DELPHOS — When Adam Weber's brother returned home after military service, his family had a party. Melissa came to the party with her sister, who knew Adam's family.
That's how they met. He liked her, but it was Melissa who asked Adam out.
After several years of marriage and some frustration trying to conceive, it was Melissa Weber who again asserted herself.
“We were trying to get pregnant, and it just wasn't happening,” her husband, Adam Weber, said while smiling at his wife. “Somebody got sick of waiting.”
They trained to be foster-to-adopt parents through Allen County Children Services. Nineteen months ago, the agency called about an infant who needed a foster home. Melissa and Adam met JonaVan two days after he was born, in May of 2012. On Dec. 10, an adoption hearing officially made them parents.
The Webers had fostered just once before, caring temporarily for a 2-year-old who eventually reunited with the child's mother. They had signed up to become parents, not just provide foster care. While they wanted a baby, they were open to any child, of any race or gender.
The boy who would become their son was in the hospital receiving special care because of his birth mother's drug use. He was there for a month.
“We were there every day, as much as we could be,” Melissa, 32, said.
When you agree to foster, you have to be ready first. Think of the emergency kit at your house, stashed in the closet, hopefully with fresh batteries. The Webers had the car seat, with no expectation of when it might be used.
When you agree to foster-to-adopt, you have to love unconditionally with 99.9 percent of your heart but leave a sliver for the possibility the baby boy you've watched learn to smile, sit up, grab your finger and take his first steps might not actually get to be yours.
“You're always thinking that,” Adam, 35, said. “I knew the situation. I try to separate myself, but it didn't work.”
That never happened. JonaVan's birth parents' rights were terminated, and the Webers began the adoption process.
“It's an emotional roller coaster, until you hear that you get permanent custody,” Melissa said. “I fell in love with him as soon as I first saw him.”
Deciding to adopt requires honest conversations about what kind of child you can bring into your family: gender, race, disability, only children or sibling groups.
“We're not getting any younger. We thought about it, talked about it. You could end up with three kids through adoption, and then Melissa could get pregnant,” Adam said. “You have to think about whether it's something you really want to do. And it was.”
JonaVan may have health issues or developmental delays in the future. At the moment, his body has recovered, and he is at or beyond development stages for his age.
At 19 months, he's into everything, his mother says, as his father steers him away from ornaments he's trying to pull off the Christmas tree.
These days there is less sleep and more picking up; JonaVan is very good at wrecking a room in no time. Many days Adam and Melissa have a hand-off in the afternoon because they work different shifts. It's all just a day in the life of parenting.
While this is their first Christmas as official parents, they had JonaVan last year, and their parents have gotten very good at spoiling the toddler.
“They didn't waste time with that,” Adam said. “From day one, they treated him like he was in the family.”