As part of National Adoption Month, Parentology is sharing the stories of those whose lives have been impacted by adoption. Country star and Season 14 “The Voice” standout, Kaleb Lee has been very open about his own adoption and the decision to adopt his son.
Lee tells Parentology he never met his biological father. His mother’s husband adopted Kaleb when he was five-years-old and is the only dad he’s ever known.
“It wasn’t until I was a teenager that I was able to understand the situation,” the Kentucky native says. “I didn’t want to be my biological dad as a parent.”
Lee’s love of music started early, with the gift of a guitar at the age of eight sealing his passion for the medium. After graduating from high school, Lee attended Emory College where he met Meagan, the woman who became his wife. The two got married and started a family, and settled in Ormond Beach, Florida.
After marrying, Lee and Meagan moved to Nashville, where Lee focused on his music. Upon starting a family, the couple moved to Ormond Beach, Florida, to raise daughters — Graelynn (now 8) and Lilly (now 9). A yearning began for one more child. Thoughts of adoption surfaced.
An International Road to Adoption
For the Lees, the road to adoption took them to Nicaragua. Not only had the duo honeymooned in this Central American country, they’d also engaged in various missions there through their church. Lee tells Parentology he and his wife wrestled with whether they wanted to adopt in the United States or from another country. In the end, they realized kids need parents, no matter where they live, and that’s the most important thing.
Also, “We saw how the system in Nicaragua works with orphanages,” Lee says. “It was enough for us to [choose to] adopt from there.”
Lee and his wife waited for about six months for a match after they were approved to adopt. That’s when they were alerted that an 11-month old little boy, JoJo, was in need of a forever home.
As part of the process, the Lees had to move to Nicaragua for three months to complete an in-country foster program to become foster parents.
“They do home visits and check on the health of the child,” Lee explains. “It’s also a final process for family members to step up and raise him.”
The entire adoption process took Lee and his wife 3 ½ years before their son, JoJo, was home with them in the United States. Lee says the transition when they got home was seamless from having lived with JoJo for three months in Nicaragua.
“We watched him have his first birthday together,” says Lee. “We did a lot of firsts parents get to do.” Today, JoJo five years old.
Lee says through talking about his experience with adoption, he’s heard that it’s not the lack of desire to adopt that holds people back, it’s the lack of funds. It’s something he and his wife struggled with as well.
“We were never going to afford it until we decided to do it,” Lee says. “We committed to it and we made the changes necessary to make it happen.”
Lee says adoption is the one thing that’s influenced him the most in his life. That’s one of the reasons why he hasn’t released a song about his adoption experiences just yet.
Adoption is a topic that was front-and-center when Lee was a contestant on season 14 of The Voice. His family took the stage with him during his blind audition, where the stories of both his and JoJo’s adoptions began to unfold to the public.
“It’s so close to me. It’s got to be the right song at the right time …when I release something I want it to be right.”