Sewing up Foster Love

foster-care-kids-need-love-too

NOTE:  Some readers have requested advance warning of an upcoming Nursery Closet Sale, so here it is.  Coming soon, probably Monday morning,  Nursery Closet Sale #8 which includes a linen shadow work burp cloth, pique hand embroidered sunsuit, pink bubble smocked with Scotties, sweet flannel wide brimmed bonnet, and more.~~~

Recently, a reader of this blog sent a heartwarming e-mail which is posted below.  It details the thoughtful efforts of Jennifer, a foster mother, and her husband who have opened their home to foster children.  This couple goes far beyond providing food, clothing and shelter and Jennifer’s sewing contributes mightily to the children’s loving care.

“A hundred years from now it will not matter what my bank account was, the sort of house I lived in, or the kind of car I drove . .  But the world may be different because I was important in the life of a child.” -Forest E. Witcraft

Charity sewing is not a new topic and many of you readers are actively involved in a multitude of worthy, meaningful causes.  But Jennifer takes an entirely different approach than I have ever read or heard about.  She stitches love into garments and goes even further to make permanent photo memories for the children in her temporary care.  Her expression of love for foster children has been a powerful inspiration to me.

“And anyone who welcomes a little child like this on my behalf is welcoming me.” ~ Matthew 18:5

Searching for a quote that would shed light on the foster care program, I found far more than I expected, more articles, more pleas, more photos and more breath and depth in each.  The articulate words of this foster mother shows her sense of humor and yet it touched my heart.

“I like the response to “Why do you foster?” to be “I guess my heart is just bigger than my brain.”  Mom to 5, E-16, C-14, D-12, G-10, A- 7~~foster mom to S-3~~
former foster mom to 4

Some gratifying words found on-line are from foster children themselves.

“Being in foster care for me has been the best thing ever.  You see, for those of you who have parents that are drug heads, alcoholics, abusive, or run out on or even neglect you, being in foster care is good.  You see, you don’t have to go through that anymore.  You are in a safe environment.  You have people that care about you, love you, accept you, clothe you, and are there for you.”  MeMe, 17.

That is exactly what Jennifer and other foster parents do for children in need.  Thank you, Jennifer, for sharing your story and lifting my awareness.  May God bless you, all foster parents and all foster children.

 

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Here are Jennifer’s words:

Hi, please don’t think I am a crazy stalker!  I follow your blog, and I have been so very inspired by your beautiful work!

I have five children, and I sew a lot for the girls, but I just recently started trying my hand at heirloom quality projects.  I bought some embroidery designs from you earlier this year, and used them on their Easter clothes.

My husband and I are foster/adoptive parents, and we know that foster children often have big chunks of “lost” childhood.  What I mean is that there are times when a child is in foster care that usually aren’t well-documented with pictures, memories, and such.  As they get older, they wonder if anybody really cared about them, if they were loved.

I’ve started sewing an heirloom outfit for each child my husband and I (and our friends) foster.  A wonderfully talented lady takes professional photographs of them in the clothes, and both the clothes and pictures go with the child when they move on.  Hopefully the pictures will survive until the child reaches adulthood, even if the outfits do not.  It is the only lasting  way we can think of to express how much a child was loved while they were with us, because we know that we will never have contact with them again.

I’ve enclosed a picture of the latest little dress I made. Don’t look at it too closely J  It was worn by beautiful Baby B.  

I just wanted to take a few seconds to express appreciation for all you share with us, and to let you know what an inspiration you are!

Jennifer

foster fhs dress

Jennifer’s beautiful heirloom dress for one of her foster babies

“Don’t take away my memories; they make me who I am,” anonymous foster child    Jennifer is banking  memories for her foster children.  Her letter is just one more reason I love writing this blog.

“There is an instinct in a woman to love most her own child – and an instinct to make any child who needs her love, her own.” ~Robert Brault

There are so many ways to help the fostering community.

