While the prospect of an empty nest is bittersweet, most parents look forward to uninterrupted time as a couple when their children finally fly through the chicken coop. But for a California husband and wife, instead of a cozy retirement, they found themselves fledging their nest once again, with seven adopted children.
The odyssey began in January 2019, when Pam Willis was scanning Facebook. She says a post titled ‘Seven Brothers Who Need a Forever Home’ “hit her like a ton of bricks.”
The story revealed that after the children’s father and mother died in a car accident a year earlier, the siblings had been placed in foster care. “In that instant, their sweet smiling faces jumped off the screen and entered my heart,” he said. posted on Instagram.
Pam tagged her husband Gary on the post. At the end of the day it was decided: they wanted to adopt all of them.
“We knew deep down that this mission was being presented to us,” Pam wrote. “If it’s not us, then who? Who would keep them all together? Who would have room for them? Who would have the time, love, and patience for her trauma? The answer was clear …
“We would. Why else would we have a six-room house that was about to empty its last child’s room? Why else would our nest that had raised our first five babies be empty just in time? just to make room for our new babies. “
Two months after making initial contact with the foster care agency, Adelino, 15, Ruby, 13, Aleecia, 9, Anthony, 8, Aubriella, 7, Leo, 5, and Xander, 4 were placed with Pam and Gary.
Since the fears were based on past experiences, the older children did not really feel safe. Even before losing their parents, their lives were far from ideal – their mother and father were sometimes destitute, and they also struggled with substance abuse. As a result, they were sometimes unable to provide a stable environment for their children.
“I think it’s very difficult to trust when so much has been taken from your life,” Pam Willis said. TODAY. “One night my 7 year old son came into our room. I asked him, ‘Did you have a nightmare?’ And she replied, ‘No, I just wanted to make sure you were still here.’
The Willis knew it would take time and patience to gain the children’s trust, but they were willing to do whatever it took. Last August, Pam and Gary made the adoption official.
The virtual ceremony was attended by the biological children of the couple, Matthew, Andrew, Alexa, Sophia and Sam, whose ages range between 20 and 32 years. “It was amazing,” Pam told TODAY. “We brought a big TV screen to the park so everyone could watch, cheer and be safe during COVID. There was so much love. “
Although a second family was not in their plans, the outcome of the story was not a surprise to the Will. “They were ours from the moment we saw their faces on the news,” Pam posted on Instagram.
“If you ask my friends, at one point we were republishing their heartbreaking story and calling attention to their plight, the next minute we met them, fell in love and began the adoption process … WE ARE their forever home, and this is our second chance with SEVEN! ❤️ “
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