Jami Kaeb

{Hitting Repeat} Just Because It’s Hard Doesn’t Make It Wrong

“But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God.” Phil 2:17

This fostering journey has taken it’s toll on me emotionally and physically but it has grown me spiritually. My natural tendency is to think that when it is hard or when I see myself or my kids being affected that we shouldn’t have done this. But, that’s simply not true. We know that we are right where we are supposed to be. We didn’t make a mistake.

Somehow, we have this notion in our heads that if we’re in God’s will, life will be easy and uncomplicated. Things will make sense but that is just not the case. If it were, where would faith come in? Why would we need to be dependent on Him?

I’ve been pondering the story of Jesus’s birth – The Story. Mary was pregnant with the Son of God. The King. The Savior Himself. And yet Mary and Joseph went from Inn to Inn looking for a place to rest. They had to question what in the world was going on. “God, you want this baby to be born healthy don’t you? We need a place to stop. Why are there no rooms? I thought this was Your plan but it doesn’t make sense to us. It hurts.”

In our own waiting seasons, don’t we find ourselves asking the same types of questions? Mary’s situation was not easy or uncomplicated. It was definitely not comfortable. She was affected in many ways and yet through her obedience, she received the greatest gift imaginable. She held Jesus in her very arms. She cared for the King of Kings. I cannot grasp this really.

In our situation, I have come to realize that I need more help. I have always been full of emotion but with the added stress that six kids brings (and oh they do!), my lows have been lower, and I need some help with steadying out my hormone levels. I’ve talked with my Dr. and we have a plan to try out some medication.

This is not really fun for me to share but I do so because I want you to know the realities. I know there are differing opinions on this whole issue but we believe that this is the right next step for me.

Even so, I struggled with this. One of my biggest fears going into fostering was that I would “wither up like an old dead flower” and let me tell you, Satan has been throwing that back in my face. “Look, Jami. You have failed, you can’t handle it. You are losing.” But I am not accepting his lies nor his evil whispers. I will choose to listen to the Voice of Truth. He tells me “You don’t need to handle it. I am in control. I have given doctors the ability to help you. This is My provision right now.

When I am weak, He is strong. His strength is made perfect in my weakness. He doesn’t call us to pull up our bootstraps and work harder for Him, He knows our weaknesses. He just wants us to look to Him and be led by Him. He calls us to obedience, no matter what the cost. Even if that means the decline of health. Even if that means pain. He died for us. Why should we not suffer for Him? In our situation, my “suffering” pales in comparison to what the three little ones in our care have experienced. They are worth it.

_______________________________

Jami Kaeb

Jami Kaeb is wife to Clint and together they have six children (four of whom were adopted). After having her eyes opened to the overwhelming needs of those in the foster care system, she began a journey that ultimately led her to found The Forgotten Initiative (TFI). TFI equips and supports “Forgotten Advocates” to bridge the gap between Agencies and the Church, bringing joy and purpose to the foster care community. Learn more at www.theforgotteninitiative.org. Jami loves coffee. A lot. And connecting with others. When the two are mixed, she is especially happy! You can get to know her better through her blog at www.lifewithapersonalgod.org.

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What They Really Want for Christmas

The other day in church, we heard a message that really impacted me and also caused me to fight back the tears. One of our pastors brought his beautiful young daughter with him as he shared that she was “my daughter.” He talked about how significant was the fact that she was his – not just “a daughter but my daughter.” He then related this to our relationship with Jesus – for those who know Him personally – He is not just Lord. He is my Lord. He is not only Savior of the World, He is my Savior.

As He talked, I couldn’t help but think of children all across the U.S. who have no one to call them “mine.” The tears welled up in my eyes as I thought of the desperate prayers prayed by those who feel so alone. So many children – hundreds of thousands – who want nothing more then a family to love them.

It is a hard thing to grasp – hundreds of thousands – but let me tell you about one.

