‘I was driving with my newborn in the back. ‘Can you take in a 12-month-old emergency placement for a few days?’: New mom takes in child from foster care, ‘Bubba is one in a million’

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“‘But…we have a four-month old!’ I hesitantly told the case worker. And to think, I almost missed out on saying ‘yes’ to my son’s best friend.

Foster care and adoption were always things we said we would do ‘someday’ when we were older, when our (hoped for) kids were grown and we ‘had our lives together.’ This is not how our story has unfolded in any way, but I wouldn’t change it for the world.

Being a foster parent is one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever had, as well as the hardest job I’ve ever had. Foster care and adoption are not always beautiful stories tied up neatly with a bow; they are formed out of brokenness. They often feel messy and icky and broken, because they are. However, beautiful things can be born out of this brokenness. Foster and adoptive parents aren’t meant to be the heroes of the story; however, they can play a part in the redemption story already being written within the lives of children and their families.

Two years ago, we said yes to being a long-term foster placement for a 12-month-old little boy when we had just had our first biological son a mere four months earlier. It was (and will forever be) one of my favorite ‘yes’ moments of my life. ‘Bubba’ is truly a one in a million child. He is passionate, brilliant, joyful, inquisitive, and kind. His smiles, hugs, and dance moves can light up any room. Being his second momma is a joy and an honor.

Courtesy of Tricia Holliday

When we began our foster parent journey, I was in my first year of being a speech language pathologist in the school system, and I simply fell head-over-heels in love with a little 5-year-old babe who was in foster care. He was the first tiny human I had ever truly met who was in foster care, and he blew up every idea, fear, or misconception I had of kids in care. He made the statistics real, and I couldn’t keep ignoring them (kids sleeping in offices in our state, over a half a million kids in care needing homes, etc.). I firmly believe this one little kiddo was in my life to propel our foster care journey.

Then, that same school year, I had over 5 kiddos in care on my caseload. It was like God kept bringing these kids to my attention to say, ‘You can do this now.’ Over and over again. Thank goodness I was in an incredibly supportive community life group, because they listened to me sort through a lot that year. I was a mush ball over loving these kids. I was furious when some of them went back to situations they shouldn’t have. I also got to see beautiful redemption stories. All in the span of a few months. That community group ended up all jumping in together and decided to actually do something instead of talking about it, so a chunk of us did the training together.

(Now, three years later, one of those couples has adopted two teen girls, two of the families are in the process of adopting, and countless kiddos in need of short-term and long-term care have been in and out of our homes.) We started foster care training the week that Bubba was born. Although he didn’t come into our lives until the next year, it is sweet to look back and see how all the pieces were being beautifully knit together before we even knew he existed.

Courtesy of Tricia Holliday

When we first got the call for ‘Bubba,’ we weren’t even listed as available to take long-term placements (due to having a new baby at home). I was driving home with my four-month old sitting in the back. I put my phone on speaker and listened as the worker asked if we would be able to take in a 12-month-old little boy as an emergency placement for a few days until the agency could find a more long-term home for him. I went through the mental checklist in my head: Do we have an extra car seat? Check. Someone we still don’t know found out we had gotten licensed and dropped off a free car seat to us in our church office. Do we a place for him to sleep? Check. Our biological son could sleep in our pack and play for a few days…right?

The case worker then casually mentioned, ‘You would be the first considered to be his long-term placement if you decided you could do that.’ I laughed at her! I assured her we would absolutely not be able to be his long-term home, because we had a four-month old, of course. Well, within the first few days, we had called the agency to tell them we would like to be his long-term placement. We were all absolutely smitten with him, including our son. He fit in perfectly with our family, and we were ready to commit to him being in our home for however long he needed us. It was an easy yes for us (although our friends and family probably thought we were crazy for committing to having babies 8 months apart).

Courtesy of Tricia Holliday

Those early weeks with two babies were a blur, but they were filled with so much joy (and lots of caffeine). I woke up one morning in those early days to a sweet note from the all-time MVP of a husband which said, ‘Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to have a foster child along with having our son, but I think when we least expect something to occur, that’s when God shows up. Two babies are challenging in different ways. Yes, it might seem crazy we are willing to walk into this. God called us into this and he has a good and perfect plan.’ Every day since has shown me there truly has been a good and perfect plan for our little crew.

Although it was an easy ‘yes,’ it did not come without some fear and anxiety in my heart over how this would all impact our biological son. (Plus, let’s be real, I was a brand-new mom and was still in the googling anything and everything stage.) I’m so thankful fear didn’t stop us from bringing our son’s best friend into our lives. Our boys don’t know life without each other. They are two peas in a pod, creating (and destroying) things together all day every day. I would choose them for each other over and over again. Watching their relationship is one of the greatest joys in my life. We’ve also recently added a sweet little sister to the mix, and are living (and loving) that three under three life. Some day, hopefully soon, we will all get to share the same last name!

Courtesy of Nelson & Co Photography

I think about all the things we could have missed. We could have missed their special giggles reserved only for each other, or the way they stay up talking and singing in their cribs, or the way they take on the world together — balancing out and capitalizing on their own unique strengths. I’m so excited to watch these two grow up together (and slightly terrified of the mischief they’ll get into as teenagers)! I’m confident these two special little boys are going to be a part of the change our world desperately needs right now. I’m so thankful we didn’t miss out on this wild and wonderful life we get to live by waiting on our ‘someday.'”

Courtesy of Tricia Holliday
Courtesy of Nelson & Co Photography
Courtesy of Nelson & Co Photography
Courtesy of Nelson & Co Photography

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Tricia Holliday. You can follow Tricia’s journey on Instagram. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

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‘I’ve wanted to be adopted all the time I’ve been in foster care. This is the best day of my life!’ I squeezed his hand. ‘It’s the best day of mine, too.’: Single dad adopts boy from foster care, ‘Love defines our family’

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