“My husband and I and our teenage kids have been a foster family for almost 7 years. We have always taken in toddlers and babies, usually sibling sets of two. Sometimes we’d have three as their cases overlapped.
We were married when we were teenagers and have been married for 32 years, raising our five biological children. As our nest began to empty, the oldest ones got married and the only kiddos left were a couple of teens who didn’t need us so much anymore. We decided we had space and love to offer to the broken-hearted babies out there in the foster system.
What I never expected was how rewarding the work would be. Most children were in our home for around a year each. I didn’t anticipate I’d have that much time to do such great work with them in the areas of trust, love, and healing. It was amazing to see the progress that scared, neglected little ones could make in only a year’s time in our home. We always worked together, my husband, myself, and my two teenagers. We loved fiercely, protected with all we had, and fought hard to get the best for them in their cases.
Of the nine long term children we had (three sets of siblings and two single newborns), all of them either eventually went to family members to be adopted or returned to their biological mothers. We cried and mourned the loss of each one, all the while knowing we’d done exactly what we were supposed to do. We taught them about love and security and attachment. The hashtag ‘get too attached’ is very popular in the foster care community. It’s what everyone is afraid of when they talk about how they ‘could never foster,’ but it’s exactly what the kids need and exactly what a foster family is supposed to do. To get too attached!
Only one set of our foster kiddos ever went to open adoption. They were adopted by some friends of ours who hadn’t had biological children of their own but had been praying about adopting. What a magnificent blessing to be a part of! We still see those kiddos all the time. They live right around the corner from us. They ended up with the perfect Mommy and Daddy for them, and our hearts swell every time we see them together even now, three years later!
One January day in 2019, in our big, empty, six-bedroom house that had only a newborn foster placement and a graduating high schooler, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when a news story post hit my heart like the biggest ton of bricks. ‘Seven Siblings in Need of Forever Home,’ it said. In that instant, their sweet, hope-filled faces jumped off of the screen and into my heart.
I tagged my husband in the post. ‘Can we adopt them?’ I typed, knowing he’d tell me I was insane.
I thought about them all day.
That evening, I asked him if he’d seen the post. ‘Yes,’ he said. ‘We should adopt them.’
My heart stopped.
‘We should,’ I said.
We knew deep inside this mission was being placed before us. If not us, then who?
They had been in foster care for a year. Their parents had been killed in a car accident they all had miraculously survived without seat belts or car seats. They were ejected from the vehicle. They were badly injured, all had concussions, and some had surgeries and long hospitalizations. But they survived. They must have been preserved for a purpose.
Who else could keep them all together? Who else would have space for them? Who else would have the time, and the love, and the patience for their trauma? The answer was clear… we would.
Why else did we have a six-bedroom house that was about to have its last child’s bedroom vacated? Why else would our nest, that had raised our first five babies, be emptied just in time? It was only to make room for our new babies. They were ours from the minute we saw their faces on the news story.
If you ask my friends, one moment we were reposting their heart-wrenching news story and calling attention to their plight so ‘someone’ might take them in and the next minute, we were meeting them, falling in love, and starting the process of transitioning them to our home for adoption.
They moved in with us exactly six months after we had seen their news story. That marked one full year in foster care for them but thankfully, they had been able to stay together in the same home during that time. I soon came to understand they had been almost ‘numb’ that year. Going through the motions of day to day life, but their healing had not yet begun.
They were so excited to have a forever family, but these babies were scared and broken inside. They were 14, 11, 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2. They had various issues of trauma, neglect, malnutrition, fetal alcohol, and drug exposure, abuse…. they were the exact picture of everything we had been dealing with in our past five years of fostering. We had been lovingly and perfectly prepared by God to be the home these children could come to for healing. What a humbling realization for my husband and I to have!
They came to us in June of 2019 and our adoption was final August of 2020, amid COVID-19 and all. We are their forever home and this is our second chance with SEVEN.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Pamela Willis. You can follow their journey on Instagram. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read about more amazing adoption journeys here:
‘I’ve wanted to be adopted all the time I’ve been in foster care. This is the best day of my life!’ I squeezed his hand. ‘It’s the best day of mine, too.’: Single dad adopts boy from foster care, ‘Love defines our family’
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