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The Bridge Between Foster Parent and Child

Our mission statement, 'Seeking to make each displaced child's life a little brighter', barely scratches the surface of the profound impact Bags of Love has had in the lives of children. Not only the children, but we are beginning to see the far-reaching effects this project has had on everyone involved. Volunteers finding their passions, and seeing those passions benefit a great cause. Social workers witnessing heartfelt gratitude from Bag recipients and their new families. The story we have today is one that truly shows what Bags of Love is capable of, and the gift it can be to foster parents themselves. This one testimony sums up our mission, and should be a huge inspiration to absolutely everyone involved with Bags of Love.

'Hi there. My name is W.B. I am a "foster parent". I ... asked to have the opportunity to share why the Bags of Love program is so valuable in the foster world today.

The children who come to us are never prepared for entering foster care. A child or children brought into care are forced to leave their homes, their world, their only known families and brought to some stranger's home by strangers they will likely meet only once or on occasion. Please imaging how you, your son or daughter, niece or nephew, or grandchild would feel being in that circumstance.

When I got a phone call to tell me a baby, a toddler, a girl or boy are needing someplace to stay, I am that stranger's home they will come to. Please imagine if you will, being sent to someone you've never met, a home or town you've never been to, with nothing but the clothes on your back and a quickly stuffed black garbage bag someone threw together. You are scared, frightened, sad, angry, sleepy, angry, scared... and the cycle goes on.

But when a Bag of Love is waiting for the child, or is brought with the child, it is a bridge that is used to give both the foster parent and the child something they can share at the START of the relationship. It gives the child or children hope in a very turned upside down world they are thrown into. It gives the foster parent something to help the child to see that they are wanted and welcomed to our home with something that is ONLY theirs.

As an example, I recently had two young children brought to my home from the Camrose Family Services. It was late at night, and I was not completely prepared for their arrival. Two Bags of Love came with them, and inside were things that helped both the bewildered children and me. Teddy bears, diapers, sleepers, books, toothbrushes, toothpaste, toys, bottles, and other items that helped us get through the first night. Inside each bag was a quilt that each child instantly bonded to. One was a Winnie the Pooh, and one was a Noah's Ark handmade quilt.

I close my eyes and I see the 2 year old little girl who hadn't made a sound or move since she arrived suddenly sit up, and grasp the Winnie quilt. She took it and rubbed the nose of the bear on it, and said, "POOH!" I took both her and the blanket and we sat and rubbed Pooh's nose until she fell asleep. Her baby sister fell asleep with the giraffe on the quilt watching over her.

I will never meet the lady or ladies who took the time, effort and love to make these quilts, but I know I thanked them silently every time the little ones had nightmares, night terrors, or any kind of fears, and the peace they brought to these children.

I hope this program will be a resounding success here in our area. These Bags do not come with the names of the individuals who make them, but to the children and those who have used them, we call you "angels".

From a foster parent, "Thank you!"

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