Recently, a foster youth moved into my home. The next day, I took them to Our Village Closet to begin to assemble a basic wardrobe. On the ride over, they were quiet. As we entered the clothes shop area, I saw a look of disbelief cross their face. Over the next hour, I watched them perk up and show signs of interest, which built into genuine excitement. Most of the clothing they chose to take home they did not try on, but one outfit they could not resist. They emerged from the dressing room with a radiant smile that conveyed this child’s moment of unabashed joy.
That carried over to the fashion show that ensued when we arrived back home. They showed off each outfit and near the end said to my spouse and me, “This makes me so happy.” We concluded with warm hugs all around.
Our gratitude for the material items is obvious. But other important benefits of this experience are subtler. The possibility of Our Village Closet relies on so many people pouring time and energy into the place and project. While they shopped, my child got to hear Dominique express her gratitude for the person in Marin who donated time, expertise, and items for the interior decoration and I learned how the church is providing the physical space for OVC. While they shopped, they asked questions to learn about other resources they could access through foster care. On the ride home we talked about how much it means to me to be connected with other foster families. Most importantly, this youth got to begin to feel there is a community here for them, they are not alone, and so many of us are pulling together to give them the best chance possible to flourish with some basic sense of normalcy.
In five years of foster parenting, I have learned we cannot do this alone. It truly takes a village to raise a foster child. My deepest thanks to Dominique, Amanda, the people of St. Luke’s Church, and everyone who has contributed to make Our Village Closet possible!
We are immensely grateful!
-J, Resource Father- Sonoma County