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Foster family's adoption story: how they grew their family

Mere on the air's family adoption story
Posted at 6:41 AM, Nov 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-12 11:15:07-05

TUCSON, Arizona (KGUN) — The house is filled with laughter. Chad Dunkel, 3, plays with his older sister as they chase each other around the backyard.

"They just love each other," Meredith Dunkel, their mom and radio personality for the Mix FM show Greg and Mere in the morning, said.

Chad is the newest addition to the family after months of foster care. The couple knew they wanted to grow their family and started researching adoption. Coupled with the dire need for foster families in Southern Arizona, they said the call was too loud to ignore.

"We learned that there is a huge need for foster parents," Matthew said. "The foster system here in Arizona and really anywhere else, the need is extravagant from newborns all the way to teenagers."

Meredith said he entered foster care just five days after he was born and spent time with a different foster mom.

She and her husband Matthew Dunkel got involved with respite care, which is where a foster family babysits for another foster family so they can take a break. After getting in touch with Grace Retreat Foster Care and Adoption Services, they continued to research adoption and foster care.

“You do have to go to foster care college/university and so you find a foster care agency and you work with them and they guide you through the paperwork and then you go to classes," Meredith said.

They started fostering Chad as the pandemic hit, which made the process a little bit different. Instead of court rooms, they entered Zoom rooms. Instead of official visits, it was Facetime calls. But it worked. The family officially adopted Chad in February of 2021.

"We didn’t have the big court thing which was fine because it was still amazing," Meredith said. "Like when I think of amazing days, that was one of them."