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This is the second in a two-part series on adoption. Last week you read the stories of the Dodge and Jubber families. Today you can read about two more Eudora families who have experienced adoption.
Elijah, Ling, Alex, & Xen Clobes, photo courtesy Julie Clobes
With four children between the ages of 5 and 9, the Clobes household is a busy, sometimes chaotic, place. But it wasn’t always that way. Like many couples, Julie and Mark Clobes had trouble conceiving. They had always talked of someday adopting, but the infertility—and the fact that they had waited until they were in their 30’s to get married—prompted them to start researching adoption sooner rather than later. They chose to adopt internationally.
“We felt most comfortable with international adoption,” explained Julie. “Mark and I had both done a lot of traveling and were interested in other cultures.”
Julie said that China particularly stood out to them because of the rich and interesting history, and because the one child policy in China meant that there were lots of little girls in orphanages. Since Julie is a nurse, they felt strongly that they should pursue what is called “special needs adoption.” The term “special needs” includes minor differences like crossed-eyes, birth marks or even ears that are too low, not just major health problems or disabilities.
It took about a year to adopt their first little girl from China. Ling was 20 months old when she came home with the Clobes family. An especially joyful part of the adoption was that they got to meet Ling’s foster mother in China and develop a relationship with her. Ling is now a happy and active 9-year old.
Two years later, the Clobes adopted a little boy named Alex from Guatemala. Though the process started when Alex was just a newborn, he was 17-months old at his homecoming. They made two trips to Guatemala, spending a week with the baby when he was 9-months old and then bringing him home eight months later. They were able to take Alex, who is now 7, back to visit his home country last year.
Six weeks after they brought Alex home, the couple that had battled infertility conceived a baby boy. At five years old, Elijah is a handsome little blonde who loves his older siblings and looks up to them.
Not satisfied with just having brothers, Ling began to pray for a sister. This prompted the Clobes to start the adoption process all over, looking to China for a second time. The process went quickly, and in only nine months they brought 5-year-old Xin (pronounced Shen) home to Kansas. Ling got to make the trip to China with her parents to bring home the sister she had prayed for.
“I was anxious about how Xin would accept us since she was older,” Julie shared. “But she walked right up to me in the orphanage and called me mama. Then she started playing with Ling.”
Xin didn’t talk for the first six months after she joined the Clobes, but now at eight she is a chatterbox. She has adjusted well to her new family and fits in perfectly. Julie describes her as the “family princess” since Xin loves anything sparkly and girly!
Julie would encourage any family who has thought about adopting to start learning about it and looking into all the different options. There are many, many children in the US and all over the world that need a family. She said that people shouldn’t wait for the “perfect time” to adopt because there is never a perfect time.
Has adoption been worth it for the Clobes?
“This is better than anything we could have imagined, or anything we could have planned ourselves,” answered Julie. Then she added, “This is the best of life.”
The final adoption story is from a slightly different perspective than the previous three. I interviewed Michaela Beem Beshears, a married woman with four children, who was herself adopted when she was a baby. You’ll also hear from Michaela’s mother, Mary Beem. It’s a beautiful story that just might bring you to tears, so have a hankie handy.
Michaela Beshears was just two months old when she was adopted by Marvin and Mary Beem in 1975. It was her parents’ second adoption, as they had gotten a boy named Matthew six years earlier. The Beems created a warm and loving home for their children. Both Michaela and her brother Matthew, who passed away in 2004, loved to hear their adoption stories. Their parents never hid the fact that they were not biological; the kids knew from the beginning how they had become a part of the Beem family. But both of them knew they were unconditionally loved and accepted, so much so that Michaela has never felt the need to know her birth mother.
“As I was growing up, people often asked me if I knew my real mom, and my response was always the same and is to this day: My real mom is Mary Beem, the woman who loved me, wiped my tears, held me when I was sick, supported me through so many different journeys in my life, disciplined me when needed, spoiled me and loved me unconditionally,” said Michaela. She added, “My father did the same.”
To Michaela, her biological mother is “just the lady who had me.” She is grateful that her birth mother chose life and allowed Michaela to have such a wonderful family.
Michaela gets to celebrate two special days each year, her actual birthday on May 5th and her “Getting Day” on July 24th. Other than celebrating those occasions, she says she forgets that she was even adopted. She has never felt different or had any bad experiences, and being surrounded by friends and neighbors who were also adopted made her feel even more normal.
