's Dad Faces Worse Tragedy Than Photo Shows

You can also help by providing "relief packs" for children (items such as non-perishable protein snacks, Halal beef jerky, waterproof solar blankets, diapers and wipes, socks, vitamins, baby food, hand sanitizer, protein bars, emergency sleeping bags, non-battery flashlights, and more) by donating to Carry the Future.

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