March 17, 2010

Community welcomes newest members

By SCOTT MONROE, Morning Sentinel

PITTSFIELD — \"I love that everybody loves them so much already,” Amanda Logiodice said Sunday as she and her husband, Jediah, marveled at the scene in the local Elks Lodge.

click image to enlarge

(01/31/2009)(Photo by Jason McKibben) -- Amanda Logiodice holds her newly adopted son Jediah Jr., 1, at party welcoming him and his new sister Christella, 5, to the Pittsfield community Sunday. Amanda and her husband Jediah Logiodice adopted the children from Haiti following the tragic earthquake that devastated the country.

About 50 people came together with food, gifts and well wishes for the Logiodice\'s two newest family members.

The couple adopted Jediah Jr. (formerly David), 1, and Christella, 5, from His Home for Children orphanage in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. They join the Logiodice\'s three other children: Donavan, 8, Braeden, 5, and Bella, 4.

After the massive earthquake Jan. 12, the Logiodices were able to secure an emergency evacuation of the two children. They picked up the children in Miami a little over a week ago and returned home Wednesday. They had started the adoption process more than a year ago.

Sunday\'s public celebration was organized by members of the First Baptist Church, of which the Logiodices are members, and the Elks donated their space. Church member Liana Walker of Troy said the event was meant to show support and to welcome the two Haitian children into the community.

Walker said it\'s remarkable the adoption worked out as it did, given the chaotic aftermath of the earthquake. Church families had already rallied community support for the Logiodices, sending them supplies and assistance so they could make the trip to Miami.

\"It\'s awesome; it\'s truly a miracle they could get the children out,\" Walker said.

Church member Sue Chase baked a large cake for the occasion, featuring cut-outs of the family members made from licorice and fruit rolls, with the backdrop of an airplane flying from Haiti to Maine.

For Chase, who has financially supported a Haitian girl named Jusela for the last decade, the Logiodices hit close to home. \"It\'s a big step adopting two children, given they already have three,\" she said.

The Logiodices said J.J. (for Jediah Jr.) and Christella are adapting well to their new lives in a much colder environment.

At the start of Sunday\'s event, J.J. clung to his parents and took in the scene with wide eyes, while Christella munched on a muffin, strawberries and crackers.

Amanda Logiodice said Christella and Bella have already bonded, dressing up in princess outfits and playing together. Among the gifts at a long table in the Elks Lodge was a tea party play set for both girls.

Jediah Logiodice, who carries around a Creole dictionary in his cell phone, said he and Amanda have a fondness for Haitian culture after traveling there many times and look forward to cherishing that culture with their new children.

Big brother Donavan said he\'s looking forward to teaching his new siblings how to play with the popular Bakugan toys. \"I like having a baby brother and I like being able to hold him,\" Donavan said.

And Amanda\'s parent\'s, David and Janice Jewers of Waterville, said they are mighty proud grandparents.

\"I can\'t believe they were able to do this,\" David Jewers said. \"They\'re going to be OK. They\'re a good family; they got a lot of love to give.\"

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