For the Kaebs, their involvement reached beyond taking in foster children. They also started "The Forgotten Initiative," which helps children in foster care by mobilizing the local community's talents, time, and resources.
She first thought of the idea while sitting in her local foster care agency for the first time. She looked around at the "drabby" room with its cold, hard furniture and sparse toys where kids waited to be placed into foster homes.
"Nothing was nice," Kaeb said. "Nothing said to the child, 'You are welcome here.' Here's a child who just had the most traumatic experience of their life and they have to come to a place like this? It just wasn't right to me."
Kaeb immediately rallied up a group of volunteers to brighten up the walls with a fresh coat of paint, clean the carpets and replace hard stools with cushions and colorful baskets full of brand new toys and crayons. Her sister, an artist, painted a tree on the wall with messages like "You are special" and "Hope." Then they all stood over their finished work and prayed for the kids who would enter the room alone, scared and traumatized. They named the project "Project Sunshine."
It was the start of an unexpected ministry for Kaeb. As she felt a greater passion for foster children, she started looking for ways that she and the local community could help the children in the system.
Kaeb noticed that often times foster caseworkers would have to run out to Walmart at the last minute because they ran out of diapers for the foster kids. So she posted a call for diapers on her Facebook page and blog. Originally she set a goal for 30 boxes of diapers. But then, out of a leap of faith, she shot for 100 boxes instead.
"Let's just totally overwhelm these agencies with our love and show them that we care about them," she wrote on her blog.
Over the next few months, diapers "literally started to pour in." Kaeb's home became a regular stop for deliverymen who were bringing in diapers every day, two of which were sent all the way from Japan. She managed to raise more than her goal of 100 boxes of diapers. When she personally went to deliver 30 boxes of diapers to a local agency, Kaeb told the caseworker, "This is from the Body of Christ."
In April 2011, Kaeb launched a non-profit organization called "The Forgotten Initative" with a mission "to bring joy and purpose to the foster care community." She felt the name reflected the sense of rejection and neglect many of the foster children feel. The movement has spread to seven local TFI communities at six different states including Arizona, California, South Carolina, and Virginia. Each group creates their own initiatives, like clothing drives, tutoring kids in foster care, or delivering backpacks filled with toothbrush and books to local agencies. They also create communities for foster parents to connect and support each other.
Kaeb said that once people identified the need, it wasn't hard for them to jump in and provide. She said that was what being a Body of Christ was all about.
"Ultimately, that is what Jesus called us to do as Christians: to care for the broken, reach out to the poor, feed the hungry," Kaeb said. "It's too easy for us to live life for ourselves. But we as Christians, that's what God called us to. That's what true life is: serving those who can't help themselves."