Pam Willis was scrolling through her Facebook account one day in 2019 when she came across a devastating news report. It was about a group of seven siblings who were looking for a permanent home.
After their parents died in a vehicle accident in May 2018, the children had been in foster care for over a year. Their car turned over onto its side, killing their 42-year-old father and 31-year-old mother.
During the collision, each of the children had varied degrees of injuries. None of them, thankfully, were life-threatening. They had no other family to care for them, so after a full recovery, the four brothers and three sisters were placed for adoption.
When Pam, an attorney, saw their photos, she couldn’t stop staring at their hopeful faces.
“I can’t explain it — I just knew I was supposed to be their mom,” the 50-year-old told TODAY Parents.
Pam tagged her husband, US Navy veteran Gary Willis, 53, so he would see the write-up. She wrote, “Omg stop! Gary, can we adopt them?”
They have five adult children and live in Menifee, California. They’ve been fostering children for a long time. Pam was confident that Gary would disagree because they had never discussed adoption.
“I was expecting Gary to tell me I was crazy because we were about to retire,” Pam remembered.
But, to her relief—and surprise—Gary shared her feelings.
“I despised the idea of having a large six-bedroom house that was vacant because my children had grown up and left.” Pam told Metro UK, “I didn’t want to have all these rooms and no one to live in them.”
They called the number mentioned at the bottom of the article later that night. They were told that thousands of calls had already been received from people interested in adopting Adelino, 15, Ruby, 13, Aleecia, 9, Anthony, 8, Aubriella, 7, Leo, 5, and Xander, 4.
But two months later, Pam and Gary were matched with the siblings!
During the screening procedure, the parents discovered that the children had been through a lot of trauma. Their late parents struggled with addiction, and the family spent a lot of time in homeless shelters.
Pam explained that connecting with the younger children was easier since “they were just eager for permanency.” Pam knows why the older two were more challenging.
“I believe they didn’t believe we were real. “As if we were about to leave,” she speculated. “It’s difficult to trust when so much has been taken from you.” Ruby had no idea how to be a child. At such a young age, she had to be a mother figure.”
Pam said the kids have been a joy to be around since they initially moved in with them in June 2019. The children address them as “mom” and “dad,” and they have formed deep bonds with their biological older siblings.
There was a lot of adjusting in the first six months. The youngsters had trouble sleeping and had nightmares on a regular basis. Her then-7-year-old entered their room one night. “No, I just wanted to be sure you were still here,” she said when Pam inquired if she had a bad dream.
Pam and Gary proved that they weren’t going anywhere. In August 2020, they officially adopted the seven siblings!
Their biological children, Matthew, 32, Andrew, 30, Alexa, 27, Sophia, 23, and Sam, 20, were present during the virtual ceremony.
“It was awesome,” Pam recalled. “We brought a big TV screen out to the park so everybody could watch and cheer and be safe during COVID. There was so much love.”
Pam and Gary, who are now busy parents of 12, share their family’s adventures on Instagram, where they have amassed 41,000 followers! Follow them to be inspired by their story and incredible generosity.
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