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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.