Who We Help
The harsh reality faced by children in the foster system opens our eyes every day to the importance of reaching out to help them in any way we can. Here are just a few stories of children who have visited our store:
A 3-year-old in foster care came into the Quest for Grace shop one day with burns all over his upper torso and arms. His foster parents told us that he had been burned repeatedly with acid. At frst, he seemed quiet and sullen, but when I picked him up and brought him into the playroom, his eyes opened wide, he smiled, pointed and said “Truck!” He then looked around and pointed again, this time to a stuffed toy and said “Mickey!” His foster parents’ mouths dropped. They said, “We didn’t think he could talk—those are the frst words he has said since we got him three days ago.” Needless to say, he went home with the truck and the Mickey Mouse, as well as a week’s worth of new outfts, underwear and pajamas.
A 9-year-old girl came in accompanied by the detective that had arrested her stepmother for child abuse. She had been the victim of beatings, burnings and starvation. The child was a beautiful, petite child with curly black hair and a sense of urgency. The detective explained that she had just gotten off the witness stand after more than three hours of grueling testimony. She seemed confused at frst and ran about the store, unsure of where to go or what to see. Suddenly, she stopped, looked up, and there it was—a Hannah Montana outft. She quickly pulled it down and soon followed it up with Hannah Montana shoes and pajamas. The smile that broke out on her face was radiant and joyful. It was still innocent, and it seemed to transcend the circumstances. There was reason to hope that she would be okay.
Three siblings visited the store—an 8-year-old boy, his 6-year-old brother, and 2-month-old baby sister. The foster mother told me that the 8-year-old was severely delayed and was still in diapers as a result of the abuse he endured. The younger boy continually called his older brother a “f—ing retard” and when he was chided for it, said, “That’s what mom calls him.” Two years later, the children are still in foster care and still coming to The Quest for Grace shop. The oldest can now speak and is no longer in diapers and his younger brother is now very protective of both his siblings. The youngest is an adorable child with no knowledge of the horrors she escaped. The foster mom told me that she prays daily to be able to adopt all three.
An 18-month-old boy came in, clinging to his foster mom. When I asked her if I could take him, she said, “He will come to you, but he won’t let go.” Sure enough, the little boy came to me. As the foster mother was “shopping” in the store, I brought him into the toy room and attempted to put him down so that I could retrieve an item for him to play with. As I tried to lower him, I was surprised by how fercely he clung to my neck. He was clearly not interested in any toys. All he wanted was to be held and loved. The caseworker later explained to me that he was found alone in his crib. When he was picked up, his diaper literally exploded from urine saturation. He was not the typical busy toddler running around making a game of being chased. Just the opposite. He was terrifed of being put down and left alone.
“We began “shopping” at Quest for Grace almost two years ago when our foster daughter joined our family. Located more than an hour drive from our home, we were wondering if the journey would be worth the trip. It certainly was. From the minute we walked through the front door, Michele made us feel like family. We were allowed to browse at our leisure, yet there was always help if we needed it. Our foster daughter could try on anything and she loved picking out new pajamas, clothes, shoes, socks and underwear. Just like shopping in our favorite stores—only better!”