Posted 7/05/16 (Tue)
By Carrie Sandstrom
Renae Stubbs and her husband Starrsky Stubbs drive a “gigantic” blue van. It’s a little ridiculous, Renae says. But the lack of conventional transportation doesn’t correlate with a lack of compassion, which is why they became licensed foster parents earlier this year. For them, it’s all about walking alongside the community.
The family moved to Crosby with their three children – Titus, 9; Mira, 7; and Jubilee, 4 – from Alaska a year ago, for work. Renae says, the city is where the family was supposed to be.
Although they initially thought about growing their family through adoption, Renae says the idea of being foster parents “wouldn’t leave them alone,” first as a way to grow their family and then as a way to be a part of the community.
“It became a deep desire to be advocates for families in need because it could just as easily be us,” Renae says. “We believe in coming alongside families, and not just with foster care, but we feel strongly about coming alongside families before it even gets there.”
Looking outside of themselves and caring for others is a family mission, Renae says. And it’s something that, like foster care, all members of the family participate in, according to the Stubbs’ son, Titus.
“Already our kids have been affected,” Renae said. “They care about the kids who have come into our home, they pray for them, they talk about them sometimes and they look forward to when more kids will come into our home.”
The Stubbs’ youngest daughter, Jubilee, says they help kids while their moms get healthy, but Renae admits that it can be hard to have children stay for a short period of time. Saying goodbye to their foster kids comes with a variety of emotions for the family, but they use these experiences to grow and reflect.
“The placements that we’ve had have been growing experiences for our family,” Renae said. “We have lots of opportunities with our kids to have deep conversations that wouldn’t necessarily come up otherwise, conversations about those people’s situations.”
For this family, foster care is all about helping people, being present with them and walking alongside them. Although it took them a few years to initially warm up to the idea of being foster parents, Renae says prayer and conversation led them to make the jump. Now, being foster parents is a key way she and her family show their investment in the community.
“I feel like the community realizes that we’re here to stay and that we care,” Renae said. “We don’t have to be locals, we haven’t lived here for centuries, we don’t have a farm. We’re renting . . . But, I feel like we have a place here, and I feel like, hopefully, we’re inspiring others to care more about the community too.”
Since coming to Crosby, Renae says she’s been impressed with how kind people have been, how they’ve stepped up to help one another out. Foster care has been a big part of that for her and her family, but, she says foster care is just one way for people to show they care.
“Foster families are needed no matter what,” Renae says. “But I think, even more than being foster parents, I would recommend people in the community look outside their boxes and their bubbles and care about the cashier at the grocery store, show care to the person at the park or their neighbor or the other family on the T-ball team. Yes, foster care is important, but that stuff is what creates community.