Interview: Nancy Grubbs: A Different Kind of Warrior

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Secretum Meum Mihi Press

Interview: Nancy Grubbs, A Different Kind of Warrior

by Kristen West McGuire

(Nancy Grubbs is the mother of four children, one of whom has severe autism. Before motherhood, she worked for Concerned Women of America, and was a drill sergeant in the U.S. Coast Guard’s Presidential Honor Guard. This interview was conducted in 2007.)

Kristen: When did you become a mother?

Nancy: My newbie Catholic faith, deepened through the oven-blast desert of infertility, really was scorched up a notch when God brought us new life through adoption.

Following roughly nine months of paperwork and St. Gerard’s intervention, our five week old son arrived in 1994 with a very difficult birth history. Six months later, a dynamic duo of girls arrived, one just shy of a year old, the other barely two. Six months, three babies… Oy, the infertility was the easy part!

Kristen: Were you scared in those early months?

Nancy: Yes, but not for the reasons you would think. Shortly before the girls arrived, their maternal grandmother gave me pictures of their baptism. It was literally over fire, a black baptism, an occult ritual. This was unexpected. Fortunately, I understood the seriousness of this history. I had even attended Spiritual Warfare Training at the Intercessors of the Lamb in Omaha, Nebraska.

We couldn’t legally baptize them for sixteen months. Armed with Holy Water, Blessed Oils, Blessed Salt and Objects, Divine Mercy chaplets, and a fresh new confession on my part to clear the decks; we took the girls to a Deacon for a cleansing prayer. God won! They are devout Catholics today, literally plucked from the fire.

Kristen: What about your son?

Nancy: It turns out that he is autistic. Dragging three toddlers around to fifteen appointments a week for quite some time with a negative sleep factor was body and mind crushing. Autism with ‘possibilities’ morphed into autism with severe “delays.” (I love that word, it almost gives you hope.) But, changing the diapers of a 12 year old boy going through puberty relinquishes that hope and replaces it with the knowledge that you do not have your mother’s life.

Kristen: Had you ever considered adopting special needs children?

Nancy: Absolutely not. I just wanted to have children. During the infertility process, God broke down my barriers built on what I thought life would be like and eventually, I came over to His side. But, from the time I was a kid, I always thought adoption was the coolest.

Kristen: Do the girls have similar issues?

Nancy: Matthew was the bigger blip on a very busy screen filled with blips. We adopted another little guy in 2000, who is the spitting image of his older sister in word and deed. All three have issues, but less severe than Matthew.

We’ve filled out the case history clipboard at over 110 professionals and 33 in-home therapists. I did enough research to qualify for a Ph.D., learning about autistic spectrum disorders, learning disabilities, ADHD, sensory processing, and fine and gross motor deficits, along with the normal adoptive issues such as extreme fears, attachment disorder and birthparent experiences.

Kristen: Have you seen improvements?

Nancy: Things are easier and simpler. For three of the four, most people don’t even know they are different. I’ve always enjoyed being unique, and God made sure that it was a hallmark. We always stand out in a crowd, our son makes sure of that. His vocalizations are so loud and piercing that people actually cover their ears in pain.

Still, we were able to go to Disneyland recently as a family. That was very exciting.

Kristen: Do you worry about the future?

Nancy: We have no idea if we will still be sleeping with our kid in our bed when he is waking up and needing a shave. Our marriage is strong, our family is supportive, we are flexible, and our desires for our children will only be what they desire for themselves. We pray that we can still care for our son’s needs when we are very old, then hopefully, his siblings will take over.

Kristen: Where is God in all this?

Nancy: We have been stripped of the things that tempt many because the choice has always been for our children’s needs. We have purity in our intentions, our goals, and our desires as a natural side-effect. The “littlest one”, the one who will never be a “productive” member of society, he is the Great Equalizer. He is the substrate that defines our family. Ultimately, his face is the Face of God for us.

Kristen: I think I see what you mean. He helps you to serve, just like Jesus came to serve, and not be served.

Nancy: Exactly. It’s amazing to watch what God can help our son to do despite his delays and weaknesses. Surely, God can show us mercy in our own weakness as we lean on him for every step of that walk.

We all have our “threshing floor” especially chosen for our purification. So, then, shall we not drink the cup which the Father has given us?

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