Easing life's transitions


Jackie Swabb '98
Director of Social Services, Covington Care Center, Covington, Ohio
Major: social work

A homey appeal Jackie Swabb
Growing up in Russia, Ohio, and graduating alongside 25 high school seniors, Jackie (Monnin) Swabb wanted to continue her education in an intimate setting. "I liked Bluffton's small-town feel and atmosphere," she says. "It was appealing because it was homey."

In a hurry to help
With a strong desire to help people, Jackie chose to major in social work. "I knew I'd be able to help people more quickly with a social work degree as opposed to psychology," she says. Jackie initially worked with children and their families at Adriel School in West Liberty, Ohio; Family Resource Center in St. Marys, Ohio; and Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Miami County. She then transitioned to nursing-home care, spending time at Spring Creek in Huber Heights, Ohio, and Koester Pavilion in Troy, Ohio.

Similarities between the young and elderly
"Transitioning between generations was easier than one would think," Jackie says: "In the geriatric population, individuals are dealing with issues like memory impairment and thought-processing problems. That's very similar to children, who make decisions based on impulses because they want something right now."

Helping others in crisis 
For the past two years, Jackie has worked at Covington Care Center, a skilled-care nursing home and rehabilitation center. As director of social services, she handles crisis intervention, treatment planning and family conferences. She often helps families cope with a loved one being admitted to a long-term care facility. "Admitting a loved one is a very hard transition," says Jackie. "And it often follows some kind of crisis, like an injury. It's very difficult for family members to tell someone that it s not safe to go back home."

Taking on two tots
After watching Jackie s sister serve as a foster parent, Jackie and her husband, Justin, began to consider adoption. They started foster-parent training in January 2003, and were licensed in March. "In November, we were on a plane, flying to Oregon, to meet our children," says Jackie. It took almost nine months from being licensed to having the children. "We thought, well, it takes nine months to have a baby!" They returned home with Danielle and Asa, who are now 10 and 9, respectively.

A life-changing experience
Although the Swabbs received much training to prepare them for what to expect when bringing the children home, Jackie says, "You never really know what to expect. All of a sudden you have two kids that you don t know who now belong to you. While the first year and a half was rough, everyone is now settled in. Adoption is a life-changing experience," says Jackie. "It's hard. It's wonderful. And, it's worth it!" On Sept. 9, 2008, the Swabbs were blessed with another lifechanging experience, as Jackie gave birth to Philip Owen. He's definitely our miracle baby, she says.