In my house there is an empty room. Actually, to say it is empty is not quite right. There are things in the room. 2 beds with frilly bedspreads. A crib with lonely plush animals. In the closet, in a neat row hangs 5 pretty dresses in 5 different sizes and a dresser against the wall is crammed full of pink and purple clothes in 5 different sizes. All this, despite the fact that I have 3 boys. This room is empty because it is waiting. I am a foster mom and this room waits for the little girls that sometimes come to visit my house and be my foster daughters. The hope is that one day one will stay and be my very own daughter, but if that never happens, I will at least have had sometimes daughters to think fondly back on.
A few weeks ago, I was asked if I would like to review a children’s book called “Holly Bloom’s Garden.â€ I don’t review much on here these days as I am rather busy with my other job, but this one I agreed to. The story is about a little girl named Holly who is having troubles in the garden. I thought that maybe someday a little girl might come to visit who would like to read about gardens.
The children that go through the foster care system can technically be from all walks of life. But in reality, many are from very poor homes. And when I mean poor, I mean both financially and emotionally. A common misconception is that kids who end up in “the systemâ€ are there because of abuse. This is incorrect. Many end up there due to neglect. They are children that no one cares for. They often arrive at their foster homes with little more than the clothes on their backs. This is why there are pretty dresses and clothes in the room. Many most likely never had nice clothes, let alone a pretty dress.
The book Holly Bloom’s Garden, a little girl in a loving family takes care of a garden and fails. Still, she is loved and through the love of her family, she finds a way to succeed. The book is beautifully illustrated with scenes that are seemingly realistic with lush gardens full of flowers, then you realize things like that daffodils and foxglove are not often found blooming at the same time. But that is not the point. This is a child’s fantasy of a garden and the book is a sweet portrayal of that garden.
To my future little girls, this book will seem even more fantastical. A little girl from a home with two parents, food on the table and clean. Where drugs are not an everyday fact of life. Never mind that there is a yard and the little girl tries to grow flowers in that yard. Gardens are so foreign to many of these children that they are not even comprehensible to their mind. But that is my job. My job is to show that, at least that while they are at my house, that houses like the one in Holly Bloom’s Garden exist and that they deserve it. It is my job to show them what a home and garden should be. And then send them back to their home. And they may go back and find that their home has changed for the better. Or they may find that it has not changed at all.
Someday, one of these girls will go home with the Holly Bloom’s Garden book tucked into her bag. It will be a possession for them and a fantasy, maybe. In the meantime, this book will sit in the empty room until the next little girl comes to visit.
If you have ever considered becoming a foster parent, I encourage you to look into it. It is a hard job with low pay, but so is being a parent in general. If you have room in your house and heart, consider doing it. The need is great everywhere for foster parents.
If you have a little girl (or boy) who like to garden, these activities that go along with the book are helpful.