After years of saving, waiting, local family gets baby

Sean C. Morgan

The road to a baby adoption has taken a lot of twists and turns over the past two years for Pam and Jason Ogden, but they finally got there just before Thanksgiving when they brought home Jossa Mae Ogden.

Jossa Mae was born Nov. 23, weighing 4 pounds 3 ounces.

“We drove to Utah, the Salt Lake area,” Jason said. “We got a phone call on the 23rd that it looked like the baby was maybe coming early. We packed our bags and in an hour and a half we rushed out of here. It was a long drive.”

They arrived in the area about 4 a.m. after the birth of Jossa Mae, who will be their sixth child. Their son Hudson also was adopted. Jossa Mae also joins brother Ivan and sisters Ember, Luka and Kelly.

“I love having a baby,” Ivan said.

“It’s very great,” Hudson added.

“I think it’s really fun to have a little sister,” said Ember.

With Jossa Mae’s due date still five weeks out, the Ogdens were caught a little off guard. They thought they had some time to buy things for the baby, but it turned out they didn’t.

“We were at Target buying baby things when we got the call (from their case worker),” Pam said. “It was the three girls and I. We were just giddy.”

They dropped everything, Pam said. “We left our cart in the store, got in the car and called Jason.”

“I was in Lebanon,” said Jason, who is a pastor at Valley Life Church and a Sweet Home police officer. “I was just excited and drove home.”

They met at their home and then had to figure out transportation.

They didn’t want to use the family van as they headed across the mountains, he said. It doesn’t have four-wheel drive. They had just lined up a friend’s SUV to use for the trip, but that was still five weeks out.

Someone else had lined it up to borrow the SUV that day, Jason said but that person didn’t end up needing the vehicle, so the Ogdens were all set.

On road trips, Pam said, “you always expect something will go wrong, and it didn’t.”

She said the trip went “incredibly.” When they arrived, perfect strangers were kind and generous.

“It was amazing,” she said.

They didn’t make it in time for the birth, but their case worker sent a photo immediately afterward.

The Ogdens originally announced plans to adopt a baby and started fundraising in October 2017.

“We were in the Japan program, and then a bunch of stuff happened with the program,” Jason said.

The program through which they hoped to adopt a Japanese baby was closed indefinitely about a year ago, so they changed their focus in October 2018 to a domestic adoption.

Through the U.S. program, “we received a bunch of adoption profiles from birth moms and dads,” Jason said. Couples wishing to adopt select baby profiles, and the birth parents then review the profiles of prospective parents and decide which they prefer.

Pam said that hopeful parents select an average of about 40 baby profiles before being matched, and they had said yes to about that many before a mother selected the Ogdens.

They used Faithful Adoption Consultants, which connects parents to adoption agencies, and Guardian Angel Adoptions to facilitate the adoption of Jossa Mae.

The adoption is “semi-open,” Pam said. That means the birth mother could choose to have contact, but she hasn’t requested it in this case.

Jossa Mae is African-American. The Ogdens had been seeking an Asian child because their son Hudson is from Korea.

After shifting out of the Japan program, they wanted any baby who was not white, primarily so Hudson and their new baby “have something in common.”

“We’re pretty excited,” Jason said. “It’s been a long process, and it feels good that it’s done.”

The hardest part of the process has been the wondering, the trying, Pam said.

It was hard to say yes to a file and then a birth mom says no, Jason said.

The entire process cost close to $70,000, about $30,000 more than they had estimated two years ago, Jason said. “We are pretty much clear.”

The Sweet Home and Lebanon communities helped the Ogdens raise the money through garage sales and donations of cans and bottles. They turned that into more cash through grant programs.

A $4,500 garage sale leveraged a matching grant of $4,500, for example, Pam said.

They also secured $5,000 and $3,000 grants, Jason said. Along with the fundraising and grants, they cleaned out their savings to cover the costs.

“We’re just thankful and grateful,” Jason said.

“For the incredible support from our community and the extended community,” Pam said.