Continued…

WEDNESDAY continued…

We stopped in at our local Social & Child Welfare offices on our way home.  No, they hadn’t received the email the CW said she’d be writing while we were on our way.  Yes, they could definitely give us the initial forms etc. to fill but would only progress and do a physical home check once they heard from the out of town CW.  The local social worker was so excited for us and incredibly helpful and positive.

THURSDAY

We filled in the ‘life history’ forms Wednesday evening and used Thursday lunch hour to get to the police station for our stamped and signed affidavit regarding no criminal history etc. Headed to the hospital lab for the required ‘urine test’ but didn’t complete that as nobody knew what it was to check for exactly, even after the nurse phoned the Social Welfare offices to double check.

Later in the day, I called the local SW to see if there’d been any comms from the CW.  There hadn’t.  I called the CW and she sounded totally confused as to what email or letter I was talking about as she had no recollection of her own words about sending comms ahead to our local SW.  Believe me, I had to physically hold my breath and just keep silent a couple of times during that conversation.  She now said that the first step would be for her to get the court application in to officially ‘unplace’ him from his current foster home.  (which, by the way, he’d already been removed from and placed back with Grandmother, who, we were to learn, had zero guardianship or any legal say at all)

**This is my experience and my opinion — When you deal with government social welfare departments and government social workers, you are entirely at their mercy.  No matter how slack, slow, wrongly informed, or pleasant (hah!), they are, you have to keep your cool, be polite and bite back your frustration.  If not, you’re labelled as difficult, impatient, etc. That’s all I will say about that.  I knew this way before 2016**

THE NEXT TWO WEEKS

We spent the next to weeks preparing both physically and emotionally, sharing the news with our parents, pastor and close friends, making sure to only call the CW or SW for possible updates or changes every so often so as to not be a ‘nuisance’.  If we had known that he was peacefully placed with a steady foster mom/dad/family, there would’ve been no need for us to call and follow up.  This was not the case.  The day after our meeting him, he was removed from the Grandmother and placed with a seasoned and experienced foster couple who are registered to foster for up to two weeks at a time in crisis situations.  We knew that, if court dates and red tape didn’t get a move on, he’d be moved yet again after the two weeks was up.  Another unnecessary disruption to his little life, his little heart.  Maddening.

With mentions of ‘toddler showers’ and generous offers of everything from cute bedding sets to child care assistance and professional therapy, I allowed myself only 3 purchases in preparation for his ‘homecoming’ – a bright fireman/fire-engine print fleece blanket, a pair of cute long winter jammies and 2 pairs of non slip socks.

FRIDAY

I was determined to hold out until the next Monday to call the CW to make sure the court date was on track.  DH felt otherwise and called her mid-morning.   She reiterated that she was waiting on the actual court date to be set for the official ‘unplacement’ and that we must “be patient”.

MONDAY

Something made me phone our local SW office before calling the original CW.  She was her pleasant self and asked if we’d been contacted by the CW at all.  No, we hadn’t.  “I’m so devastated for you”, she said, amongst other things.  My heart absolutely froze.  Had he been hurt?  Had he been killed?  (Yes, I tend to jump to the worst case scenario.)   The fact was that the CW had called our local SW office THE THURSDAY BEFORE and told them to not call us but that we would not be considered to foster the boy.  This phone call was made the DAY BEFORE the CW spoke to my DH – the day before she said to him, Be Patient.  We’d spent the weekend in happy preparation and dreamland, expecting to possibly collect the little guy and begin the hard and awesome transition weeks in a couple of days.       Broken.

It turned out that the CW’s supervisor, once she had been updated on the case and the goings on, had reprimanded the CW as we apparently should not have been considered from day one, simply because we live a 2 hour’s drive away.  In this day and age?  A 2 hour’s drive is prohibitive to future visitations/reunification of birth mom and child?  2 hours?  A hardship?  Really?  We would’ve driven miles for that kid.  For his well being; whatever path that ended up being.   And, it turned out, the birth mother was now magically not AWOL at all and actually in rehab and on track and had all intentions of stepping up to be a real mother at last.

Do you know that I never phoned the original CW to confirm her horse-crap unprofessionalism and her cowardice.  I never phoned to make certain that this was true; that her total ineptitude was the reason that this boy would now not be placed securely as soon as possible and that we’d been living in some invented future of our dreams thanks to her.

Worse;  she never phoned me.  Never phoned us.  Never explained.  Never apologised.  Never let us know if he was okay.  Never let us know if was placed.  Never let us know.

Who are we, after all?  Some couple; some unknowing couple with no legal right to know anything at all.  Some couple who have a dozen conspiracy theories ranging from, oh no, are we not good enough, to, there must be something illegal going on, like, case worker bribing or underhanded queue-jumping on the part of waiting adoptive couples.  Yep, I know.

We’re heartbroken.  We prayed for that little boy to be securely watched by He who watches over every sparrow and numbers every blond hair on that special head.  We pray for him still.

