The past couple of days has been an absolute whirlwind of getting my former craft room set up to accommodate a foster child. In our old house there are four bedrooms upstairs. Our kids share rooms–two boys in one and three girls in the other. The extra bedroom had become a place for me to stash all of my supplies–crafting, cardmaking, sewing, balloon twisting, face painting, etc. I had previously cleaned it out, so it was in a usable state, but still committed to use only by myself.
As I was feeling more and more like this is the right time for us to start fostering, I believe that God was trying to get a message through to my brain. Is all of my stuff more important than caring for a child who needs someone to nurture them? That is a convicting line of questioning. When I think about the sheer amount of stuff that I was hanging onto that necessitated its own room, the convenience of having it in its own special space, and the enjoyment of having my own crafting room, it is all outweighed by the importance of a single living person. Am I willing to give up the comfort and convenience of my craft room for the well-being of somebody I don’t know? Well, you can probably tell from the title of this post that I decided to give up my craft room.
At first I thought I’d have to move all of my supplies to the basement and buy an extra dehumidifier to keep it from smelling musty. (Our basement is unfinished and not particularly welcoming.) After taking a look around our classroom, however, I noticed some open spaces because of the purge I had done in there a short while ago. So I started by first filling in some of those gaps with my craft supplies. This led me to take a careful look at every single item in the craft room to determine if it was worth keeping or not. I ended up with piles, and I mean piles of stuff to get rid of. Some of it I offered for free; some of it I am trying to sell because it is valuable; some of it found a new home in the trash. Would you believe that in just a couple of days, my kids and I made it through every item in that room? Well, we did. Side note–reward your workers with occasional chocolate throughout the workday and their mood will improve palpably.
I am so proud of my kids for how much they helped me. There was some belly-aching, but overall it went smoothly and my kids are learning the value of hard work. They also got a couple of unforeseen perks–the boys inherited my magic tricks and the girls got a bunch of new dress-up gear. 🙂 I hope they will also learn a lesson about making room for others in their lives.
Anyhow, a good portion of my supplies made it out to our back porch. This is an enclosed area that doesn’t have heating or cooling. There were also a few things in the room that struck me as being perfect to leave in there for foster kids. I had my dad’s old library desk in there for my sewing machine. I turned it and put it up against one wall so that a child could do homework at it. My sewing light stayed on the desk and I put a few of my baskets on the bottom shelf for a child to fill with their belongings. Above the desk there is a shelf that’s screwed to the wall. On that I temporarily put a dry erase board, storage basket, and girls hair bow holder. Don’t worry, if it’s a boy we’ll put that last piece away. I also happened to have some office supplies in my craft room that stayed in Dad’s desk–a stapler, tape, 3-hole punch, and ruler. Perfect for a school-age child!
The closet had a set of Yaffa blocks in it and I left those there for the child’s things. In the back of the closet I put some large plastic storage drawers which I had pulled out of the girls’ room while organizing. They had been sitting in the hallway because I wasn’t sure what to do with them. In these I put some baby blankets, leftover training pants and swim diapers, and the cover for our bouncy seat.
There’s still a dresser, chair, filing cabinet, and my sewing machine that need to leave the room, but that will happen tomorrow. I think we’ll try to find a double bed to put in there. We already have a pak-n-play for an infant and an area rug would make the floor more comfy. I’ll take the kids with to pick out curtains that would be appropriate for either gender. We have both boy and girl comforters, so that is taken care of.
The room was already painted, from when I was trying to spruce up my craft room. The walls are a cream color with a bright blue at the top, above the trim. I like how it looks and it can be fairly gender neutral. The next big job is to make sure the mechanics of the room are done. The ceiling fan needs the pull cord replaced and the globe put back on. The window needs to be replaced. The other window needs to be removed and the wall filled in. (It goes onto the back porch storage area–kind of pointless!) Also, there is not a single electrical outlet in the room. In its 100+ years of existence, nobody has taken the time to run power into that room. It’s kind of baffling.
So…I’m not sure why I’m going on and on about this room. I’m excited and glad to be moving forward in the process of getting licensed to provide foster care. This room isn’t the most important thing, but it’s a concrete and tangible step that is very satisfying.