Pam and Gary Willis has revealed they felt ᴄᴏᴍᴘᴇʟʟᴇᴅ to ᴀᴅᴏᴘᴛ seven children after seeing an ad on social media detailing how the siblings’ ʜᴀᴅ ʙᴇᴇɴ ʟᴇFᴛ ᴡɪᴛʜᴏᴜᴛ a ‘forever home’ when their parents ᴅɪᴇᴅ in a ᴄᴀʀ ᴀᴄᴄɪᴅᴇɴᴛ. They have five children and had been fostering kids for many years. However, Pam spotted a Facebook ad searching for a permanent home for Adelino, 15, Ruby, 13, Aleecia, nine, Anthony, eight, Aubriella, seven, Leo, five, and Xander, four, who had been in foster care for over a year after both of their parents ᴛʀᴀɢɪᴄᴀʟʟʏ ᴅɪᴇᴅ in a ᴄᴀʀ ᴄʀᴀsʜ
Pam said that she couldn’t stop staring at their faces, saying: “I can’t explain it, I just knew I was sᴜᴘᴘᴏsᴇᴅ to be their mom. I felt it was what Gᴏᴅ wanted us to do.” In March 2019, Pam and Gary met the children. They progressed to weekly visits, and then overnight visits in the Willis’ home. On June 7, 2019, the seven kids moved in with Pam and Gary. Aᴅᴏᴘᴛɪᴏɴ andFᴏsᴛᴇʀ ᴄᴀʀᴇ sʏsᴛᴇᴍs ʀᴇǫᴜɪʀᴇ ᴍᴀɴʏ sᴛᴇᴘs before children can officially be ᴀᴅᴏᴘᴛᴇᴅ, and the Willis family ᴇxᴘᴇʀɪᴇɴᴄᴇᴅ an additional ʜᴜʀᴅʟᴇ. The ᴘᴀɴᴅᴇᴍɪᴄ ᴄᴀᴜsᴇᴅ their local courts to close, just four days before they were scheduled to finalize the children’s adoptions.
Luckily, they were able to proceed with finalization several months later, on August 7, 2020, via Zoom. Pam said the youngest children were easiest to connect with. He said : “I think they didn’t quite trust that we were real. Like maybe we were going to go away. I think it’s so hard to trust when so much has been taken from your life. Ruby didn’t know how to be a kid. She had to be a ