Last weekend, Brian and I headed to West Virginia to see his side of the family and meet our niece, Girly Monkey. She is just as sweet as we thought she would be, and we’ve both mentioned repeatedly how much we’ve missed her since we’ve been home. While we there, we got to experience one of the awesome perks of being part of such a large, loving family.
About a month before, Brian’s sister told us that she, their other sister, and their mom would like to throw us a foster shower to help us get ready for foster care. We’re kind of at a disadvantage because we’re going into foster care without having had our own children so we don’t have all the things we’ll need for new kiddos. We do have a lot of daycare stuff, but that doesn’t get the job done after 5:30, you know? We’ve assumed we’d be doing this alone, and we’ve been quite frugal about what all we needed. On Saturday, about 25 of our friends and family came together to supply us with some of the necessities for emergency child care. We were completely overwhelmed.
It was so touching to see the amazing gifts everyone brought. Several of the guests, including Brian’s parents, have either done foster care, been through the classes, or have thought about it so they had unique perspectives on what we would need. Sure, the state pays for diapers, clothes, and food, but what about the time between a placement and when the first support comes? Kids arriving unexpectedly still need clothes and wipes, right? We received bottles and utensils, books and puzzles for all ages, and some of the most touching handmade gifts imaginable. You know they were awesome because I’m willing to put up these pictures of myself making weird faces….
One particularly thoughtful present took me completely by surprise, and made me tear up. Four sets of pajamas in toddler sizes like 2, 3, and 4. A lot of people don’t realize that foster kids can arrive in the middle of the night with only the clothes on their back, and will need an immediate bath and set of pajamas. I took a minute to explain to our friends why this spoke to me, and the lady who brought the pajamas shared with us that she knew from experience how appropriate this gift was. Her grandchildren arrived on her doorstep 20+ years ago with nothing but the clothes they were standing up in, and she proceeded to raise them all. She knew the value of pajamas to a child in the midst of chaos.
On top of everything else, we received a huge box of hand-me-downs from Girly Monkey (who has good taste and grows super fast!), as well as from some family friends. A variety of bottles, shoes, sleepers, and swaddling blankets are all a Godsend.
When we got home, I unpacked everything to get a feeling for what sizes of clothing in each gender we’re missing so we can make sure to have something available for any child we could have in care. Being a chronic organizer, I sorted things out and made piles to show Mama. I was completely overwhelmed by the clothes, wipes, “gear”, and gifts of money or store cards we received. To top it off, Nurse Baileys gave us a new high chair/booster seat, and Anchor Girl and Brian’s Mom went together to get us a complete set of covers for our cloth diapers. Mama sent up a basket of goodies, including a food mill that was a huge hit with the crunchy moms in the group. You can see why I was amazed and touched….
The closer we get to being done with all our paperwork and getting ready for our homestudy, the more amazing it is to see our families get excited, too. It’s so nice to know that whatever children come through our home, and however long they stay, they’ll be welcomed like blood to a huge community of family and friends that will support them forever. Children that return to their birth families will be remembered and prayed for. Children who need a permanent family will be absorbed into both sides of ours seamlessly, I hope. I was so blessed and overwhelmed by such a physical display of this last weekend. Thank you so much to everyone involved!