Apologies for not communicating better the past several weeks. Like most of you, we’ve been busy. Over the holidays, we had some visitors from out of town, both family and friends. We celebrated ‘family’ with many members of our community–introducing them to and bringing them into the fold of our family (the biggest blessing we have). We hosted a large tea party (as is our annual or semi-annual tradition) with some of the most delicious teas, sandwiches, and desserts that you can imagine.
We also have spent a good deal of time preparing for the 2014 community garden season. We had planning meetings and a winter social and are working on fundraising for next year’s projects. Our goal this year is to grow stronger leaders among the gardeners and to encourage the gardeners to engage the surrounding neighborhood more. Some of you might remember all the artwork created by neighborhood kids that we hung around the garden. All 180 or so of the boards were clipped from the fence and stolen. Little do these thieves know, we’ve got tons of kids in the neighborhood eager to paint and the money required for the wood and paint is marginal and usually donated. If I could say one thing to them, it would be this: you haven’t met more stubborn people then us! So we shall paint on, trying to beautify the neighborhood until the ugly people give up.
Most of all, now seems like a good time to let you know what’s happening in the life of our dear former-foster child, Christele. On Christmas Day, she phoned her therapist and asked him to leave his family on Christmas and pick her up to take her home. Her therapist has a great relationship with her and is basically awesome in every way that matters. So he left his family Christmas time and reunited her with her mother. They joined us for a Christmas dinner the next day. It was a joy to see them together and safe again, but Christele was not the smiling and sweet young lady that she can be. We saw her darker side, full of attitude and disdain. Much of it, we believe, stems from her embarrassment (the whole family knew she had run away again). Since then, her attitude has improved some. She even apologized to Alicia for cussing her out!
One of the reasons we hadn’t informed you of her return is that it has been a developing situation and never were things settled enough to the point where we felt we could update.
When she first returned, her mom called the runaway hotline to inform them that Christele had returned. This time, instead of locking her up at the Family Crisis Center, the State has somewhat disengaged in the process and her case workers have not had much to say about her well-being–for better or worse. So she has been living at home with her mom, sleeping at the home of her mom’s co-worker when she works nights. She started school again at George Washington High School (where she ran away from the last time). There’s no telling how successful she will be at GW this time around.
The family had a court hearing about the allegations Christele made against her step-dad. The judge ordered that the step-dad could move back into the home and they are all three living there together, finding him no longer (or never) a threat. We don’t know what to think, but Josephine seems to be happy to have all the family together again.
Adding to all this change, Christele’s older sister has been approved for admittance into the U.S. as a refugee and will be joining the family in the next few weeks once the processing to bring her here is completed (reportedly to complete before February). This is huge; everyone is elated. But prayer for this family-in-transition and for Christele’s development is needed now more than ever. Thank you for joining us in that prayer.