Archives for the month of: March, 2014
Quilt up close

Quilt up close

I love being a foster mother.  I never know what a new day will bring.  We have had mostly babies and preschool aged children the past six months but now we seem to be getting older children.

I was at the After School program at the Lower Elwha Tribal Center, doing my weekly volunteer time there when I got a call on my cell phone.  It was a case worker from Tacoma saying she was desperate for a bed for a 13-year-old boy, she was searching everywhere, and could we take him even for a day or two.  I asked a few questions such as whether has he harmed younger children and does he have any major medical issues.  Receiving a negative I agreed but told her we were leaving town  for the weekend and could not keep him past noon on Friday .    It was already 4 on Monday but she said she would start driving our way and would call me when she got to town.  We live about two hours from Tacoma.

Monday our 4-H club meets at 5:30 and about an hour into the meeting she called to say she was nearby.  I told her how to find the church and I met her and the boy, who I will call Jay, in the parking lot.  I shook his hand and told him my name.  He didn’t say anything.  “He doesn’t eat much” she told me and she said she would be back on Friday morning to get him.  She helped him move a plastic tub of his belongings from her car to the back of our van.  He sat outside the room where we were meeting for a half hour until we were finished, listening to music on his iPod.    He didn’t say much when introduced to Seneca and Raven, he wasn’t sullen, he just didn’t react.

I had planned to meet with my small quilting group on Tuesday morning but I emailed the hostess to explain the situation and said I wouldn’t be able to attend.  Next morning I had an email back saying to come anyway and to bring him, he could watch TV while we quilted.  And so I did.  He was disappointed to learn that we don’t have TV so I told him to get his fill while we were there.

He said he wanted to be in school, so I called the principal of the middle school, who I know, and explained the situation.  He said that though Jay would be with us only four days, if he wanted to be in school they would enroll him.  So, I drove him to the middle school that afternoon and completed the paperwork.  People were so kind and positive in their response to him but he continued to have very little reaction.

That night he said he was not hungry when called for dinner.  We explained that he didn’t have to eat but at our house everyone gathers for dinner.  He sat at the table without eating a bite.  Next morning he went to school, I picked him up after and we had a repeat at the dinner table, he did not eat or speak.

By then, we had acquired a new little girl, 10 years old who I will call Kay.  She came with a smile on her face, loved our house, chatted with Seneca and Raven, ate everything she was offered and happily took seconds.  Totally opposite from Jay.

Thursday I picked up Jay afterschool, then Kay at her school and then went to the Elwha for Seneca.  On the way back in the car there was a breakthrough, Jay actually laughed at the girls and began visiting with them a bit.  He came to the table, ate dinner and asked for more.  Whew, he was not totally weird.

This morning, as the case worker had asked, we drove Jay to the middle school along with his tub of belongings.  He didn’t say good-bye or thank you and by then I didn’t expect that he would, but such a contrast to Kay who wished us a good day as we dropped her off.

Tonight I gave Kay a quilt that a friend had made for me to give to a foster child.  She was overwhelmed, saying that no one had ever made anything like that for her, and she gave me a hug.  I told her I hadn’t actually made it but that I would put her name on it tomorrow.

Wrapped in her new quilt

Wrapped in her new quilt

These two represent the extremes in terms of kids adjusting to foster care.  We take what we get without preset expectations.  When we get a child like Kay it is like frosting on the cake.  She will be with us a week while her regular foster mother makes a necessary trip to California.   We will probably will never know what happens to Jay, we wish him well and hope that the right family will be found for him to help him come out of his shell.  But it won’t be ours!!

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black and brights

I made this colorful quilt for our daughter to use when she got out of the hospital in early February

During the three months the that the little foster babies were with us I got very little quilting done. Since they returned to their mother a month ago, I have been so productive!! I have two fairly new quilting tools that are helping, the first is the quilting frame and the second a gadget that makes cutting blocks quick and accurate. Ted loves playing with this making things to even faster for me!!

I made several quilts for foster children.

Justus

This I made for the girl who has been with us for the past month. I like it because it is feminine but not girly. She likes it too!

foster with bubbles

Quilt for a foster child in flannel, can you find the error?

monkey foster child

Another quilt for a future foster child, I call it “Monkeys.”

Monkey close

Monkeys up close

Ted was so enthusiastic about cutting the monkey blocks that he cut twice as many as I needed. So I made two, the second will go to the new great grandson of a friend of mine.

Tanner on frame

Tanner’s graduation quilt on the quilting frame

If you know Tanner, don’t tell him, I hope it will be a surprise.

Card holder

I made several of these card holders

Card holder inside

This will hold a credit card and drivers license and off you can go!

modern

My attempt at a modern quilt

I have wanted to try a modern quilt, and I designed this one. It it small, a wall hanging, and I’ll take it with us on our upcoming vacation to work on while traveling. I am hand quilting it.

tumbler with border

This tumbler quilt will go on our bed when I get it quilted.

I do enjoy the quilting, I like the putting the colors together and like using scraps to make something useful and pretty.   It is very satisfying.   I have had many teachers along the way, mostly friends who have given me tips and answered questions.   I still have so much to learn, there is always a new challenge.

cat earings 2

Cat earrings from Seneca and Raven

Birthday

Yep, today is my birthday.  When I got up this morning (very early) I had two messages, one from a friend in Japan, another from a former foster child.  Neither was expected, a nice birthday surprise.

Ted made me an absolutely fabulous birthday apple pie.  He is very good at it.  The kids, with Dad’s help, gave me a pair of my favorite kind of earrings.  I wonder who thought cats would be a good idea?   We celebrated yesterday because the kids and I have 4-H tonight and won’t get home until their bed time. Friends joined us for dinner.

Another nice surprise was a call from my brother in Thailand.  There were cards, calls and email from my sister, daughters, grandchildren, a cousin and friends, it all makes me feel very special.

A big question around here is “How old is Mom?”  The kids are a little uncomfortable having “older” parents so we haven’t really talked about our exact ages.  They do a lot of guessing and actually are getting closer.  But if you want to figure it out:   I don’t remember Pearl Harbor but I came into the world just three months after.

mom quilting machine

One goal for this year is to learn to use this quilting machine