Local nonprofit helping families cope with loss of a baby

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BUCKLEY, Wash. -- Jessica and Dustin Barnes had the chance to say hello before saying goodbye to their baby daughter.

“People ask me how many kids I have and I tell them I have three. I have two here and one in heaven and that’s hard,” said Jessica Barnes.

Nearly two years ago, her daughter Sawyer Bernice Barnes passed away. Jessica and her husband went to the hospital to give birth when doctors delivered the heartbreaking news.

“Every night I’d say goodnight and put my hand over her stomach, felt her kick, so at some point during the day the umbilical cord got wrapped around her neck for a second time and she was not breathing,” said Dustin Barnes.

Before she was born, Sawyer was already gone. It never gets easier to talk about, but Jessica and Dustin found out they are not alone. The TEARS Foundation helped them cover the cost of making the final arrangements for their daughter.

“It was hard and the only reason we have a head stone is because of the TEARS foundation,” said Jessica.

The foundation, based in Puyallup, helps those families coping with the loss of a baby. It helps pay for the markers at cemeteries. TEARS also offers emotional support groups for parents.

“When they have that loss, they are not prepared to pay for a funeral and so that’s the last thing they should have to worry about,” said Lauren Hosford with TEARS.

The Barnes family is thankful for the organization and plans on helping other parents going through a similar situation. Later on this year, Jessica and Dustin are expecting to have another child.

“We just found out we are having a little boy,” said Jessica. “We are pretty excited. We thank his sister for sending him to us.”

For more information on the TEARS Foundation, click here.

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