 

 

An unexpected mid-year up, followed by a big down.

June 2016.  SUNDAY evening.

I was in the middle of making supper – a stir-fry – and my phone bleeped with a Whatsapp message.  When I saw who the message was from – a hello, how are you, IF friend-but-not-close friend – I imagined it maybe being a request for photographs at a child’s party or something.

The message was to ask if we would consider fostering a little boy long-term, with the possibility of adoption depending on, you know, life.  I froze.  My first thought, honestly, was, Should I even tell DH (dear husband) about the message?  She wrote that it was a family member who was in communication with her and that she had thought of us straight away, and should she send a photograph through, or not?  This was over about 10 minutes of messaging.  I did tell DH.  Well, actually I walked through and gave him my phone to read for himself.  Yes, say yes to a photo, DH said.

The photo loads.  The mop of light blonde hair, the pale blue eyes looking out questioningly, the little point of chin tilted at the camera.  There was no way we’d say no but, yes, we needed more information on the hows and whys and wheres.  Very quickly, the Case Worker’s name and contact details came through.

MONDAY

I phoned the CW and explained who I was and why I was phoning.  Confusion at first as she thought I was phoning from “an organisation” – I don’t know why.  She took my number, phoned the family member to confirm I was who I said I was, and called me straight back.  He is healthy and loved and possibly hyperactive (no diagnosis),she said.  She could arrange a meeting the very next day.

TUESDAY

I arrived at work intending to have to cancel the CW meeting as I wasn’t able to organise a stand-in for work with such short notice.  My boss had, though.  The stand-in he’d organised was a client’s daughter.  Her name was the female version of the boy’s name.  Totally got goosebumps.  Postponed the meeting by a couple of hours and off we drove.  It was a 2 hour drive – easy traffic and no bother at all.

CW met us alone at first and filled us in on a little bit of his history.  What a short life – two and a half years – to have experienced the upheaval and difficulties that he apparently had.  Young mom with addictive tendencies and no ability to have the responsibility of raising her child.  Grandmother with emotional issues who could not cope with guardianship of the boy.  Were we ready to meet him?  Oh, yes.

Little bucket of Duplo/Lego blocks in one hand – quickly emptied onto the CW’s desk and built into two little towers before the CW’s offer of a sweet grabbed his attention.  Those same pale blue eyes from the photograph, the little chin and chopped blonde bangs.  He was beautiful.  He was calm.  He was playful.  We – me and he – had a ‘moment’ when DH was talking to the Grandmother and the CW had stepped out to let us all talk.  I drew a little picture on some note paper and whispered something about it to him.  He responded in a whisper too.  My heart was so happy.  We had an hour with them altogether – much questions asked (on both sides) and a better understanding of the situation.

We left with the knowledge that the CW was going to email our local welfare department while we were driving on our way home, so they could begin their various security and home checks on us.  Because his birth mother was out of contact and her whereabouts unknown to the CW, it was basically decided that, once the red tape and court documents were complete, we could return to collect this little boy.  We spoke a million words and spoke no words at all, all the way home.  It was awesome to see DH so firmly committed and excited/concerned/over-the-moon about having this little person in our lives.  Meeting him opened our hearts up to wanting to protect, love, teach, and absolutely envelope him into our family and our lives.  Not just because we’re childless but because of who he was, because of what he’d experienced out of life so far, and because of what we wanted him to experience in his future.

Selling and sewing

Well, I must admit that sewing fleece quickly lost its fun factor BUT the scarves are still selling each time I renew the Facebook ad (usually weekly).   That’s a good thing!

Today I made a baby blanket with a matching ‘taggy’ blankie and have posted it for sale too. I bought pink and blue fabric but only sewed up the pink set so far. Will see if there are any takers/orders before I buy/sew any more.

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Sewing to sell…

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My “advert”

Amazing what a buzz you get when someone buys something you’ve made!  I’ve always been terrified of anyone actually paying me money for something I’ve cut out and sewn from scratch.  Will they see my seam wasn’t quite as arrow straight as it could’ve been?  Did I miss any errors?  Scanning over each hemline or edge to spot an untrimmed piece of thread.  Terrifying!

BUT – the chilly winter weather that blew in this weekend, with accompanying grey clouds and quite a bit of rain, did WONDERS.  Last week I took the plunge by advertising (using both the pic to the left and another showing the scarves worn by me) but I had such a low response that I ended the week on quite a low.  Today, with the wintery chill still on the wind, I posted the ad again and, Ta Daaah, orders!!

I now need to get my butt back to the fabric shop to stock up on the deep pinky colour and the grey.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Open faced honesty

I will never understand how , despite recent experience, a person chooses non verbal, non face to face communication over regular, real, open faced talking.

Am I a stranger? No.
Have I hidden my true feelings? No.

I so much prefer real, open, honest, no holds barred people than closed, sneaky, “must look good” people.

