National Volunteer Week Honoree–Kim Schams
Kim Schams has been personally responsible for creating families for couples who otherwise may not ever have children. Her dream, which began about 14 years ago with the adoption of her first son, has become a reality with the establishment of Aggieland Pregnancy Outreach (APO). APO provides the lowest cost adoptions in Texas to Christian families desiring babies, while simultaneously nurturing the birth mother and supporting her decision. Kim provides ongoing and unlimited emotional support and financial support when necessary, for the birth mothers of the babies given for adoption, but also for the mothers who change their minds and decide to parent their babies themselves. This ongoing and loving support in the way of counseling and support groups enables the mothers to heal and continue forward to live productive, emotionally healthy lives themselves. The adopting parents are given counseling and support through frequent support group meetings and ongoing counseling from Kim and others experienced in adoption.
The vitality of this adoption agency comes from Kim's enthusiasm and is driven by her deep love for women who are courageously trying to provide the best possible homes and futures for their children, whether they give them up for adoption or keep them. Her love for these women has spurred her to work day and night, giving up time with her own family, for the past 11 years, and with no salary or stipend, to establish an agency that is known for its love of its birth mothers as well as the parents who adopt the babies. Her days are filled talking to pregnant teens and women who are extremely distressed by unplanned pregnancies, as well as potential adopting parents. Very often Kim finds herself counseling the women's parents as well. Kim presents the pros and cons of adoption and parenting to them, she arranges for immediate and long term needs which sometime involve providing housing for several months, food, clothing, medical care, and counseling for the birth father. Legal advice is also arranged by Kim with a local attorney when necessary.
In addition to providing support for birth parents and adopting parents, Kim holds weekly support group meetings for low-income mothers trying to parent their young children. She calls this her "Mommy Group" and she is extremely attached to them and devoted to teaching parenting skills and life skills. The relationships Kim establishes with these women lead helps her to pair the young mothers with mature women in the community who mentor them and establish close, personal ties with them. As is evident, Kim has her hand in many facets of improving lives for children throughout the community, whether they are connected to the adoption part of APO or not. Kim is also an example to a number of Aggie women who volunteer their time to APO, and she provides a place for these Aggie women to fellowship while helping and learning about giving of oneself. These Aggie women are additionally a source of educational inspiration to the young mothers who come in contact with them, yet another example of the powerful and beneficial relationships that are established because of the existence of APO and Kim.