Mother’s Day is one of our favorite holidays at Rubies Home Furnishings. The store was named after Ruby Sherman, the grandmother of owners Kim Smith and Karlyn Pugh. When deciding the name, Kim and Karlyn wanted to honor their grandmother who exemplified a Proverbs 31 woman, often referring to scripture, “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies” from Proverbs 31:10. The heart and mission of Rubies Home Furnishings is to make the homes of each customer a treasure – extending peace, warmth and joy through something as small as a coffee mug or candle to something as large as a dining table or living room sofa.
At Rubies, we know that mothers can carry a lot of responsibility when it comes to the home. Mothers are there to wipe our tears when things feel sideways and are at the front of the crowd cheering us on in all of our successes. We also understand that a lot of women – whether it be a birth mother, a stepmother, foster mother, adoptive mother or even a close family friend or aunt – can take on the title and honor of “mom” as a role model and caretaker for a child. In honor of mothers everywhere, we want to honor all of you. And today, we are featuring one of our favorite local moms, Lauren Gebauer.
It Starts in the Heart
Both Lauren and her husband, Ben, had a heart for adoption even before they met and were married. Lauren says that she began silently researching adoption about a year into their marriage. During her research, she was led to some information about adoption through foster care. She brought this up casually in discussion with Ben, and while he agreed that this might be something they should consider, he felt it wasn’t yet the time for them to pursue it.
A little over three years ago, Lauren said she really felt the prompting once again to find out more information about foster care. Lauren and Ben attended an interest meeting. Before they exited the parking lot after the meeting, Ben said, “I think we should go for it!” The couple began attending the necessary classes and home studies to earn their foster care license, which they officially received on April 27, 2016.
Just after a month of being licensed for foster care, they received a placement on May 26, 2016 – a little boy. Since their first placement, who still lives with them today, Lauren and Ben have had seven other children come in and out of their home. Lauren realizes that not all husbands and wives are on the same page when it comes to deciding whether or when to foster or adopt, but she believes that since God called them both to adopt when they were young and unmarried, it has made the process so much easier for them as a couple.
On Being a Mom
With packed schedules and lives full of commitments and events that don’t leave us much room to relax, Lauren believes motherhood has taught her to slow down and enjoy each moment. When she looks at the children in her home, it’s easy for her mind to wander in a million directions, thinking about their futures and who they will become. It’s those times that Lauren reminds herself to be present and not to forget the simple, beautiful moments that each day brings.
When it comes to challenges, Lauren says that parenting constantly reminds her that she is far from perfect. She feels that society, social media and even other moms sometimes place too much pressure on parents to feel the need to be perfect, when it’s impossible to expect anyone to fit that standard. Having grace for herself is an important lesson motherhood has taught her.
Wisdom from a Foster Mama
In the same way new biological parents can feel overwhelmed or ill-prepared as they start their journey in parenting, Lauren says that it is the same for foster care. There are many things she wishes they had known before they began their journey as foster parents (check it out on her blog here). She says the best advice she would give to anyone beginning the journey into foster care is to set up a good support system. The agency that a family fosters through generally do not have resources available to advocate for the foster parents or look out for their best interests. She believes finding family, friends, a home church and even other foster families to walk the long road with you is important.
Inspiration That Leads to Impact
Lauren spent a large amount of her childhood on stage or in rehearsals and she credits the majority of her positive childhood memories to her mother. Now, being a mother herself, she says she realizes just how much her own mom sacrificed to allow her to participate in so many things. In talking about her mom, Lauren says, “She worked full-time in the medical field and also drove my brother and I around to rehearsals, sewed costumes, spray painted tap shoes and curled hair, while somehow still managing to have amazing food on the table for us every night.” Lauren calls her mom a real-life Wonder Woman.
Today, the influence of Lauren’s mother plays a big role in how she loves on and nurtures the little ones in her care. Lauren is now setting her own example for what love looks like and, ultimately, that love will continue to make an impact for generations.
Connecting with other foster parents, she says that every few weeks she would see someone ask for recommendations for books for foster children that would relate to what they were going through. Lauren’s journey through foster parenting led her to write a book for young foster children, a short and encouraging read, called Come to Find Out. You can purchase her book on Amazon here.
To read more about Lauren and her journey through life and as a foster mom, you can check out her blog at https://laurenmargaret.com.