Grow a pair. Be real. Show your truth, even if it’s not pretty, even if it’s raw.

Be whole, for goodness sake. Be a human that’s proud to be called a human; don’t use that species title as an excuse.

February Sewing Fun

You guessed it; my boss is away for a couple of days, so this is the first time I’ve had my machine set up since before our move.  Joy, joy, joy!

After beginning with a pair of ‘home shorts’ for my husband I decided to try this next project.  I have copy pasted the sewing instructions from the original website because I wanted to try and insert pics of the different stages.  I hope that’s okay🙂

Free sewing pattern – Cupcake dress from BasteandGather.com (You can click on the link to go and see the wonderful pics & download the pattern)

Sewing Instructions: 

1. Fold straps in half lengthwise with RIGHT sides together and press. Stitch around all but one short end with a 3/8″ seam allowance. Trim seam allowance 1/8″ from stitching – OR – if using a very lightweight fabric like I am, you may leave the seam allowance to give the straps a little heft. Turn straps right-side-out; press. (pencil is in my photo because that’s what I had on hand to help turn my straps right side out!)

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2. Pin straps to the RIGHT side of the front bodice piece as indicated on the pattern. Match up the raw edge of the straps with the raw edge of the top of the bodice front. Baste in place.

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3. With RIGHT sides together, sew bodice front to bodice lining along top edge only. The straps will be sandwiched in-between the two layers. If desired, you may reinforce the straps with a second line of stitching on the seam allowance and close to the first line of stitching. 

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4. Fold back bodice piece in half lengthwise with WRONG sides together and press.

5. Stitch a line 1/4″ away from the folded edge. Stitch another line 5/8″ away from the raw edge. Finally, baste (use a wide stitch that will be removed later) another a line 3/8″ away from the raw edge. (The following pic shows point 3, 4 & 5 – and the 2nd pic shows how I tried to correct the sewing lines on the back bodice… ahem… to fit the two pieces of elastic through)

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6. Insert one piece of elastic in the casing you just created along the top of the back bodice piece using a small safety pin or bodkin. Carefully tug on the elastic until the end of the elastic meets with the edge of the casing. Stitch that end in place. Remove safety pin/bodkin, and repeat for the other side.

7. Insert second piece of elastic into the casing at the bottom of the back bodice piece. Stitch the ends in place as you did for the first piece of elastic.

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8. Open up the front bodice, and insert the back bodice into it. The back bodice piece will be sandwiched between the main and lining of the front bodice and touching the right sides of the front bodice pieces. Line up the side edges of the front bodice pieces with the back bodice piece. Make sure the back bodice piece is jammed all the way up there so the side seams will be even when everything is turned right-side-out. Using a 3/8″ seam allowance, sew bodice pieces together at the side seams.

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9. Turn bodice pieces right-side-out and press. You may clip curves along the front bodice if needed to make it lie nice and straight.

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10. With RIGHT sides together, sew skirt pieces together at side seams. Serge, zigzag or pink seam allowances, and press toward back. Repeat for lining if you have chosen to include one.

11. Baste a wide stitch along the top edge of the skirt using a 3/8″ seam allowance for gathering. Baste a second line of wide stitches using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Grabbing only the two top threads at the beginning of the stitches you just made, pull to gather the skirt. Repeat for lining if you have chosen to include one.

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12. With main side of bodice touching RIGHT side of skirt, pin skirt to bodice, matching side seams and center notches. Adjust skirt gathers evenly to fit. (Don’t do what I did and get so excited that there are no side seams in sight on the bodice that you forget to make sure you’re pinning your skirt to bodice ‘right sides together’.  My fabric is a dark inky blue chintz and I used the same fabric for my bodice lining so I couldn’t tell right from wrong sides.)

13. If including a lining, you will now pin the right side of the lining to the lining side of the bodice, sandwiching the bodice between the skirt main and skirt lining. Adjust gathers evenly to fit.

14. With a 3/8″ seam allowance, sew skirt and optional skirt lining to bodice. Try to keep a very accurate seam allowance on the back side so you don’t catch the elastic in the stitching. Don’t stress too much if you do, though.🙂 Serge, zigzag or pink seam allowance. (I was still unaware of my mistake at this stage, and I even did the zigzagging of the raw edge instantly.  There was no way I was going to try and unpick!  See below for my solution/hideaway)

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15. Flip the skirt and optional skirt lining down, and press seam allowance up toward bodice. Almost done!

16. Turn bottom hem under toward wrong side 1/4″ and press. Then turn it under another 1/4″ and press again. Sew hem in place. Repeat for lining if you chose to do one. (I’ve fallen for this slightly ‘fancy’ stitch and often use it on the hem of the little girl clothing I sew)

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17. Give everything one last press, and put that dress on a little girl! Adorable, right?!

(I hid the exposed front bodice-skirt seam with a piece of lace and simply zigzagged the back raw seam down.  Not very pretty but quite all right!)
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