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Why I Said Yes To The Free School Supplies

As back to school time has snuck up on us, I've seen a lot of articles and posts on social media about school supplies. Last year school supplies were a GIANT hassle. I let Sheila buy part of the list and the whole process became way more work - as she sent the supplies at the last minute but didn't indicate who they were for so I spent 2 hours trying to figure out what was missing. She said so it was even but she bought 80% of Stella's list.....

For the Fab Four I had the opportunity to utilize the pre-pay service where they package everything for you and you pick up the supplies the week before school. It was lovely. When those notes came home this year it was going to be $350 and I was like- Peace Out. I'll take myself to Costco and buy in bulk. Or dig through my stock pile of extra school supplies to see what we already had on-hand as this year I made the kids go through their supplies and see what was re-usable. (No one needs a new pair of scissors every year...Its not like it was when we were kids. No fun folders for anyone ever.)

In May I got a phone call from the gym teacher and she asked if we could use school supplies for the kids. 

To be honest, I kind of struggled with saying yes. We can totally afford school supplies. I never want us to be seen as the charity case because we aren't. I'd rather people who really need the help get it. More often than not, we've participated in supply drives, we even sponsored a college student one year for his books. So I said, no. I don't want to take away from another family that might really need it.

But the teacher pushed back. She said she loved my kids and she really wanted to help them in some way. They always have these extra packages of school supplies and she couldn't think of kids more deserving. "They are so full of happiness and they have been through so much." (We are the only foster family in the district.)

It wasn't about the money.  This teacher just wanted to do something.  This is what she could offer. And isn't my advice to other foster parents to accept help when offered because its not always available?

Full disclosure: We also happened to be at a bar that afternoon watching the Blackhawks playoff so I was probably a little buzzed and didn't insist on no like I probably would have. So maybe there is a lesson there to ease up a bit....

I'm really glad that I said yes.  The past few weeks have been so full of change and anxiety for me that I'm relieved I don't have to go battle the school supply aisle.  Its my last week of this term for school and we have some family outings coming up and I really just want to focus on my kids. This little thing will make our life so much easier and it allowed someone else to help out and pitch in and isn't that what we want from our support networks? That extends to school too.
Interestingly, neither bio parent offered up help for the school supplies this year even though the visits were moved so they would not be the same as the week school starts. Actually, neither of them gave the children any gifts for their last planned visits. Bio Dad almost missed the visit.  I had the transport company call him when he didn't confirm because I didn't want to have to handle the disappointment of the kids.


  1. my husband says yes to everything that's offered. I use to fight it, the help people offer. Or spend a lot of time trying justify why I'd say yes. Then eel guilty but, just like you said up there. People WANT to help and WANT to give so I give them the gift of saying yes. So now I say yes all the time!! :)


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