25 September 2013

a gift

Yesterday when I walked into the foster care closet, there were three bags of donations right inside the door.  This is always somewhat of a thrill for me to discover.  One bag had some used items that were not even a little bit useful but the other two bags were full of useful clothing - for toddlers and infants and for the biggest of boys (36/34 pants!).

{I made a video tour of the closet yesterday but I have no idea how to rotate it, so once I figure that out, I'll add it here.  Its dorky, but thought y'all might like a peek inside!}

After sorting through all of those donations, I began unloading what I had brought in as well.  While I was working a caseworker that I have seen frequently popped her head in to say thank you.  She asked where I get all the stuff that I bring in - which gave me a chance to brag on the generosity of you amazing people!  She mentioned again just how much she appreciates the work that has been done in there.

I decided to ask her a question, "If there's something you need, or something we've overlooked that you would like added to the closet, what would it be?"

And y'all.  She gave me such a great gift with her response.  I can't quote it word for word, but I want to give you an idea of what she had to say.
Well, we need more clothes for older girls.  Like pre-teen/teen.  When a child comes in, I like to bring them right in here.  The bags are so great (shout out to those of you that bought & donated 31 bags!!), I let them pick which one they want.  I then show them the toiletry shelves and let them put anything in there that they want.  I like them to have some things of their own to take with them.  If they are wearing shoes, I still let them take a pair if there is a pair that fits them.  If there are enough clothes, I like to let them pick out an outfit to wear.

Not that the baby things are bad, we just don't get that many babies, but when we do we usually are able to give them a couple outfits which is really helpful.   Also, if there are some toys or things to give them.  Its hard to imagine, but they might go to a home where someone will say, "you can't touch that, its not yours!"  So I like them to have at least one toy that belongs to them that they can take in the bag, you know, for like toddler age and up.  Just so they have one thing that goes with them.
In all honesty, at first I felt like I had messed it all up.  I'm not sure if this is going to read correctly or not, but for a moment, I was close to just shutting down and dismissing what she said because I had made a mistake.  All along I had been requesting fewer clothes for older kiddos, and more for the younger kiddos.  Add to that, over the summer I moved ALL of the toys/trinkets out of the closet to make room for all of the toiletries the church had collected during VBS.  I was under the impression that they were not used.  As I process what she had said,  I momentarily turned it all inward and started thinking about how I screwed it up.  But God.  Always, intervening, He prompted me to ask more questions. I asked her if she knew where I had moved the toys, and thankfully, she clarified...
Oh yes, I know where they are.  And I take the kids down there to pick them out.  But they are almost gone now, so more of those type items would be great.
Her reply about the toys helped me get back on track, she thanked me again for the work in the closet; and I got back to work. As I put things on hangers, I thought about what a gift it was to hear how this particular worker uses the closet.  I hadn't really imagined a child coming in there before and it shifted my thinking considerably.  After hanging up all the new donations, I went through and tallied all the sizes up.  (Brad has made me a high-speed spreadsheet to help me track what we have in the closet.  I'll add a column for bags and shoes too, so I can start tracking that better too.) The school-age-and-up girls' rack was pitiful. {IS pitiful!}  So that is this week's immediate need.

For comparison's sake, here is a picture of the boys' racks and the girls' rack (same sizes).

Below you'll find an updated needs list.   Let me know if you would like to donate some items to help fill up the closet.

