Westmont Magazine Adopting a New Position
Kathy White Baer ’65 has demoted herself. She left a prestigious position directing domestic infant programs for the state of Georgia to become a senior adoption specialist for Bethany Christian. She helps couples who want to adopt.
“I worked for three years as director of the program in Georgia and learned that I didn’t enjoy administration,” Kathy explains. “I was pulled away from direct service. Since that is where my heart is, I demoted myself. Now I couldn’t be happier.”
After 22 years in the adoption field, including work as a birth-parent counselor at New Hope Adoption in Seattle, Kathy believes that God has given her the ability to connect with people through the pain and joys of adoption.
“I witness miracles over and over,” she says. “It is exciting to see how God puts families together, how He answers the longings of infertile couples and how He creates such a strong bond between the birth mother and her baby’s new family.”
Her special interest is reaching out to the grandparents of the adopted child. “I have been so passionate about ministry to grandparents,” Kathy says. “Parents often want to rescue their children from the sadness of adoption instead of walking through the pain with them, grieving together and standing firm on the decision made with the baby’s best interests in mind.”
An ongoing support group for grandparents meets at the same time as one for birth mothers. Kathy helps the members of this group say good-bye to their grandchild and deal with the loss of a dream.
Kathy has written the forward for a book by Jane Schooler to be published this fall. “Mom, Dad, I’m Pregnant!: When Your Daughter or Son Faces an Unplanned Pregnancy” (NavPress 2004) is the only resource available to the grandparents of an adopted baby. The book offers insights for those whose children have an abortion, become a parent as the result of an unplanned pregnancy or decide on an adoption plan.
Although she is a person of action, Kathy has discovered she has no control in her work. She can’t end the sorrow of the mother grieving the loss of her child. She can’t fill the hole in the heart of parents who can’t conceive. Although she has no control, she knows that God does, and that makes it OK.
As a young couple, Kathy and her husband, Don, decided to attend each summer Olympics. They started with Mexico in 1968 and have only missed the games in Korea, when they took one of their two children to enroll at Westmont. Don is an executive with Stan Smith Events.
Kathy and her sister, Carolyn White Dale ’65, attended Westmont together and so did their children: Matthew Baer ’93, Marlene Baer ‘95, Kevin Dale ’97, Mark Dale ’97 and Sara Dale Rocha ’99. “I never dreamed that five of our children would end up at Westmont,” Kathy exclaims. Her connection with Westmont continues; she serves as a member of the alumni board.