In an extraordinary act of kindness, a nearly retired couple - who already had 5 children who had 'flown the nest' - decided to adopt 7 siblings whose parents had died in a car accident.
Picture the scene. You are approaching your retirement, having raised 5 kids. You're probably looking forward to a couple of extra holidays, taking up the hobby you always intended to, and eagerly awaiting the day grand children start appearing. Not so for Pam and Gary Willis in California.
The remarkable chain of events began back in January 2019, as Pam Willis was scanning Facebook. She says a post titled ‘Seven Siblings in Need of Forever Home’ “hit her like a ton of bricks.” By the end of the day, she and Gary had decided to try and adopt them, thinking 'if not us, then who?'
As Pam has subsequently posted on Instagram: “We knew deep inside that this mission was being placed before us,” Pam wrote. “If not us, then who? Who would keep them all together? Who would have the space for them? Who 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 empty just in time? It was only to make room for our new babies.”
“I can’t explain it - I just knew I was supposed to be their mom.”
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.
The virtual adoption ceremony was attended by the couple’s biological children, whose ages range from 20 to 32. “It was awesome,” Pam told TODAY. “We brought a big TV screen out to the park so everybody could watch and cheer and be safe. There was so much love.”
If your heart strings can take another, similar story...
Tony's childhood was pretty grim. After his birth parents gave him up for adoption, he spent a few years bouncing around the foster care system before being adopted at age 4. But, in a truly awful turn of events, those parents left him in a Charlotte, North Carolina hospital when he was 11, and never returned. More...