To celebrate 5 years of magazines, BH Parent checks in on families who have been featured.
In the fall 2012/winter 2013 issue of Black Hills Parent, the featured family were the McNabbs with Mom Jena, Dad Gregg, Falon (13), Caden (11), and Jevon (8). At the time of the article, they were in the process of adoption eight-year-old Jayda.
Gregg and Jena are both from the Black Hills. They became high school sweethearts and – a marriage and four kids later – the rest is history!
Before Jayda’s adoption process could be completed, they had to do a six month trial living period — likely passing “with flying colors” due to Gregg and Jena’s generosity and Jayda’s mature communication skills.
Life has changed a lot for the McNabbs in the past five years.
Gregg has just finished his first year as the principal at Valley View Elementary. Prior to that, he was principal at Corral Drive Elementary for 10 years. Jena is the co-owner of a company specializing in computerized heating and cooling controls.
Falon, now 18, has finished high school and will start college in the fall at the University of Minnesota-Morris. She will study Biology and Animal Sciences and has aspirations to be a marine biologist. Until she leaves for Minnesota, she will continue working as a hostess at the Alpine Inn in Hill City.
Caden, now 16, is going into his Junior year at Stevens High School. He plays football, wrestles, and works on the maintenance crew at the Star of the West Sports Complex. While he is still undecided on the specifics of college, he is considering being an anesthesiologist.
The adoption process was finalized on December 19, 2012, and Jayda officially became part of the McNabb family.
“Since then, we have all worked to become a single family unit with many moving parts. She truly has become part of the McNabb family and has been embraced by grandparents, aunts/uncles, cousins and many family friends,” said Jena.
Both Jevon and Jayda are now 13 and will be eighth graders at Southwest Middle School. Like his older brother, Jevon is involved in athletics and plays football, wrestles, and throws shot put and discus in track. Jayda is passionate about basketball and typically spends over 20 hours in the gym per week.
As a family, they still enjoy just hanging out together.
“Whether it is watching and cheering for each other in our own individual activities or celebrating the win of a boys and against girls game of “Things” or “Apples to Apples” or any of the many family game nights we play. We also cherish the time we spend on our boat floating one of the beautiful Black Hills lake or camping together as six of us in the camper or sitting around the campfire,” said Gregg.
For new parents, Gregg had some advice he has learned in the past 18 years.
“Be patient and love your children unconditionally. Set realistic expectations for your children and yourselves and work like crazy to hold each other accountable to the established and agreed upon expectations. Spend time together and find out what is going on in their lives- what are their celebrations and what are their fears. As often as possible, eat, and pray together.”
By Kelsey Sinclair