Her mother Mary feels the same way, almost forgetting that her children were adopted. She and her husband, who died in 2006, always loved both of their children as if they were flesh and blood. Mary keeps a photo of herself with Michaela and Matthew on the dresser along with a poem called The Adoption Creed: Not flesh of my flesh nor bone of my bone, but miraculously my own. Never forget for a single minute, you didn’t grow under my heart, but in it.
Michaela lives in Eudora with her husband Mark and children Emily, Abby, Connor and Brooklyn. Her mother Mary Beem also resides in Eudora.
Eudora News and Information – www.eudorareporter.com
National Adoption Week is November 4-10. As a tribute to the many wonderful people who have adopted children, I’ll be featuring four Eudora families with great adoption stories to tell. You’ll get to know two of those families this week, and two the next.
Mark, Jill, Cara and Dylan Dodge (photo courtesy Carrie Mugridge)
The Dodge Family
Jill and Mark Dodge struggled with infertility for two years before they decided to look into adoption. They contacted a domestic adoption agency, navigated through all the paperwork and home studies, and two years later received a beautiful baby girl they named Cara.
It was a special day for the Dodges, especially since they got to be in the delivery room when Cara, who is now four, was born. That was a luxury most adoptive parents don’t get.
“That was a gift,” said Jill. “We didn’t know if the baby was a boy or a girl so it was an awesome surprise. We got to see her take her first breath and hear her first cry.”
Another positive thing about Cara’s adoption is that both of her birth parents were involved in the process. Together they selected Jill and Mark based on the online scrapbook the Dodges had put together. Jill was afraid that their lives might look too vanilla or boring to be selected, but something in that scrapbook got the attention of the birth parents. The Dodges believe that God was involved in their selection as well.
“God knew we were meant to be Cara’s parents,” Jill said with a smile as Cara pranced about the toy-strewn living room in a pink princess gown.
The Dodges second experience with adoption was much different than the first. It was also a domestic adoption, but Dylan was 7 ½ months old when they brought him home rather than a newborn like Cara. Their agency helped them understand how to build a strong bond with their new son even though he had previously been with another family. To help with attachment, Jill and Mark were the only ones to hold or feed him for several weeks. Dylan is 18 months old now and, according to his mom, a happy and laid back little guy.
“The bond is definitely there now,” laughed Jill. “I can’t leave the room without him following me.”
Jill said that adoption has made her a more grateful parent because it didn’t come easily. She and Mark view their children as precious gifts and want to give them the best home they can as well as the best relationship possible with the birth parents. Cara sees her birth parents and grandparents on a regular basis.
Dylan was napping during this interview, but it was easy to tell from watching Cara that she’s pretty happy being adopted into the Dodge family.
RJ, Grace, James, Joel, Mia and Abi Jubber (photo courtesy Grace Jubber)
The Jubber Family
Grace and RJ Jubber’s home is bursting with activity most of the time. With four children of their own, usually a foster child or two, and frequently neighbor kids in the mix, there’s never a dull moment. It’s just the way Grace and RJ like it.
The Jubber boys, James (10) and Joel (7) are biological. Their parents’ decision to adopt wasn’t based on infertility but rather a longing to reach out to children who desperately need a family.
“Adoption was something RJ and I both had on our hearts from the beginning of our marriage. We didn’t know when it would happen, but we knew our family wouldn’t be complete without it,” said Grace.
Both of the Jubber girls are adopted, but by very different means. Mia, age 5, was adopted through a domestic organization that works with agencies all over the country to find homes for mostly special needs infants. The babies need to be placed quickly, within the first 72 hours after birth, to avoid being placed in state care. These adoptions move very fast.
“We got a call and within three days we had her,” Grace said.
Though Mia has been through numerous surgeries due to a condition she was born with, she is a happy and energetic child, and is definitely one of the family. By all appearances, it might be safe to say that she rules the roost with her bubbly personality!
When Mia was two, Grace and RJ began thinking about providing foster care.
“We knew it would be incredibly hard to love and let go, but we also knew this was the direction we were being called. It is the most painfully rewarding job, and we love it!”
Several foster children had come and gone from their home when they got a call in March of 2012 that there was a 2-month-old baby who needed placement. They only had hours to make the decision. The Jubbers had recently decided to adjust their foster care license to include infants, so even though they didn’t even a crib or other baby supplies on hand, they said an emphatic yes. They picked up Abi, a tiny two-month-old baby, that very day.
Sixteen months later they were able to adopt her. Now she is a rambunctious 21-month-old who is always on the go. She adores her big sister and brothers.
What do the boys think of the addition of two sisters to the family?
“They’re noisy,” was Joel’s response, but his mother said that they have lots of fun together.
Biggest brother James agrees that they’re loud, but added, “And they’re cute and funny.”