Two more bring twice the joy for mother of adopted cousins

Former probation officer makes home for children she used to visit
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
-A +A
Arlie Hubins knew her adopted kids before they were born. The retired probation officer met the mother of one of her now 4-year-olds during weekly mandated visits to the then teen mom. A few years later, she heard that the 3-year-old girl and her 3-year-old cousin were being taken out of their grandparents’ custody and put into the foster system. Hubins volunteered to take them under her wing. Last November, she formally adopted the cousins and changed their names to Braden and Riley. A year later, Hubins said it’s been an adjustment from buying pickles for the first time to teaching her new son and daughter manners. “They came with a history,” Hubins said. Before she adopted Braden and Riley last year, Hubins was enjoying life with her adopted 18-year-old daughter, Marilyn, in their Auburn home. Arlie Hubins adopted Marilyn when she was 6 months old from a teen mother. As Arlie Hubins raised her, the two would take spur-of-the-moment trips to San Francisco or go camping somewhere nearby. During their initial trips with Braden and Riley, Arlie Hubins said she had to lay towels all over the car because the duo would vomit out of anxiety of going somewhere unknown. “They were really insecure about taking off at the drop of a hat and going somewhere,” Arlie Hubins recalled. The two young children’s food habits were also an adjustment. The 4-year-olds love olives on their pizza – something Arlie and Marilyn Hubins couldn’t fathom liking – and they also wanted pickles. “These guys eat olives day in and day out and for Marilyn and I, that’s gross,” Arlie Hubins said, laughing. But the two women have adjusted. They order pizzas half with olives and half without. Arlie Hubins is used to seeing pickles in her refrigerator. In return, Braden and Riley now look forward to car trips away from home and are learning how to one-day become what their mother hopes them to be – good, productive adults. Arlie Hubins said her children have come from household that was abusive toward animals. She initially saw signs of that when the then 3-year-olds would hit Arlie Hubins’ animals. The mother of three has approached the issue by not letting them touch the animals and gradually working toward letting them pet the dogs as they learn to be gentle. “Marilyn was a sponge, a clean slate,” Arlie Hubins said. “These guys have definite likes and dislikes. We’ve had to change to accommodate to them – like having pickles.” As for Marilyn Hubins, the 18-year-old said she had always wanted siblings when she was younger but admitted it was difficult at first. “It was hard at first because being an only child for 17 years, it was kind of hard having to deal with other people in the house,” Marilyn Hubins said. “I just got used to having them there.” When she spends time with her new brother and sister, she said she usually plays with Braden and his dinosaurs and helps fix Riley’s hair. Arlie Hubins said life is much more organized now than it was before. “You learn to develop a ‘Run like hell mode’ when they’re sleeping,” Hubins joked. But caring for children does give her an excuse she says to indulge in childlike fun. “I love having kids and I feel like I’m making a difference,” Arlie Hubins said. “I’ve had a really good life and it’s a great excuse to watch Disney and go to the zoo all the time.” Jenifer Gee can be reached at