As well as my stitching and family commitments I am also a volunteer with the Pyjama Foundation - an organisation which recruits and trains volunteers to work with children in the foster care system for an hourly session on a weekly basis. The aim is to not only assist with their reading and academic work but to mentor and build a trusting and friendly relationship as another adult in their fragile little lives. As you can appreciate all Readers (or 'Pyjama Angels' as we are called) undergo a stringent interview process and criminal check as well as intensive training before being matched with a suitable child.
The little girl I have been working with now for three years - let's call her 'J' for confidentiality and privacy reasons - came into her current foster home when 18 months old after placement with four other primary carers since birth. So it is of no surprise that she had physcological, bonding and control issues when I first began working with her at the tender age of two and there were certainly times when it would have been easy to walk away when she became quite demanding in some of the sessions. But I saw potential in 'J' and decided to go back to basics with her by doing fun things such as blowing bubbles and walking around the garden smelling and touching flowers and herbs that her foster Mum grew. Fast forward three years and the transformation in 'J' in amazing which I can only attribute to stability and security in her home life, an awesome foster Mum and self-satisfaction in her own achievements. She has even visited our home on a few occasions to help bake muffins, scones or decorate cupcakes and plant seedlings in the garden and the connection that has developed with my family is heartening.
A couple of weeks ago 'J' celebrated her 5th birthday and one of her favourite things - for some reason - is ladybirds and this extends to pyjamas, doona cover, cushions, bedroom wall frieze, moneybox and other little trinkets in her bedroom. So, as well as a little gift, I cross stitched a ladybird card for her and added 5 handmade bows which was a simple little project and took no time at all to make. The design was taken from a book which will form the subject of a future post as it has some fantastic ideas for young and/or beginner stitchers.
Clear double-sided tape was used to mount the design and bows on to folded A5 red cardstock and a white paper insert inside the card made it easy to write and read the birthday message. 'J' and her foster Mum thought the card was beautiful and it went on the entertainment unit along with all her other greeting cards.
For the record mine was her sixth ladybird card.
'Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow: Don't walk behind me, I may not lead: Walk beside me, and be my friend.' - Albert Camus