|Jean is old order Mennonite from New York State. Jean and her husband David and family live on a dairy farm, and travel their community using horse and buggy. She tells her story exclusively on Amish Stories.|
Thought I would tell you about the new member to our family we have now. His name is Edward (not his real name). We were having our evening prayers when the phone rang. Because of David being with the Fire Department, even though we are having prayers, we answer the phone. We never know when it could be a fire. On the phone was a friend of Michael’s who asked if he could speak to him. It was very important. Usually I explain that we are in prayer and say he will call him back, but I didn’t-I gave Michael the phone.
Edward’s lives with his grandmother and she was taken to the hospital. The Policeman was going to take him to a Foster home and he wanted to know what it was like and what should he do. Michael talked with him a minute then laid down the phone and came to us. He explained Edward’s situation and at first asked if we were prejudice as Edward is black. David explained that we believe all men are created equal. Edward had been to our house many times and I asked if we had been prejudice against him. Michael said no and explained Edward’s situation.
David spoke with Edward and told him to give the phone to the policeman. Edward said he was suppose to be packing to leave but he was calling us. Again, David told him to give the phone to the policeman. When he did-David explained to the policeman that we are Foster Parents and that Michael and Edward are friends. We would be glad to take Edward into our home. The policeman asked David to come to the house. We sent Michael to get a driver and he wanted to go too, but I told him no.
After David left I had asked Michael to move all his ski equipment, fishing equipment and whatever else he had out of the guest room. As he did that I put sheets on the bed and tided up the room. After hours David called to tell me he and Edward were coming home. I fixed something for them and us to snack on when they got home.
When you take on a Foster Child they have to have a physical examination when they remove a child from one home to another. So Edward and David went to the hospital with the policeman to have Edward examined before he came to our house. The policeman and us knew Edward’s Grandmother would never hurt him, but rules are rules. Michael and Edward were happy to see each other. Edward thanked us for taking him in. We told him, we were glad to do it.
Edward’s Grandmother had taken care of him since he was about four or five. His father and Mother had not married. The Father left when he found his Mother was with child. His Mother had gotten into drugs, and more. Because of this his Mother had left (died) in a city a way from here (not Canandaigua) so his Grandmother had raised him since. She sold her house in the city and bought one out here to raise him in. His Grandmother had cancer for a few years, which we thought was in recession-but had spread. Edward used to go to school, work at his job on a farm and then come home to take care of his Grandmother-plus do his homework-he is only 14 years old. We did not know this was happening or we would have helped them,
We all went to see Edward’s grandmother at the hospital. One day we got a call that she wanted to see David and I without Edward or Michael. When we got there she explained that her lawyer had been to the hospital and if it was all right with us, she was signing so we would be Edward’s guardians. We asked to talk it over with Edward. When we got home we asked Edward alone to come into the living room and explained what his Grandmother had told us. He looked at us and said she is dying. We told him we weren’t saying that but until she got better. He said she is dying and he would really like to stay with us. The next day we took Edward with us to the hospital. She spoke with him alone-we went down the hall so she could be alone with him. We came back and the next day she signed the papers. Two days later she left (passed away).
We thought all the relatives would give us a hard time about what his Grandmother had signed, but none of them did. David and I invited them over to our house after the funeral, burial and dinner. We explained what Edward’s Grandmother had done. They all had a reason why they couldn’t take him so David and I are glad she signed him over to us. Edward and Michael were in the barn doing chores when we told the relatives what she had done. Michael and Edward knew, but we didn’t want them there if there were any problems. There were no problems.
Edward is now a member of our household. He is getting use to the buggy instead of a car, no nightly TV or computer and other changes. The farm he works at is down the road from ours, so we have let him keep working there. Like I said he and Michael are close friends-Michael just said best friends and that helps. Having been to our home many times to see Michael, Edward knew us before he moved here. With is Grandmother;s passing it has been hard on Edward, but we understand this. Not only did he lose his grandmother but he was with a different family. Edward is not Old Order Mennonite or Amish. He does know the Lord, reads his Bible daily and attends meetings (church) with us. As yet, he hasn’t worn our dress at meetings-he wears a suit-which is fine with us and Bishop and members. Also he comes to our prayers at home.
His Grandmother taught him to cook. He has some very delicious recipes that he has cooked for us that I would like. I asked him what he wanted for dinner one evening and he wanted collard greens. I guess he didn’t think I knew how to cook them. He was surprised that I had collard greens as one of our vegetables.
So I have told you some of our new resident. Susan asked if we were going to adopt him. I told her we have to wait a while and see how things go like we did with Michael. She wants us to adopt Edward, too. She also said that the next one that comes into our household has to be a girl. There are four men and two ladies-we need more ladies according to Susan.
She has a double bedroom. When David’s parents owned the house they made two bedrooms into one. We put Susan in the double bedroom, but now has come the time we have to divide it so we have a guest room or if we get another Foster child. If things got tight in our house, we could put Michael and David together in one bedroom as we have two single beds in Michael’s room. David and I are talking again about maybe we should build that house that we were thinking about. We will see.
Be With God,
Jeans homemade recipe for Root beer
1 teaspoon dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups granulated sugar
1 quart hot water
4 teaspoons root beer extract
Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water.
Mix together dissolved yeast, sugar and root beer extract in gallon jar.
Fill jar with warm water and stir until all ingredients are well combined
Set in warm sun for 3 to 4 hours
Refrigerate 12-24 hours