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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.”