A man in his early fourties shared his story on video. He talked about how he grew up in foster care and eventually aged out of the system, never to be adopted. Against all odds, he became very successful, ran a nonprofit, and helped many people in his similar situation. But as a grown man, he still carried a deep wound. “I just wonder,” he said into the camera, “after all that I’ve accomplished, after all that I’ve done, who wouldn’t be proud to call me son now?”

There are children dying inside – children in your community and mine. Some who need forever families. Some who need foster families to walk with them for a time. They need you, and they need me. During this Christmas season, let’s not forget those who are alone. While we’re celebrating with our families, let’s pray for those who desperately long for a family.

Will you consider becoming a family to a child? Or would you consider opening your doors and coming alongside another family in need? Will you be available to learn more? To be exposed to the need? To walk through one door?

_______________________________

Jami Kaeb

Jami Kaeb is wife to Clint and together they have six children (four of whom were adopted). After having her eyes opened to the overwhelming needs of those in the foster care system, she began a journey that ultimately led her to found The Forgotten Initiative (TFI). TFI equips and supports “Forgotten Advocates” to bridge the gap between Agencies and the Church, bringing joy and purpose to the foster care community. Learn more at www.theforgotteninitiative.org. Jami loves coffee. A lot. And connecting with others. When the two are mixed, she is especially happy! You can get to know her better through her blog at www.lifewithapersonalgod.org.

Just Because It’s Hard Doesn’t Make It Wrong

“But I will rejoice even if I lose my life, pouring it out like a liquid offering to God.” Phil 2:17

This fostering journey has taken it’s toll on me emotionally and physically but it has grown me spiritually. My natural tendency is to think that when it is hard or when I see myself or my kids being affected that we shouldn’t have done this. But, that’s simply not true. We know that we are right where we are supposed to be. We didn’t make a mistake.

Somehow, we have this notion in our heads that if we’re in God’s will, life will be easy and uncomplicated. Things will make sense but that is just not the case. If it were, where would faith come in? Why would we need to be dependent on Him?

I’ve been pondering the story of Jesus’s birth – The Story. Mary was pregnant with the Son of God. The King. The Savior Himself. And yet Mary and Joseph went from Inn to Inn looking for a place to rest. They had to question what in the world was going on. “God, you want this baby to be born healthy don’t you? We need a place to stop. Why are there no rooms? I thought this was Your plan but it doesn’t make sense to us. It hurts.”

In our own waiting seasons, don’t we find ourselves asking the same types of questions? Mary’s situation was not easy or uncomplicated. It was definitely not comfortable. She was affected in many ways and yet through her obedience, she received the greatest gift imaginable. She held Jesus in her very arms. She cared for the King of Kings. I cannot grasp this really.

In our situation, I have come to realize that I need more help. I have always been full of emotion but with the added stress that six kids brings (and oh they do!), my lows have been lower, and I need some help with steadying out my hormone levels. I’ve talked with my Dr. and we have a plan to try out some medication.

This is not really fun for me to share but I do so because I want you to know the realities. I know there are differing opinions on this whole issue but we believe that this is the right next step for me.

Even so, I struggled with this. One of my biggest fears going into fostering was that I would “wither up like an old dead flower” and let me tell you, Satan has been throwing that back in my face. “Look, Jami. You have failed, you can’t handle it. You are losing.” But I am not accepting his lies nor his evil whispers. I will choose to listen to the Voice of Truth. He tells me “You don’t need to handle it. I am in control. I have given doctors the ability to help you. This is My provision right now.

When I am weak, He is strong. His strength is made perfect in my weakness. He doesn’t call us to pull up our bootstraps and work harder for Him, He knows our weaknesses. He just wants us to look to Him and be led by Him. He calls us to obedience, no matter what the cost. Even if that means the decline of health. Even if that means pain. He died for us. Why should we not suffer for Him? In our situation, my “suffering” pales in comparison to what the three little ones in our care have experienced. They are worth it.

