Husband and Wife Nearing Retirement Adopt 7 Brothers and Sisters Whose Parents Died in Car Crash
When Pam Willis saw a news story about seven young children in need of a forever family come across her Facebook feed, she knew she was meant to open her home to them.
The children, she learned, had been in foster care for more than a year after their parents died in a car accident. At the time, they ranged in age from 1 to 12.
Pam, 50, and her husband Gary, who have five biological adult children, had fostered before, but they had never discussed adoption, she told TODAY. She tagged him in the post, not knowing if he would feel the same.
"I thought Gary was going to tell me I was wacko — we were getting ready to retire," she said.
However, Pam said that Gary felt the same. "We knew deep inside that this mission was being placed before us. If not us, then who?," she wrote in an Instagram post.
She added to TODAY: "I can't explain it — I just knew I was supposed to be their mom."
Though the siblings had already received thousands of calls from people eager to take them in, they were placed with Gary and Pam two months later, according to TODAY.
The couple learned that the children had experienced quite a bit of trauma in their lives. Pam revealed that connecting with the older ones was tough.
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"I think it's so hard to trust when so much has been taken from your life," she told the outlet. "Ruby didn't know how to be a kid. She had to be a mother figure at a very young age."
She added,"One night, my then-7-year-old came into our room. I asked her, 'Did you have a bad dream?' And she replied, 'No, I just wanted to make sure that you were still here.' "
Last August, Pam and Gary adopted all seven of the children — Adelino, 15, Ruby, 13, Aleecia, 9, Anthony, 8, Aubriella, 7, Leo, 5, and Xander, 4.
And though the COVID-19 pandemic threw a wrench in their original adoption day plans, Pam wrote on Instagram that "we made it happen and we made it special!"
More recently, Pam shared a highlight reel she dubbed, "Our life in 15 seconds," showing her life with Gary from when they met, through welcoming their five biological children and, eventually, adding seven new members to the family.
"They've given us a second chance at parenting, we've given them a second Mom and Dad," Pam captioned the post. "They are our Second Chance 7."