“Gogo (grandmother) will be so happy!” The 9-year-old girl, being the family’s foster child through GCF, was rejoicing when the gifts were handed over by the organisation’s social auxiliary worker. She knows her new granny well and found it ideal for her. The actual foster mother works in the days and has not been able to join the GCF support groups for foster parents, so when others could attend the arranged year-end gatherings in December 2021, this family was visited at home.
As we all know, 2020 and 2021 were not like other years. The lengthy pandemic has led to many drastic changes for families, like unemployment, illness, death and daily struggles with money. Just as for so many others, the foster families have not been spared hardships. Covid-19 also came with countless restrictions for GCF to follow and we could not meet the support groups and its members as we used to. The meetings have been occasional, so before the closing of the year, festive meetings were held to finally touch base face-to-face.
Someone had donated a generous sum of money with the message that it should be used for healthy food relief, so what could be more appropriate than giving vegetable seeds and tools for the gardens as a Christmas gift? But, before the surprise element took place, a moment of encouragement to maintain emotional, mental, physical and spiritual health in trying times was shared as well as some well-deserved refreshments.
When it was eventually time, excitement and joy filled the air. Singing, dancing and spontaneous prayers followed remarks like; “It’s like you knew that my hoe is hardly working” and “Now I don’t have to borrow a rake from my neighbour anymore”.
Most of GCF’s foster parents live in rural or semi-rural areas and are experienced gardeners, so not surprisingly, the presents were immensely appreciated and will definitely contribute to the families living conditions and lifestyles. As the seeds are seasonal, the produce will be ready across the year and in a while GCF will do home visits to see how it goes.
You might think that we have forgotten the children in the foster families, but no, of course not. They might not have been overly delighted when their gifts were brought home by the foster mothers, but the bag of school stationery for each family will contribute to what they will need when the new school year starts in January 2022.
GCF often talks about “the gift that keeps on giving”. This is a clear example!
Written by Anna-Karin Öhrnstedt