It's after midnight here, and I can't sleep because there is a problem that is really eating away at my heart lately and has me angry and sad all at the same time. A few months ago one of my mother's friends had gotten temporary custody of her two nieces because the child protective services had removed them from their parents' care. My mother's friend has a houseful of children of her own, and she found herself a little overwhelmed with all the kids, but if she didn't keep them then her nieces would have to go into foster care. My mother's friend asked if my mom would watch one of the girls over the weekend, and of course, my mother agreed. She stayed with her that weekend and on a couple of more occasions, and all of our hearts opened up to the girl because of everything she had been through in her short 4 years. For reasons I don't know or understand, the girl and her older sister were taken out of her aunt's home, and now they are living in a shelter until a foster home can be found. The social worker told my mother that the 4-year-old cries every day and all night. It really breaks my heart. My mother is now getting her emergency foster care license so that she can take the girls, but it could take up to four weeks. I'm praying that somehow the system moves a little more quickly and my mother can get them sooner, and they won't have to stay in the shelter any longer. I wasn't aware that shelters for foster children even existed, and once I heard this, I called my sister Cayla, who is a case manager for Grace Manor, an adoption agency in East Texas.
My sister told me that it is common for children to be placed in shelters until a foster home can be found. Children awaiting a foster home can go into the shelters with just a few personal items and they might not even have a suitcase or backpack to hold their belongings--there have been children who have showed up carrying their things in garbage bags. Some cities have shelters that are specifically set up for displaced children, but there are some places where the children could be in a shelter that can be occupied by anyone in need--homeless families, abused women, etc. They can be left in the shelter for up to 30 days (depending on the state), after which, they will be moved into a temporary home until a permanent foster home can be found. For about the next year their lives are in a state of limbo until the court decides to let them go back to their parents or put up for adoption. But as you know, it could take years to get adopted, especially for the older children. I decided that I really wanted to do something for these kids.
I asked my sister if I could donate quilts and other items to Grace Manor, and she said that the donations would be welcomed, and she and the other case managers could distribute them for me. She said she would make sure the right gift got to the right child. I would like to make a quilt, and a this duffel bag by 627 Handworks for one of the kids. And I would like to extend this offer to anyone who reads this. I don't know if this is overstepping any boundaries, but I also know quilters have lots of love to give and lots of fabric they need to use up. I know that making a quilt can't take away the pain of everything these children are going through, but it could bring them a little happiness or comfort.
If you think you would like to possibly make a bag, a quilt, or even a single block, please leave a comment or send me an email at email@example.com
Other charity quilt organizations to get involved in: Margaret's Hope Chest, Project Linus, do. Good Stitches, and Siblings Together. All of these are great organizations, and a handmade gift would be appreciated anywhere you decided to give.