There are so many ways to help the fostering community.

FOREVER IN MY HEART

Although I’m not their mother
I care for them each day,
I cuddle, sing and read to them
And watch them as they play.

I see each new accomplishment,
I help them grow and learn.
I understand their language,
I listen with concern.

They come to me for comfort,
And I kiss away their tears.
They proudly show their work to me,
I give the loudest cheers!

No, I ‘m not their mother,
But my role is just as strong.
I nurture them and keep them safe,
Though maybe not for long.

I know someday the time will come,
When we will have to part.
But I know each child I cared for,
Is forever in my heart!

~~~ Author Unknown~~~

Food for thought…more quotes from foster children, taken from Reflecting on the Simple things in Life at Blogspot.

“We are normal kids in abnormal circumstances.” Former foster youth, Maine
“They were like, ‘You’re 16. You’re going to go off to college in a couple of years, why do you want a family?’ It’s about my entire life, it’s not just about my childhood. I want to know that I’m going to have a place to come home to during Christmas breaks. I want to know that I’m going to have a dad to walk me down the aisle. That I’m going to have grandparent for my children.”  MARY, Former foster youth, Tennessee

“I don’t think they (people) understand how it feels not being able to say mom and dad. … (G)oing through foster care, you don’t get to say that, you know, that often. And if you do trust somebody enough to say that, who knows how long they’ll stick around.”
Former foster youth, Iowa

“I felt like, you know, parents were torn away from us but it was even more hurtful for me to be torn away from my brothers and sisters. It wasn’t my fault or their fault. It was out of our control. And we shouldn’t have had to be separated like that.”
Former foster youth, California

“I wish I had someone with me, you know, like a mentor, for my entire life. I mean, I’m fine with all the changes in my social worker but … I never really met someone in the system or someone, (a) mentor, that was with me my entire life.”
Former foster youth, California

“When you have a family, you have everything. You are lucky to have parents and you should always remember that. When I won the Youth Spirit Award, it was exciting. And I have won many awards and things at school, too. But every time I walked up to receive my award, there was no family there to see me get it. Other kids had a mom or a dad to watch them get their award. It should have been a happy occasion. But for me … I wish I had a family there for me.” ANNA MARIA, former foster youth, Connecticut

 

 

10 responses to “Sewing up Foster Love

  1. posted on Martha Pullen’s forum:
    Oh, Janice. Thanks for sharing that — it is just beautiful and I got a bit teary reading it. Jennifer is doing a wonderful thing and she surely is earning the stars for her crown!
    Barbara

  2. posted on Martha Pullen’s forum: How wonderful to take that extra time to make a child know how much they are
    loved. MoDo

  3. posted on Martha Pullen’s forum: Wow!! Thank you for sharing that; I have tears in my eyes as I write. I’m not a foster parent, but I know some, so it seems to me I could help out in some way. After all, I sew and they don’t…

  4. posted on Martha Pullen’s forum:
    My cousin is a foster mom – she has had this little boy since he was 2 months old and he is now about 9 months – she is hoping to adopt him. I think that she has adopted foster children before this baby. Shirley

  5. Gayle from Sewforum wrote: WOW! what a touching story; thanks for sharing with us!

  6. What a loving post, Janice. Thank you for sharing so many of the former foster children’s comments. Blessings, Karen

  7. What a great way for the children to always carry your love with them. The baby dress is beautiful!

  8. Karen, those comments really made me think about foster care and appreciate all the love and effort foster parents put into saving these children.

  9. Fabulous post! We have a foster grandson that my son and daughter-in-law are adopting. It should be done in just a few weeks. They got him when he was 4 and he’s now 6, almost 7. We have all tried to make many happy memories for him to replace the bad ones.

  10. Thank you, Shirley. That is wonderful news about your new grandson–every child deserves a loving home and I’m happy for him that he has found his. I wish him and the rest of your family a lifetime of happiness.

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