We were on our way home from our family vacation when we received the call that a baby girl needed a home. We said yes. This is our first foster care placement and we’ve learned A LOT. Mostly the “newborn” thing is old hat for our family, this is our 6th time going through that (7th if you count the brief month with our newborn cousin last year). Chris and I become a little like drowning strangers, we are sleep deprived and on edge. I pray more in the first few months of my babies lives than I ever do because I constantly feel overjoyed and stressed to the max. I can’t share her story but I brought her home from the hospital and she’s been here since she was 12 days old. The kids fell in love with her immediately. September 2016 we went from a family of 7 to a family of 8 in the span of one phone call.
Category Archives: foster parenting
Jonah-baby turned 5 in September. When we refer to Theodore, Parker and Jonah around here we usually say “the 3 little boys”. Now that they are 9,7 and 5 they aren’t so little but Jonah is technically the baby of the family. Well, he was until 4 days before his birthday when Pipsqueak joined us. Jonah is…SWEET. He has big brown eyes, precious little verbal and facial expressions and loves to cuddle. He tries his best to do everything that all the big kids are doing. He is well-behaved and quick to learn if he gets in trouble. He is a little bit of a daredevil but he’s made it a whole year without a trip to the ER so that’s a plus. He’s recently gotten the chance to see what it feels like to be the “big” brother and he has excelled at that role. I’ve been surprised at how nurturing he is toward Pipsqueak. Since she’s been here he’s started to care for his Mickey Mouse the way I care for her. When we went to the dentist the other day he insisted on having a bag for Mickey’s stuff and that Mickey needed a diaper and a bottle. As I suspected at the beginning of the school year, he has excelled in his K4 year and knows many of his letters, phonics and numbers. He isn’t catching on with handwriting yet but we have time! In this house, you get to be a little boy first and a student second.
WordPress is sending me daily emails. Trying to help me with my blog education. Today I was supposed to update my title and tagline.
When we got our first foster care placement back in September, our number of kids went from 5 to 6. At the time, my Instagram account was titled 5grubbworms. That was driving me crazy because now there weren’t just 5 there were 6. Even if Pipsqueak is only here for a little while, she’s a Grubb while she’s here. So I pondered changing it to 6grubbworms but I have no idea if we will foster more children in the future so why place a limit on the number? So my @5grubbworms became @allthelittlegrubbs on Instagram and I liked it so much I decided to revamp the blog name too.
The tagline is a different story and requires a little more explanation.
I love children. All the children. I really do. I’m the grown-up who will fight for the kids. I want to protect them all, heal them all, love them all. I would gladly give them my all.
Unfortunately, I’m also an introvert. Most small humans under the age of 18 tend to be loud and have endless stores of energy and emotional needs. It’s the way they are wired.
In essence, what I love about children – their innocence, kindness, excitement, energy, creativity, transparency, affectionate natures and potential, is also what is so, so exhausting.
Are they worth it though? Are they worth wanting to crawl into a shell after being with them all day? Are they worth never getting to have a complete adult conversation? Of not having time to read a book, or write a blog post, go on trips, etc.? Of course. No doubt.
My new tagline: Give me all the children. Then get them away from me.
Yesterday it finally happened. I was enjoying time with my children and a couple of great friends at my parents’ pool. We were just about to pack up and come home and get ready for church and my phone rang with a local number I didn’t have listed in my contacts. It was DCS Placement! I quickly walked to a quiet spot and held my breath while the lady gave me the details. I told her that I needed to talk with my husband and I would call back as soon as I could. The catch? Chris is in Guam. That’s a HUGE time difference (14 hours to be exact) and he was trying to sleep. It was early morning hours there. She told me that she would continue to try and find a home and then she would call me back if/when she did. I told her I would call her back as soon as I was able to speak with him.
Chris and I had agreed that we would not take a placement without first discussing it and getting a “yes” from both of us. While I waited the 3 or so hours for us to be able to communicate, I prayed like crazy. For any placement, I want our family to be THE place that God would have the child be for the time they need us. I am not so concerned that the child will be a good fit for us, rather the other way around. I want God to be able to use our family, church family, friends to minister to that child. He has to be in control or this whole thing will be a train wreck.
Before I could get Chris on FaceTime or via text, DCS called back. They had found the little girl a home. I was so thankful. Thankful that she would have a place to sleep and more than thankful that God handled the situation better than I would have. In fact, if Chris had been a phone call away, which he almost always is, I would have probably relied on my own logic and arguing to get him to say yes. I don’t know that he would have. We’ve prayed and planned and know that 0-3 years is the age range we feel equipped for right now. But I am a good debater. And Chris, well, he’s a big, ole teddy bear.
