EARLY MAN STEPS UP TO BE A ‘FATHER TO THE FATHERLESS’ THROUGH FOSTER CARE
Posted by Brownwood News | Jun 18, 2017 | Brownwood News, Early, Texas News, Life | 0
Written by Amanda Coers –
Jared Trowbridge seems like a fairly average, active 26 year old man. He enjoys the outdoors, and has traveled a bit, is dedicated to his career and works hard, with both a full time and part time job. He’s the Area Manager at Encompass Home Health & Hospice, and works part time as a marketing liaison for HealthSouth. He serves on the board of directors for the Early Chamber of Commerce, as well as on the board for the local Boys and Girls Club. He’s also raising two adopted sons, and fostering four other young boys, all on his own as a single dad.
Trowbridge has two adopted sons, Gavin – age 14, and Robert – age 11, and is currently fostering four young boys, ranging in age from 11 to 4 years old. It certainly might seem unusual, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. “My best friend’s family did foster care growing up. So I was around the foster home a lot,” said Trowbridge of how he got started in foster care. His friend’s family ran a group home with up to 12 kids at a time. At age 21, he was a certified respite provider, offering a short break for foster families.
When his childhood friend’s family experienced a divorce and was in danger of losing the sibling group they had housed for years, Trowbridge stepped up to fill a need. He became a certified foster parent and lived in an apartment on the property in order to help with the foster home. And eventually, Trowbridge began fostering on his own through the Caring Hearts for Children agency.
His first child to foster, Gavin, became his adopted son. “Gavin was my very first kiddo,” said Trowbridge. He fostered Gavin for two years, and the adoption came as a bit of a surprise. “We were going to court for Gavin, and he was supposed to go home that day. Our car was packed with all of his stuff. He asked to speak to the judge in the middle of court and said that he wanted to stay.” The boy’s biological mother relinquished her rights, and Gavin went back home with Trowbridge.
“It was very hectic, we hadn’t talked about it before,” he said. On November 17th, 2016, Jared Trowbridge adopted Gavin, along with another foster child, Robert, who had been with the pair for a year, under the guidance of the New Horizons Adoption Agency.
“Most people who don’t know us, say my boys look like me and act like me,” he laughed.
Perhaps that’s because they are his. And that feeling is extended to the foster children in his home.
“People will ask us when we’re out, ‘Are all these your kids?’ and I say yes, they are. Because I don’t want any of my kids to hear, ‘they’re foster kids’ I don’t want them to feel any less important than anyone else in my family.”
Trowbridge credits both his sons for being very helpful with the younger foster children in their home. And like many single parents know, there are unique struggles that come with the job.
“There’s never a break,” he admitted. “Even when you’re sick you’re still going.” Last month the household came down with a stomach bug at the same time. “That was kind of miserable, because you just want to lay in bed, but there’s six other people you have to take care of.”
To manage, he’s picked up a few handy tips and tricks over the years and runs a pretty tight ship at home. The family wakes up fairly early each day, with showers split between mornings and evenings to accommodate everyone. The children’s outfits are laid out the night before to prepare for the morning rush. Trowbridge himself wakes up at least an hour before the children, around 5 a.m. and doesn’t normally turn in until very late in the evening, usually well after midnight.
He even manages the oft-dreaded task of shopping with a large group of children. Two full baskets and six kids in tow earns him a few stares as they walk out the door of the grocery store. It’s an unusual site to see a young man corralling a large brood.
But, like any good dad, Trowbridge also makes time for plenty of family fun.
“We’re always on the go, with season passes to Six Flags and Sea World. We camp, and go to the lake often,” he said. “I keep them as busy as possible, so they stay out of trouble.”
“It’s hard to pull from an empty cup,” said Trowbridge, explaining their hope for a slower pace. “I don’t want to get to that spot where I can’t give good care.” His Father’s Day advice to new dads starting out is simple. “Be there for your kids,” he said. “A lot of the kids I’ve dealt with, they haven’t had a parent figure they could go to and trust. That’s one of the things I stress to my kids, if you have a problem, let’s talk about it.”
He feels many of the children in his care have suffered from always being put last.
“I don’t let any person take priority over my kids. That’s probably why I’m still single, but I’m not in a rush. My kids have lived through being put last for too long,” said Trowbridge.
He says he and his sons don’t have plans to adopt more children currently, but there would always be that possibility “If it happens, it happens. I didn’t set out to adopt the two boys I have, but it happened,” he said with a smile.