***Everything MUST be new.  This is not my standard, but the one that the office has set.  I totally understand why, even though I know y'all would only give the very best used stuff.***
    • Newborn - fulfilled
    • 3-6 months - fulfilled
    • 6-9 months - fulfilled
    • 12 months - fulfilled
    • 18 months - fulfilled
    • 24 months - need 2 outfits
    • 2T - need 3 outfits
    • 3T - need 3 outfits
    • 4T -need 3 outfits
    • XS - need 3 outfits
    • S - need 3 outfits (there are two nice tops there, but no bottoms!)
    • M- need 3 outfits
    • L - need 3 outfits
    • XL - need 3 outfits (there are a few bottoms (jeans, khakis, black pants, and 2 skirts[black + hot pink with polka dots])
  • BOYS
    • Newborn - fulfilled
    • 3-6 months - fulfilled
    • 6-9 months - fulfilled
    • 12 months - fulfilled
    • 18 months -fulfilled
    • 24 months - fulfilled
    • 2T - need 1 outfit
    • 3T - need 1 outfit
    • 4T - fulfilled
    • XS - fulfilled
    • S - fulfilled
    • M- need 2 outfits (there are three tops)
    • L - need 2 outfits (there are four tops)
    • XL - fulfilled

Toddler Sizes:
  • Boys 1, Girls 1
  •               Girls 2
  •               Girls 4
  • Boys 7, Girls 7
  • Boys 8, Girls 8
  • Boys 10
  • Boys 13 

Kid-Adult Sizes:
  • Boy 1
  • Boy 2
  • Boy 4, Girl 4
  • Boy 5, Girl 5
  • Boy 6, Girl 6
  • Boy 7, Girl 7
  • Boy8, Girl 8

towels, blankets, older child toiletries & trinkets; toys for younger kiddos to call their own.

As always::
QUESTIONS?  Ask away.  Please!
IDEAS?  Share them.  Please!

{Also? If you have a genius idea for how to get this list out in a better format, let me know. I am certain there is a better way... I just need you to tell me what it is ;)}

P.S.  I'll be back later with some other ideas for giving.  I was going to include it all here, but I am Miss Wordyvonwordswords and nobody has time to read all of the words at one time.  (ask Sweet Brown).  Just a hint, one is about car seats and pack and plays - can you believe that having those things vs. not having them could be the difference in a child coming in to foster care.  Y'all we can totally do this.  Post coming soon.  I will not give myself a deadline today.


  1. Amanda, i love your heart..i cried when i read about a child going into foster care and being told not to touch things in the home amd how special it is for them to have a toy...and something of their very own. I'm on it! i have a new set of "tween" twin sheets that are going to the closet...can you send me your address? I want to buy more things for the kids...2 questions..what is the most affordable way to ship? and, what is the weather like..or going to be like? I have some girls clothes that still have tags on them that my Olivia won't wear. I love now that she won't wear them....these children need them way more than mine. from thebottom of my heart, thank you for allowing us to take part. for such is the kingdom of heaven...these precious loves!

    1. Oh Jaren! I just love your heart too! I sent you FB message about the shipping details. It will be warm here - our winter is right on track with a Michigan autumn if that makes sense. ;) Much milder. Thank you for your generosity!

  2. You are the window into a world so many of us have never thought about. It is hard for us, your friends, to imagine a child going into a home and being told "that's not yours". God knows what the closet needs and He will continue to place people in your path that will give you tidbits of information along the way. Don't be discouraged; each caseworker will have different ideas and different needs, that's what will make things so awesome! We have talked about teen clothing and the different sizes, is there a mall nearby that perhaps we could get gift cards to stores for the teen to be able to try on clothes and buy them? Teens are tricky and many people here steer clear of the teens because their stuff is more expensive and they want what every other teen wants. Just because they are in foster care doesn't change that they want to be like every other teen.
    What about journals and pretty pens for preteen and teen girls... wrapped really cute with a bow. Can we send Bibles? What about devotionals? This could be something that they could call their own. Or some cute jewelry.
    Love the place that God has called you to. Thank you for sharing with us!

    1. Your words are so true about each worker using the room differently - the worker I talked to repeatedly emphasized the words, "the way I use it..." but I couldn't figure out how to fit that into the blog post! So, it was just good to hear another perspective. I'll ask about the bibles/devotionals and I definitely think cute jewelry, journals, even nail polish + lip gloss etc, would be handy! Love your continual encouragement on this journey! Thanks for so often being a sounding board!