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Volunteers finish basement bedrooms so Grimm family may proceed with adoption

Foster parents Thomas and Jennifer Grimm of Dickinson were recently given the opportunity to adopt their 4-year-old foster son.

With four children of their own, they had room in their hearts, but not in their house. How could they solve the dilemma?

Thomas Grimm relocated to Dickinson from Billings, Mont., in March 2011.

"I lived in a travel trailer for a while -- I called it my North Dakota initiation," he said.

With few rental opportunities, the Grimm family purchased a two-bedroom house from Victory Homes in April with the intention of finishing the bedrooms downstairs when they had more time.

"We came to Dickinson to take advantage of the work opportunities," Thomas Grimm said. "I opened an office for my civil engineering firm here."

They were foster parents in Montana, having cared for their foster son when he was age 2. Six months later, the child returned to his mother. Then the Montana foster agency said he was available for adoption.

"We were caught off guard and not prepared for it," Thomas Grimm said. "We were trying to make this transition into North Dakota at the same time I was opening an office, moving our family here and now working toward an adoption."

They didn't mind being crowded into the two bedrooms upstairs, but licensing by the state of North Dakota was a different matter.

"We had three weeks to firm up the inside, but it was difficult to find anybody to help out," Grimm said.

That's when Victory Homes project manager Dean Biernacki learned about their situation.

While Biernacki was installing a microrange hood at the Grimm home, Jennifer casually spoke about their desire to adopt their son, but needing the basement finished.

"She was holding back tears," he said.

He told her, "We need to get this done."

Biernacki organized a team of volunteers -- himself and a laborer, along with carpenters and electricians from other companies. The volunteers made time to complete the wiring, sheet rock, tape and texturing and cleaning.

"The Grimm family are super people and it's been a privilege to help them," he said.

Victory Homes is working in a joint venture with Vista Homes to build a neighborhood in Dickinson.

"We're building a community," Biernacki said. "One of the major things Jennifer said to me was she felt totally safe in her new neighborhood."

The family's children moved into their bedrooms Wednesday. In addition to their foster son, their family includes Sarah, 6; Hannah, 4; Ella, 2 and Boaz, 1.

"We've been totally overwhelmed by it," Grimm said. "They've been very generous and compassionate."

Jennifer Grimm is amazed how the volunteers could work all day at a job site and find time to help them as well.

"We've feel so blessed by this community -- the guys around here have come to know us and care for us," Jennifer Grimm said. "They love us and we love them."

With the lower level completed, the Grimms are ready for the home study by Stark County Social Services.