This Is What Birth Parents Need

By July 23, 2020July 24th, 2020Blog
I’ll never forget the first phone call we shared. She was very nervous, and so was I. She had her stereotypes of folks like me, and I had mine of folks like her, but when our lives suddenly collided, everything changed.
“Hi, Sandra. I’m Jami.”  
Just a few days earlier, I was pacing the floor. I was nervous, excited, and clueless about the craziness we were about to step into. When the caseworker pulled up, I ran out to the car and, for the first time, saw the two precious boys who would stay with us. The older was so quiet and so scared. I picked him up and kissed him on the forehead and told him, “I’m so glad you are here.”
We had walked through a journey of heartbreak that opened our eyes and our hearts to children in foster care, so when God brought these kids into our home, we were overjoyed. But on the other side of our joy was a family that had been ripped apart. 
On the other side of our joy was a mom and dad whose arms were empty and hearts were broken.
To hear Sandra’s voice that day and to learn her story, her fears, and hopes over the next several months grew in me such love for her.
Sandra was the product of foster care herself, and sadly, like so many others in her situation, the hopeless cycle had continued for her kids. 
When she became pregnant again, she asked me to be there with her as she gave birth. I was honored that she asked me to be there but terrified at the same time. I don’t do well with medical procedures or injuries in general.
Literally, if we were together right now and you started describing your recent surgery, for example, I might just pass out. In fact, this happened once. Clint and I were on vacation, and during our final night there, we dressed up for the white gala ball
Oh yes.
The gal next to me started sharing about the health problem she was struggling with, and I listened intently and sympathetically until I began to feel nauseous. I politely excused myself to go to the restroom, but I couldn’t move. All I could do was squeeze my husband’s shoulder. “I’m going to pass out!”
And then I did. 
Right then and there, I went down. My knight in shining armor caught me before I hit the ground, and I woke up seated yet slumped next to him, and my legs were crossed! Call me graceful. That was definitely a swoon!
Another time, while at the ER with one of my kids, I had to be escorted to the bed across the hall, because I almost passed out while they were making sure he was okay!
And another. 
After a minor surgery on a child’s eyelid, she came back completely swollen and looking much worse than I expected. I started feeling squeamish, and while they checked her vitals, I asked how she was doing. The nurse said, “She’s doing great. She’s doing better than you!” I was completely white! They had to get me a cold sprite and call my husband, who came and picked us BOTH up. I laid in the back of the van and moaned all the way home.
I could go on and on. 
And so, I knew that if I were going to be any support to Sandra that day, the Lord would have to work supernaturally in me!
I’ll never forget that day. The phone call came at 9 am. She was having contractions every few minutes and needed a ride to the hospital as there was no gas in their car. I was getting ready to take the kids to school. I called Clint, and he was able to pick her up and take her to the hospital.
I arrived about 45 minutes later, and after her pain was under control, she started telling me about how Clint had picked her up. He cleaned off the seat for her and made jokes about how long it had been since he’d taken a pregnant woman to the hospital. She hadn’t found it very funny at the time as she was in pain, but nevertheless, the fact that he came meant the world to her. I could see it all over her. She felt so special, so cared for, so loved.
I kept thinking of my mom while with Sandra that day. I thought about how important her presence continues to be in my life, and I saw firsthand how powerful my presence was to Sandra. At one point, I was going to grab some lunch, but before I even walked out the door, she stopped me, “Can you come right back up?”
It was evident: there is power in just being there.
I sat with Sandra, breathed with her, encouraged her, and stayed by her side during her labor and delivery that day. She asked me to cut the baby’s cord, and I held him 5 minutes after he was born, sang Jesus Loves Me to him, and whispered prayers over his life. That day was profound, and one I will never forget.
Sandra has made mistakes, yes. Big ones. But Sandra, like me, was created by God for a beautiful purpose. She is His prized possession. She is deserving of dignity, respect, and love.
People like Sandra don’t need our judgment. They need our presence. They need us to step into their lives—to walk along with them and show them Jesus through the way we live. They need us to believe in them, to mentor them, and to invest in them.
Birth parents are not the enemy. 

Jami Kaeb

Adoption, foster care, and advocacy were not part of Jami’s dreams for her life, but God changed her heart when He made her aware, and she is passionate about helping others become aware too! She and her husband Clint are parents to their seven children (five through adoption).

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