________________________________________

Jami Kaeb

Hi, I’m Jami! I love Jesus, and I just want to know Him more! I have been married to my man Clint for 10 years, and we are both passionate about foster care and adoption. Currently, we have six kids in our home (ages 7 and under!)–two daughters by birth, our son who we adopted from Guatemala, and three more we are fostering. Though I am always behind on laundry and sometimes feel like one more dirty diaper may just do me in, I receive exponentially more hugs and kisses too. How can one argue with that?! I love connecting with other women especially if a cup of coffee with whipped cream is in hand! I also do that through my blog and when I’m speaking to women’s groups or at orphan care events. My heart is to be a voice for the voiceless and mobilize those around me to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the world. Life is abundant and God is faithful!

On Fatherhood: She Misses Her Daddy

Originally posted in October of 2010…

________________________________________

Our little “L” has always been a daddy’s girl. Due to reasons I won’t go into here, she hasn’t seen her daddy for several weeks. Normally, she visits her parents once a week right after nap time. Lately, while putting her to nap or bed, she’s been asking “See Daddy?”

I always have had to respond the same. “No honey, you’re not going to see your daddy today.” I’ve shared with her that Daddy is having some troubles, and we should pray for him. We have discussed this more than a few times. The other night though, I had a heartbreaking conversation with our sweet girl.

For those of you who don’t know, L is our 2 year old (almost 3) foster daughter. We have had her in our home for approx. 1 month.

After tucking L in for her nap and singing “Jesus loves me” with her (per our tradition), I stood up to leave. Blowing her a kiss I said, “Goodnight darling!” But she had more to say.

L – “See daddy?”

Me – “No sweet girl, you’re not going to see daddy today.”

L – “Daddy in trouble?”

Me – “Yeah, honey your daddy is having troubles but daddy loves you.

L – “Daddy loves me? Mommy loves me? Grandma loves me? (L lived with her grandma most of her life before coming here.

Me – “Yes, you’re grandma’s little girl!”

L – “My grandma. MINE.” And then softly and sadly she said, “Miss her.”

L again – “See daddy?”

Me – “No, honey.”

L – “Daddy trouble? Daddy need help?”

Me – “Yeah, baby he needs help. We can pray for your daddy.”

And, we proceeded to pray for her daddy and mommy and the rest of her family (us included!).

As I got up to leave a second time, I kissed her sweet face and said “L, Mama Jami loves you so much.”

This breaks my heart. No child should have to deal with these questions but there are hundreds of thousands of kids in the U.S. foster care system alone who will go to bed with similar questions on their hearts tonight. Many of them have no one to talk these things through with. There are children in your community tonight who are going to bed alone. Going to bed feeling lost and abandoned. You might be the person God wants to use to whisper His love into their ears. To kiss them on the face and tell them they are loved. You might be the one to be Jesus to the child who is lonely, hurting, and abandoned.

God calls us as Christians to be His Hands and Feet to the lonely, to the fatherless, to the brokenhearted. There is a huge need for loving (not perfect) but loving foster parents right her and now. Could you add a bed (or two!) to a bedroom in your house? Could you pull up another chair at your dinner table? Are you willing to step out if the Lord says “go?” I just have to ask. Will you prayerfully consider your role in helping the poor and needy? We all have a role to play. Just take the next step. This is why we’re here.

Feed the hungry and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon. The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring. Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes

Isaiah 58:10-11

________________________________________

Jami Kaeb

Hi, I’m Jami! I love Jesus, and I just want to know Him more! I have been married to my man Clint for 10 years, and we are both passionate about foster care and adoption. Currently, we have six kids in our home (ages 7 and under!)–two daughters by birth, our son who we adopted from Guatemala, and three more we are fostering. Though I am always behind on laundry and sometimes feel like one more dirty diaper may just do me in, I receive exponentially more hugs and kisses too. How can one argue with that?! I love connecting with other women especially if a cup of coffee with whipped cream is in hand! I also do that through my blog and when I’m speaking to women’s groups or at orphan care events. My heart is to be a voice for the voiceless and mobilize those around me to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the world. I am doing that most recently through founding The Forgotten Initiative, a ministry of Lifesong for Orphans, to connect the Body of Christ to the needs of children and families in the foster care system.