That first call came at 3:30pm. When she called me back about 5pm and said “we found her a home,” she was sure to reassure me that they would be calling again. At 8pm, as we pulled into the garage from church, they did call again. This time for a boy, the same age as Foster. I knew I had to say “no”. But that “no” was more heartbreaking than the first call. Thinking of my amazing 12 year old and his friends. The ones who are so full of life, humor, confidence, ideas and insecurities being taken out of their home and placed with strangers? It’s enough to keep you awake at night. Foster said, “I need to start building a room on the house so we could take kids like that. It’s not fair.”
I completely agree with him.
Our journey to foster parenting has reached the next step. Along with the many hours of training classes, we had to gather what felt like a thousand documents, medical records, financial information, shot records (for the dog and the kids), references, insurance documentation and more. I am thankful that I have the history of working with foster care kids and agencies because I really didn’t feel put out by all of this. We had to jump through many other hoops (have a fire extinguisher handy, lock up the medications, etc.). If you are interested in what all we had to do, ask me and I’ll be glad to tell you!
On July 7, 2016 we received an official letter stating that we have been approved as a foster home for the State of Tennessee. I texted my closest people and shared the good news with them. I was thinking that we could get a call at any time. Then, I got a text from our foster parent support worker (social workers are texting these days). He said that we’re NOW fully approved and he wanted to stop by and chat, show me some things on the DCS website and he was giving our names to placement TODAY. That was yesterday. Right before my friend and I were heading out of town for a retreat with some monks (more on that later).
So NOW we are fully approved and even though our parameters are very small (single baby 0-3 years old) and we probably won’t get a call soon, we are ready and we are available!
I continue to be amazed at God’s provision. I’ve been witnessing it for years now but He never fails to provide. Financially, spiritually, relationally.
In April, when we began to take foster parenting classes, Chris and I felt the spiritual attacks. The direct and indirect disapproval of loved ones hurt. Realizing that it is a spiritual battle we’re fighting doesn’t make it any less painful.
God has provided reassurance and peace as only He can. Our marriage is growing stronger and we are realizing the increased amount of faith this ministry will take.
As I’ve made preparations to have an infant/toddler in the house again, God has also provided in practical ways. We’ve been given almost all of the big items and I’ve found great deals at yard sales.
There is no rational reason why our family should be doing this. Taking in another child. Except that there is every reason. No child asks to be torn from all they’ve known and loved and placed with strangers. No infant should be without a momma to hold her close and pray over her little soul as she’s rocked to sleep.
But for the grace of God, there go I. I could have been the one addicted during pregnancy. I could have been the one single, no way to feed my children, no more willpower or strength left to protect them. I could have been the one who lost my temper.
“…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23
Theodore is our little early bird. It doesn’t matter that he’s 8 years old, 99% of the time he is the first one awake and out of his room. As soon as he’s up he comes and finds me and starts asking for food. This is something that hasn’t really changed in the past 8 years. First he was screaming to be nursed and now he’s screaming for breakfast. This morning, I woke up when Chris went fishing (4:30 am…). Since I was already awake for three hours when he got up, I decided to go ahead and let him fix his own breakfast and I joined him with my coffee and eggs.
We’ve been talking a lot in our home about becoming a foster family. We’re listening to a foster parenting podcast in the van as we travel about, we’re discussing it as we rearrange Katie’s room or when the sitter comes so we can go to our foster parenting classes. This morning I took a chance to ask Theodore what he thought of all this, one on one. He tends to be a pessimistic little fellow, so I wasn’t sure how this conversation would go.
Me: “So what do you think about us becoming a foster family?”
Theodore: “Do we have to do a foster parenting podcast?”
Me: (giggling) “No, we don’t have to start our own podcast.”
Theodore: “Well, you need to get a girl Katie’s age because a baby would be too much work.”
Me: “We will probably get someone younger, who isn’t in school yet. Would it be ok to have more work? Isn’t that what God calls us to do? Doesn’t He call us to serve?”
Theodore: “I guess. That’d be OK. I mean, I’m not changing any diapers. You’d have to do that. But I know where the crib would go. On that wall, in Katie’s room, so when the baby cried it would wake us all up.”
Me: “When you were a baby and you cried, Foster and Katie never woke up. Usually only the mommy wakes up.”
Theodore: “Well.” (pauses to think) “I guess it will be good. Until she gets bigger and then I’d have to wait longer to pick.” (Referring to picking a television show, which we do youngest to oldest.)
Me: “Do you know why kids are in foster care? Do you know what God says about orphans? Do you know what an orphan is?”
Me: “Kids are in foster care because their mommies and daddies did not take care of them or protect them the way they should be cared for or protected. An orphan is someone who’s mommy and daddy have died, but most kids in foster care still have parents that are alive.”
Theodore: “So we would help take care of that kind of kid?”
Theodore: “We should do that then.”