When parents Tammie and Josh Higgins found a set of four siblings up for adoption who amazingly matched up in age with their own four biological children, they couldn’t believe it.
“My husband saw their pictures online and was like, ‘These are our kids, I just feel it,’ ” Tammie, 36, tells PEOPLE. “We just knew it in our hearts.”
The couple had always talked about expanding their family through adoption and the discovery of Rudy, 14, Ruby, 12, Grace, 10 and Ruben, 8, online felt like “fate.”
So the family, who lives just outside of Denver, went through the motions of adoption preparation: They completed paperwork, met with the kids multiple times and gradually assimilated the siblings into their home.
In May 2015, the siblings moved in with Tammie, Josh, 38, and their four kids: Macee, 14, Kaden, 12, Lincoln, 10 and Mylee, 8. And in November the adoption was finalized.
“It feels like we are a complete family,” says Tammie. “Everyone felt so meshed in and found their place in our family just amazingly well.”
Tammie says that the transition was surprisingly seamless.
“Our biological kids were on board and very, very supportive. We wouldn’t have done the adoption if everyone wasn’t on board,” she says. “In most people’s eyes, four kids is a big family, but we felt like we’ve got this under control, we’re good we can handle some more! We didn’t’ realize how huge of a leap it would be, especially learning how to parent kids who have come from trauma and troubled pasts.”
But Tammie says her biological kids were instrumental in helping Rudy, Ruby, Grace and Ruben feel at home.
“It was almost like the kids gained a twin with how close in age everyone is,” she says. “It helped everyone [to have] a person [their] age to see and understand how our family operates. To have someone explain our family and say, ‘This is how we treat each other’ helped them immensely.
“They welcomed them with open arms.”
The 10-person family lives in a five-bedroom house where the kids ares homeschooled with help from Tammie and her mother. They also participate in public sports leagues, according to Tammie.
“The kids are all over the place in terms of education level, so we teach everybody right where they’re at,” says Tammie. “We feel called to be able to be there and have that larger amount of time to teach and train and mentor the kids. They’ve spent time in a traditional classroom, but they appreciate and love homeschooling.”
In order to make sure each child gets proper attention, Tammie and Josh have 1-on-1 dates with each kid every month, whether it be ice cream outings or shopping trips.
“It was a huge adjustment for the biological kids, because my time is pulled in a million directions now,” says Tammie. “We have to be careful not to let the biological kids get lost in the shuffle of everything.”
As the two-year anniversary of the siblings’ adoption and move-in approaches, Tammie says the family is “grateful” for each other.
“Of course, like any other family, we get in squabbles, but at the end of the day there is so much love,” she says. “The love we have for each other just grows every day.”