Jacob’s Hope is committed to helping newborns who were exposed to illicit substances in the womb. The focus is on the child, but staff will also give the mother or caregiver the resources needed to help get healthy. The facility is licensed to help 12 infants at a time, but they usually accept six max so they can give proper care and attention to each one.
“It can be tricky,” said Associate Director, Lyndsey Steele. “They experience tremors, they’re stiff and rigid and they have tummy issues. They’re difficult to console and have a high-pitched scream that if not prepared for can be alarming.”
Steele says it can be challenging to watch sometimes, but that staff and volunteers use special care techniques that are vital in the baby’s recovery. One technique is called ‘eat, sleep, console’ and is something they say works.
“We want to get them through that withdrawal process as much as possible and give the caregiver those techniques so when they get home they can continue that,” Steele said.
Since Jacob’s Hope is a nonprofit, volunteers are crucial in keeping the organization running. both Steele and Jones say they are always looking for volunteers to do anything from cuddling and rocking babies to organizing the nurseries. They also rely on donations from the community. It can be as simple as bottled water (for the copious amounts of formula they use) to something more specific on their Amazon Wish List.
“We’re a small nonprofit,” Steele said. “It’s tough work, the babies can be challenging, and the family dynamics can be challenging. The staff though are here because they love the work, and they love the babies. We can tell these families it’s going to be okay and that there are people who care.”
“We are a complete non-judgmental zone,” Jones said. “All of our nurses, everybody who works here, has a heart for this and we would never judge a mom. We all pitch in and take care of these babies. We have volunteers who rock the babies, and they love that. I just want to help and I want to make sure families don’t go through what we went through and that babies don’t go through what Jacob went through.”