Beth Lambdin just radiates this intense energy.
I felt it the moment she sat down for our interview—opting for the seat next to me, instead of the typical one across the table. She looked right into my eyes and asked questions about my life.
“In high school, my plan was to either be the president, or go into acting,” she says of her initial life goals. But, God had something different in mind. At 17, Beth explains that He spoke to her during a leadership conference, and called her to work with young people.
“It defined my path,” she says. And who could argue, when witnessing the way she lives her life?
University of the Pacific brought Beth to Stockton—on an athletic scholarship—where she earned a degree in Recreational Leadership with an emphasis on Youth Agencies. At 21, she became the Youth Pastor at Lakeview Assembly, where she served for four years and met her husband, Dan. Together, they founded Jim Elliot Christian High School in Lodi, and today, head Inspire Ministries, a 501(c)(3) that provides marriage, parenting and family counseling, and adoption and foster youth services.
Who better to lead such an organization than the parents of a diverse family of 10? “We are a good team,” she says of her husband, a former teacher who still speaks with students he mentored some 20 years ago. “We balance each other out really well—I am intense, and he’s funny [usually at my expense].”
When this dynamic duo decided to grow, a small family was out of the question. “If I’m going to have kids, I’m not just going to have two, because who wants to be normal?!” Beth cackles. And after years of growing and homeschooling her family, she decided to adopt. Beth and Dan perused foster-to-adopt, but didn’t qualify because they were a family of 6 in a three-bedroom house.
But in 2003, divine intervention brought an addition to the Lambdin family—a 17-year-old who was abandoned at 12. “She was so smart, she learned how to not be caught by the system,” Beth says of Tiffana, who ended up in her husband’s class at Jim Elliot, and today holds a Masters degree. After welcoming Tiffana into their home, Beth had her last birth child (and only son)—at 44 years old—and decided to give adoption another go. The Lambdin daughters held garage sales, bake sales, and teamed with the community to raise the $16,000 needed to adopt Christiana, a six-week-old baby from Tennessee. But, the family’s outreach didn’t stop there.
“God started bringing these aged-out foster kids [in their 20s] into our lives,” Beth says. “The stories I would hear… Every single one of them didn’t have a driver’s license, hadn’t graduated high school, and couldn’t read or write.”
These encounters brought issues with the foster system to the forefront of Beth’s mind, and in another seemingly serendipitous moment, Beth found herself seated next to Shauna Jacob, the Development Director of the county’s Child Abuse Prevention Council (CAPC). Knowingly unable to foster, Beth became involved in Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), where she today serves as the CASA Recruiter & Trainer for CAPC.
One thousand-six hundred children in the county call the foster system home. This is often a life full of changes, inconsistences, new places and new people. CASA’s serve not only as a voice for the child, but a constant who provides love and support. Empowered by the court, these volunteers connect with everyone in the child’s life, from parents and foster parents, to attorneys, social workers, and medical professionals. This is a life-changing role for a child who feels forgotten—and in some cases—is.
Beth simultaneously began working with Safe Families, an organization that provides a safe home for the child—without entering a government system—so that the mother can focus on getting her life together. And on August 27, 2014, Beth received a call she’ll never forget—“We have a two year old here in our office, she needs a place to go within the hour.” Beth and Dan jumped in the car and headed to CAPC, where they met Megan and Rosie, who later became their ninth daughter, and very first granddaughter.
Rosie, the two-year-old who came to live with the Lambdins through the program, knew nothing, but a life on the streets. “She had horrible fits of rage,” Beth remembers. But, after about three months of stability, nourishment, and love—Rosie made serious advancements.
“Then I really began thinking about Megan… She was just a child herself,” Beth says. Megan’s upbringing included 57 Child Protective Service Reports, none of which resulted in removal from her destructive, abusive home. Once again, Beth was reminded of the faults of the system, and worked to instill life skills needed for success, while growing her family.
“That’s all these kids ever want, to be part of a family. To have love and support.” And through her current role as CASA Recruiter, Beth works to ensure that each child in the foster system has someone truly advocating for their rights, education, and health.
“My goal is to have a CASA for every single foster kid in the county, and I won’t stop until I do.”
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