ALBANY, N.Y. (Spectrum News) - With plenty of room in her heart, a New York nurse adopted one of her long-time patients, making him a permanent part of her family.
Kelli Dabek officially adopted 9-year-old Jashia on Sept. 1. With two nearly grown children, the nurse says there was plenty of room in her heart and in her home for the little boy she’s cared for practically since he was born.
“We knew what we had to do. My whole family, we knew that’s what we wanted to do,” Kelli Dabek said.
Jashia was born prematurely at 23 weeks. He has several illnesses and disorders, including chronic respiratory failure, epilepsy, asthma and developmental issues. He needed a tracheostomy to help him breathe, speak and swallow.
Kelli Dabek became certified for emergency foster care and brought Jashia into her home two years ago after he went into the foster care system. He spent the four years prior in a rehab home following his mother’s unexpected death.
Jashia is doing much better today. He can often be found riding his bike around the neighborhood.
Kelli Dabek’s college-aged daughters, Alexa and Hayley, chip in with Jashia and his care whenever possible. The latter is officially an aide, helping the boy with his schoolwork, his regiment of medication and his special diet.
“I’ve got schoolwork. I have two jobs. I’m always busy, but every chance I get. He comes to dinner with me and my friends, and he’ll just spend time with us. All my friends love him,” Alexa Dabek said.
The two admit it hasn’t always been easy on the family, but without Jashia and his special personality, they say their house would never be the same.
“It’s like everyday life for us. We’ve known him for so long. It was just a natural thing for us to do,” Kelli Dabek said.