The Grackle

Observations, Reflections and Miscellany from the Wacoan

Sisters Bridging Foster Care Gap in Waco

The Spinks’ Aren’t Your Typical Foster Parents

3 weeks ago

Pictured: Stacy (Right) Courtney (Left)

By Avery Ballmann

An early Sunday morning was just like every other for the Spink sisters. As they shuffled into the church rows to find their seats, they were prepared for a sermon, but not for their pastor to speak about foster parenting. Stacy Spink said her pastor notified the congregation that if everyone in the room took in a foster child, the foster care need in Waco would be nonexistent. Using sister telepathy, Stacy and Courtney Spink immediately thought, “That’s us,” and began the process of becoming foster parents as soon as church let out. The Spinks are sisters, best friends and — beginning in 2019 — they became your not-so-typical foster parents.


“We just feel so called to it and I think part of it has even been in the school setting,” Stacy said. “We’ve seen the brokenness and what it looks like when kids come in and have needs that need to be met. To be on the flip side of that and be meeting the needs at home, it’s just really special.”


Not only do the sisters share a home, but they also work together at Castleman Creek Elementary. Stacy is a Kindergarten teacher and Courtney is a Behavioral Specialist. While the sisters see the need for a better foster care system at school, they were also exposed to this gap when they were children. Their father was a youth minister who always opened his doors to children in need, and now Stacy and Courtney are practicing the same selflessness all these years later.


Stacy and Courtney went through the strenuous process of becoming foster parents with a myriad of inspections, background checks and training. The Spinks are licensed through Arrow Child and Family Ministries, a local nonprofit providing foster care parent training and other resources with a Christian mission statement in mind. The sisters have received placements across Texas including San Antonio, Abilene and McLennan County, and while not all placements are the same, Stacy and Courtney’s support is.


“I think the way that God created us was to become attached and to be in relation with people. So, of course kids come into your home, and you fall in love with them right away — that’s what you were created to do,” Courtney said. “It’s cheesy and overdone but it’s like, ‘Don’t get too attached.’ The purpose is to get too attached. I think it’s when kids come into the home, and you see all this growth. Every single placement that’s come to us, they’re different kids when they leave.”


A typical day for a foster placement with Stacy and Courtney starts with breakfast, school, after-school karate practice (their current placement just received their yellow striped belt), dinner at the table, homework, chores and a prayer before bed. Courtney said the nighttime is the most difficult because their placements typically have never had a routine — some placements have never had these typical experiences, like going out to eat at a restaurant.


“One of the most fun parts is getting to fill them with experiences for however long they’re with us, even things as simple as riding scooters around Baylor’s campus. That’s something they would have never done or been exposed to before,” Stacy said. “To things as big as going to the beach or SeaWorld or to another state. I feel like that’s just so cool for them to realize ‘Oh my gosh, there’s a whole other life out there.’”


While the Spinks’ placements are discovering a new world, some may wonder why the sisters would sacrifice the ‘normal’ mile markers of their twenties, especially since they already work with children eight hours a day Monday through Friday. But for Stacy and Courtney, the answer is simple — they feel called to do this work and have always been passionate about standing in the gap.


“I think (God) has equipped us and created us to do that,” Courtney said. “And so, He gives us the capacity and the desire to keep going even when it’s not that fun.”


Not only are Stacy and Courtney supporting foster children, but they also want to help their parents as well. The Spinks said they assure the biological parents that they are not looking to adopt, but to simply help them during this difficult time in their life. Courtney said even after placements leave, they still offer to help where they can, something the foster care system does not incorporate into rehabilitation efforts.


While the sisters are supporting placements and their biological family, they said their support comes from their life group at church, local organizations such as Isaiah 117 House and each other.


“It would not be possible. I also think I would not want to do this alone,” Stacy said. “If I didn’t have Courtney in this, I would be like, ‘This is too heavy of a weight to balance and carry.’”


While sisters normally support each other with picking out outfits, getting over exes and paying for each other’s coffee, the Spinks are supporting one another when a placement first comes and leaves and all of the stuff in between. Stacy and Courtney may not be living a typical life for women in their twenties, but they don’t want to. They said they truly feel called to do this work and when a placement leaves their home, they quickly become bored and are eager to help the next child.


“There are days where I am like, ‘Why are we doing this?’ You know? This is so hard and I’m tired and I’m frustrated,” Stacy said. “But I do think again, at the end of the day, it’s so humbling. This is what the Lord has for us.”