|Jean is old order Mennonite from New York State.Jean and her husband David and family live on a dairy farm, and travel their community using horse and buggy. She tells her story exclusively on Amish Stories.|
Today was kind of a sad for us as our Foster Child, Michael, went on to another home today. We knew when we received him he was only here until he finished the school year and then he was going to another home, but still it hurt to see him go. In a week and a half we didn't realize we would get so close to each other. Once his parents go to trial and are sentenced he may get to come back to us if they are sent to jail. Knowing what they did, I do believe they will be going to jail for a long time.
Michael was our First Foster Child and he was the best. He got very good marks in school, worked hard with us, did what he was told, and had fun with us. He also had one of the things you don't see in children today "manners". We know he came from poor parents as he had very few clothes when he got here. In my previous post about him, I told how we bought him some new clothes and shoes. Also I got some patterns he liked and made him some new clothes. So when he left here he had some new clothes to wear for a while.
On Thursday his school had Michael moving up from the middle school to the high school. David and I surprised Michael by showing up in his parents place. He didn't think we would come. I guess we disappointed him a little bit because we had a driver instead of coming by horse and buggy. He wanted to show off our horse and buggy. When we got done at school , his friends and some of their parents came back to our house. The yard was set up for volley ball and baseball. We had picnic tables and chairs. Some of the ladies helped me in the kitchen to put silver ware and dishes on the table and bring out the food. I don't remember everything we had but some of the foods were: potato salad, Cole slaw, macaroni salad, pickles, chow chow, roast beef, ham, chicken, homemade bread, and lots more. For desert we had cookies, pies, and cake. Beverages were lemonade, iced tea and coffee or hot tea. After the first round of eating Michael and his friends starting playing baseball. We adults sat, chatted and watched them play. The young folks did get out of hand a couple of times where David got up and spoke with them. Young folks didn't do anything bad, just got loud and a couple had an argument which David ended. David hooked one of our horses to the buggy and gave some of the young folks and adults a ride in it at different times. Most of the people were local and had seen an Old Order Mennonite buggy go down the road, but never had ridden in one. A few hours later we brought the food out again and had a another round of eating. We thought people would leave by dinner time, but most didn't so we called the pizza folks and had them deliver as we were almost out of food. After the dinner some adults helped us cleanup and everyone left.
Michael had never been fishing so we had promised to take him fishing and a picnic. The days were moving so fast and I had to do the bake sale on Saturday so we had agreed that David would taken him, but Michael wanted all of us to go. The mothers (David's and mine) came through and said they would go to the bake sale for me if I would help do the baking on Friday. So Saturday, David, Baby David, Susan, Michael and myself went fishing and we brought along a picnic lunch. I asked Michael what he would like to eat and he said fried chicken, French fries, and chocolate cake. He got everything he wanted plus potato salad, pickles, chow chow and a few more things I can't remember. Also, I brought a couple of blankets while David brought the fishing supplies. Somehow we got it all in the buggy and off we went. Susan and I spread the blankets and went fishing with the men. Good thing David had also packed a few tarps as he covered the blankets and us when it started to sprinkle a couple of times. It didn't sprinkle when we had our lunch. As we were almost packed up to leave it started to rain so Susan, Baby David and I were sent to the buggy while Michael and David loaded everything else in. For supper that evening we had the fish that we caught that day.
After service on Sunday, we had steaks, tossed salad, mashed potatoes, friend onion rings, corn on the cob, and finished off the chocolate cake. David cooked the steaks on the grill outside. This was what Michael had wanted for dinner. Monday morning he wanted blueberry pancakes with sausage. I made them up along with oatmeal, juice and strawberries from our garden. Michael asked if I always cooked what everyone wanted. I told him not always, but he was special to us.
As Michael had gone to service with us every Sunday through out his stay we learned that he knew the Lord. We had talked about the Lord especially in his life several times. The Bible he had was falling apart. While we were waiting for Social Services to come and take him to his new home, we gave him the new Bible we had purchased for him. Also we prayed for him. When the car came we all hugged him and had tears in our eyes. It sure was hard to see him go.
On the way back, after taking him to his new home, the lady from Social Services stopped and asked David and I if we would consider adopting Michael, if it came to that. We said we like him to live with us for longer to make sure we would all get along and agree on adoption. We would all including Susan and Michael would have to agree to it, also. Social Services said he would be with us for at least six months to a year before the final decision would have to be made.
All was not perfect when he was here. There were times we had to speak to him about the words he spoke or actions that we don't allow. He did get upset when we asked where he was going when he was leaving the house to go with friends. Never had anyone had a snack waiting for him when he got home from school. He was in shock. The first time he thought he was in trouble. Michael wanted to know why we dressed like we did, lived like we did and drove a horse and buggy instead of a car. We explained all this to him. Michael had never owned a computer. When he needed one he used one at school or at the local library so the fact we don't have one didn't bother him. What really bothered him was that there was no television. After he was here a few days we told him we had a TV in our attic. We are not supposed to have a TV, but we bought one when 911 happened. For a while we had it in our bedroom to use for the news, but we found Susan in there watching it so we moved it to the attic and didn't use it. After Susan went to bed we would like Michael go to the attic and watch it for a hour or two. Of course, we wanted to know what he was watching and if we did not approve we would not allow him to watch it. Michael had never done farm work before. He enjoyed it while he was here, but would he enjoy it if he had to do it every day? These are all things we all would have to consider before adoption. It is a decision that would take longer than a week and a half to find out. He seems like someone we would love to have join out family, but we want to make sure he would be happy also. The main point is if he became a member of our family would he become one us and join Old Order Mennonite. The sound of adopting him would be great, but these are all things that would have to be worked out.
As I said, Michael was our first foster child. We had no real problems with him so he was very well to have and we enjoyed having him. We realize the hardest part is when they walk out the door and you know they are not coming back. As we know where he is, we can go visit him after he has been there two weeks and we plan on going to visit him. We were told by social services that not all children are like Michael and we realize that.
A house that David and I had always wanted is up for sale. We went looking at it today. David had done some work in it one winter for the owner so he knew what it looked like on the inside, but I didn't. I can remember when we were courting, riding by that house saying some day we wanted to own that house. In addition to the house is a barn and a guest house. We are thinking of buying it instead of building a new house. This house sets back from the road and is fenced in on three sides. There are a few things we have to consider. One is the price. Another is there are only 63 acres where we would have about 300 if we built a new house on our current land. Also we would be moving about 5 miles away from our family and friends that are local right here. The house has a crawl attic where we would like a bigger one. There is cellar under only part of the house. We think the cellar was under the main house that was built and there is no cellar on the additions. House was built in 1890 and the road is named after the family that built this house. I would have bought the house on the spot once I saw it-but David is more reasonable than I am and thinks about the good and bad. We have to make sure that we would raise enough on the 63 acres plus our cows to support us and the farm.
Be With God,