Foster Care: The Struggle

I dropped ‘my’ little boys off for their visit with their parents and their 2 year old sister. I watched the joy in their mom and dad’s eyes as they hugged the boys and talked with them. I saw their sister smile excitedly as we drove up, and I watched as LM leaned into his mommy’s arms, giving her a big hug.

As I watched them walk away together I thought, they need to be together. I want them to make it. I want this family to be restored. To know the joy of family. To ultimately know the joy of Jesus.

And I felt so peaceful watching them.

Two hours later, I pulled back in to pick up the boys and as I hugged them and loved on them, I thought, “No. How could I ever give them back? I love them so dearly. They have become part of our family.”

And yet we have to live with the expectation that they are going back home. We live with the reality that most likely, we will be saying goodbye.

My heart says one thing one minute and then another the next. But I’m so thankful that I don’t have to trust my heart, I trust the ONE who never changes. I trust Him with my heart and with my kids’ hearts. Each one.

Thoughts on Foster Care (from a 5 and 7 year old)

Paige (7 1/2)

The other day I sat my girls down to ask them a few questions about foster care to see how much they understand about what we’re doing and to get more of a idea about how they feel about it. I loved hearing what they had to say and I typed furiously while they were talking in hopes to catch every word.

What is foster care?

Paige ( 7 1/2): Foster care is when mom and dads cannot take care of their children because they are not taking care of them the way they should. Then the foster children have to go to a new house that does not have children that are in the foster care because if they go to a family that have children in the foster care then those families will not be able to take care of those other kids that were given to them in the foster care because they’re gonna be exactly how they were to their other kids that were in foster care so they have to learn how to take care of their kids and then they can be foster parents but first the foster kids that were given to them should go to parents that know how to take care of kids better. And then when the foster kids real parents are done being trained, then if they’re still bad then the foster parents that are taking care of them will adopt them and if they are not bad and ready to take care of their kids then they can take them and keep them forever, unless they get bad again.

Raegan

Raegan (5 1/2): It’s a place for kids where they find somewhere to live without their mom and dad. They might miss them but they will have a very nice mom. They might call her mom for awhile but they will have a very nice evening with them and they might get adopted or they will go back to their mom and dad OR when they live in, like I forget what it’s called, when they wait for somebody to bring them home with them well, um – can you spell eh, eh, eh [clearing her throat]. Okay. But they will go back someday, they will have a family to care for them. And they will love their new mom but if they don’t stay with them then it means they can keep their little childs forever.

Why does our family foster?

Paige: Because we want to help the kids that are in the process of being in foster care and we also want to help them because that is what God and Jesus told us to do and the Holy Spirit told us to do. But it was very hard for us because my parents already had 3 kids of their own – me, my brother and my sister and then we added 2 more and then we got their sister and now we have 3 foster kids so that would make 6 kids and its real hard. The end.

Raegan: Because Jesus told us and we wanted to follow His rules because that’s what we’re supposed to do.

Are you glad that we foster?
Paige: Yes, I’m glad because I have more people to play with and more options of people to play house with or explore in our backyard.

Raegan: Yes!! Because I love the baby!

Why do you think more people don’t foster?

Paige: Because most people don’t do it because that wasn’t God’s plan for them. They probably have another thing that they’re doing that is God’s plan.

Raegan: Well, because that’s not Jesus’s plan for them and they know that Jesus is not asking them to do that.

If someone felt like God was telling them to foster, what would you tell them?

Paige: I would tell them that if God is calling them to do this, then do it but they don’t need to do if they want to do it, God might have another plan for them and they’ll be too busy that they’ll find that they cannot do it all.

