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Beth Kirby, Barker’s Executive Assistant and Cradle Care Coordinator joined the Barker Adoption Foundation team in 1990. Beth is part of the fabric of Barker. She puts her heart into her work and is integral to the services we provide. We asked her to sit down for a brief moment, between tasks, and tell us a bit about her work.
Among other things, I coordinate the Cradle Care for the infants in our domestic adoption program. Barker provides family-based cradle care for babies immediately following their discharge from the hospital. This time gives birth parents the time and opportunity to reflect on their decision before it becomes final and placement with the adoptive family occurs. Barker has eight Cradle Care families and my job is to coordinate the placement of babies into one of their homes, facilitate educational meetings, and keep files compliant with licensing regulations and being available when someone needs to talk.
I really didn’t know very much about adoption at the beginning. Some very good friends adopted two children from Barker and shared one of Barker’s newsletters with me. I read an article saying that Barker was actively looking for foster parents (old name) for newborns. I have always been a baby person and after raising four boys, the youngest at the time was eight, I was feeling restless and thought this would be perfect. I could love and take care of a newborn for a short period of time during their first important year of life. Naïve yes, little did I know that every baby would remain in my heart.
After ten years as a Cradle Care Mom, I began to work in the Barker office as staff. I immediately saw and learned what went on behind the scenes and was amazed at the amount of paperwork, background checks and meetings that took place. I can honestly say that the integrity of the staff and its leadership over the years has made Barker a great place to work. Barker builds families in an ethical way and it’s a feel good job. I often remember back to my days as a cradle care mom, when I would place a baby into the arms of an adoptive parent, it was the best feeling you could imagine. I often thought “I am a part of this baby’s life journey.” I love the fact that Barker staff works so well together and that we are in some way a part of each child that passes through our doors.
My husband and I have four adult boys and five grandchildren. During the ten years that we provided cradle care we cared for more than sixty babies. It was a great experience for my husband and me and a learning experience for our children who have gone on to be great dads and uncles. Our boys learned to feed, diaper and cuddle the children we cared for and have put those skills to work with their own children. I started this extraordinary experience twenty-five years ago and I feel that although I have learned a lot, I am still learning the complexities of adoption.