The Journey – How TFI Began: Jami Kaeb
In May of 2008, the Lord took us on an unexpected journey. After having two daughters by birth and adopting our son, my husband Clint and I began our second adoption journey. Little did we know that God had something very different in store for us.
In an unforgettable phone call, my sister told me about a baby girl born with Down’s Syndrome that needed a forever family. I was overwhelmed, even scared, at the thought that maybe we were to be this baby’s family—we had never considered special needs. But the Lord calmed our hearts and we stepped forward in hopes of adopting her.
The morning we were to find out if she would be ours, my stomach was full of butterflies. As I got ready, I realized I might be meeting my baby girl that day! The call came…my dreams were dashed when I learned another family would be adopting her instead. Sobbing, I called my husband and said, “Come home now, I need you.”
Waiting for God’s Timing
Several times we hoped to adopt…each time our hopes were dashed. After learning of another heartbreaking rejection, I sought comfort, understanding and perspective from the Lord (instead of my husband—this was growth!). I couldn’t understand why He continued to say, “Not yet.” God was doing something far greater than I realized, the biggest being the ability to see the treasures during my waiting season.
A few weeks later, we were waiting on another call about a situation that just felt different—right. I allowed myself to believe this child was ours.
I couldn’t even wait to put the groceries away. I opened the email from our caseworker with my heart pounding…it quickly sank as I read, ‘She chose another family.’ I begged God to give me His perspective—why had He put the desire for a baby in my heart? It was at that moment I felt Him say, ‘It’s not about bringing a child into your family, it’s about bringing your family to a child.’
Foster Care and God’s Vision for TFI
During this process, we had become aware of older children waiting to be adopted. It seemed God was opening our hearts to something we had never considered: foster care.
Learning there were 400,000 children in the foster care system prompted us to action. With my kids in tow, I walked into our local foster care agency to find out more. I saw the rooms where children waited for a foster family to accept them. I was horrified to see old, junky toys, weathered books and hard furniture. Nothing looked friendly or welcoming.
I left that office with a focus and a purpose to make a difference. We gathered a group of volunteers to makeover those rooms; then we did the same thing at another agency in town. Watching the Body of Christ come together to serve refined my focus and strengthened my purpose.
We ended up enrolling in foster care training classes, still unsure of what God had in store. Two days after finishing our class, we received another call: Would we be willing to take in two brothers who needed a foster home? We said, “Absolutely!” Five months later, their sister joined our ever-growing clan and our little family of five grew into a much bigger family of eight. Our kids ranged in age from one to seven years old!
Life turned upside down after that! With our three new additions came difficult challenges and at times we thought, “Why are we doing this?” Through it all, our eyes were opened to the incredible needs of the foster care community. I kept thinking, “More people need to be aware!” or “How can we get the Body of Christ engaged?” I was seeing pieces of a puzzle, but I didn’t know how they all fit together.
In April 2011, the Lord put those pieces together and gave me His vision for The Forgotten Initiative, a ministry dedicated to bringing joy and purpose to the foster care community. Now TFI Advocates across the country serve their local foster care communities through service projects, mentoring and family service projects. I could never have imagined how God would grow TFI since 2011, but I’m excited to see what He does in the coming years!
Visit Jami’s personal blog.
In July 2012, the Kaebs adopted their three little ones and they became a forever family! The Kaeb family grew once more in April 2015, with the adoption of their 7th child, Friday, from Uganda!