Raegan: That you have to do it right now!

Do you think you will foster someday?

Paige: Well, I don’t really know because I just have to follow what God says but I’d love to foster. It would be fun. There is a lot of stuff and a lot of kids who are suggesting what stuff they could do so I think that would be nice.

Raegan: Yes I will. I would love to because they’re cute and because I would love them!” (At this point, Paige piped in with “What if they’re not cute?” which completely unfazed Raegan who said, “Kids are always cute!”)

________________________________________

Jami Kaeb

Hi, I’m Jami! I love Jesus, and I just want to know Him more! I have been married to my man Clint for 10 years, and we are both passionate about foster care and adoption. Currently, we have six kids in our home (ages 7 and under!)–two daughters by birth, our son who we adopted from Guatemala, and three more we are fostering. Though I am always behind on laundry and sometimes feel like one more dirty diaper may just do me in, I receive exponentially more hugs and kisses too. How can one argue with that?! I love connecting with other women especially if a cup of coffee with whipped cream is in hand! I also do that through my blog and when I’m speaking to women’s groups or at orphan care events. My heart is to be a voice for the voiceless and mobilize those around me to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the world. Life is abundant and God is faithful!

How Does Foster Care Affect Your Children?

The Kaebs

Two years ago, our family started the domestic adoption process in which we planned to adopt a healthy infant. As often is the case, the Lord had a different plan for us. Our perspective changed when we heard Him saying, “It’s not about bringing a child to your family; it’s about bringing your family to a child.” This whole idea sent us on a journey to foster care which culminated back in April when we joyfully welcomed two little boys (brothers) into our family. A few months later, their sister joined our clan changing our family dynamic significantly. Our kids are 7, 5, and 4 and we now had a 3 year old, a 2 year old, and a 1 year old! Yes, that is 7, 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1! Craziness!

A question we are often asked is, “How has this affected your children?” Actually, we have all been affected! We have been stretched. And, honestly, there are times when we wish things could just go back to normal. Sometimes life feels too complicated, too messy, and too hard. Yet, we would do it all again because this is what God has called us to, and He is changing us in the process.

The first day our foster son joined our family, our daughter asked him, “Do you know Jesus?” He stared at her blankly then but now when we talk about how Jesus loves him, his eyes light up. This is what it’s about! And when I struggle, I have to remember that this is why we’re here. As parents, I think it is natural to want to protect our kids from anything hard or uncomfortable, yet those challenges may be the very thing that teaches them to trust in Jesus.

Our kids are serving the “least of these” right along with us. It has been amazing to watch them care for their foster siblings as their own. I love hearing them pray for the children in foster care who don’t have families to love them. I love watching them wave each other off to school or run to one another after they have spent time away.

So, how have our kids been affected? Better than I ever could have imagined! Their eyes have been opened and their hearts have been changed. They are experiencing first hand how the Lord abundantly blesses obedience. They are literally being the hands and feet of Jesus to their world, right in our home.

“Feed the hungry and help those in trouble. Then your light will shine out from the darkness and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon… Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls and a restorer of homes”

Isaiah 58:10-11

________________________________________

Jami Kaeb

Hi, I’m Jami! I love Jesus, and I just want to know Him more! I have been married to my man Clint for 10 years, and we are both passionate about foster care and adoption. Currently, we have six kids in our home (ages 7 and under!)–two daughters by birth, our son who we adopted from Guatemala, and three more we are fostering. Though I am always behind on laundry and sometimes feel like one more dirty diaper may just do me in, I receive exponentially more hugs and kisses too. How can one argue with that?! I love connecting with other women especially if a cup of coffee with whipped cream is in hand! I also do that through my blog and when I’m speaking to women’s groups or at orphan care events. My heart is to be a voice for the voiceless and mobilize those around me to be the hands and feet of Jesus to the world. Life is abundant and God is faithful!

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