Dave and Amanda Dula became the legal parents of five year-old Caleb this past week. The couple have been the foster parents of Caleb since he was placed in their home in 2014. It has been a long road for the family. Caleb had been abused and neglected by his birth family. He was then placed in several foster homes. When he arrived at the Dula’s home, he was not verbal and very adverse to them holding or cuddling with him. Since that time, he has been working with therapists and is thriving. Caleb is not the only child in the Dula home. He has an older brother, Elijah, who is 10, and was adopted by the Dulas from an Ethiopian orphanage as a baby. Caleb has grown particularly close to Elijah which warms the hearts of their parents. In addition, Caleb’s nearly one year old, half-sister also lives with the Dula family as a foster child.
Dave Dula talked about adopting children with his wife Amanda before they were married. They both agreed that there are many children in the world in need of loving parents, a safe home and an opportunity to thrive. Amanda, a 37 year-old homemaker, said she never felt the need to birth a child. Dave is 42 years old and an engineer.
This week, Dave was not able to be in court for the finalization of Caleb’s adoption. He was able to be a part of the process through Skype. He was 9 miles away in a hospital being treated for brain cancer, that was diagnosed in January. Through the Skype call, Dave told the Judge he loved Caleb with all his heart. He agreed with everything his wife, Amanda, said on the witness stand, and despite his serious health issues, they are ready to provide a loving home for Caleb.
Dave was experiencing headaches during the better part of 2016. When he started having symptoms like loss of taste, kidney stones, blurred vision and other things, he called to make an appointment with a neurologist. With a wait time of several months, he walked into the Mayo Clinic, where a large brain tumor showed up on a scan. He immediately was scheduled for surgery which took place in February.
Amanda describes these events as miracles and recognizes how greatly blessed they have been. She is hoping and praying for another miracle. The survival rate for this form of cancer is two to five years. Amanda has faith and knows that their future is in God’s hands.
Another important person was missing from the courtroom at Caleb’s adoption. Amanda’s mother died of lung cancer in November of 2016. Her mother was the one that urged Amanda on through the years of foster care, the adoption of their two sons and hopefully the sweet baby sister of Caleb. Because of her love and support, Amanda brought a framed photo of her mother: the children’s grandmother, and held it up in the family photos of that day.
Once they left the courtroom, Amanda and the children went directly to the hospital to celebrate their wonderful day with Dave.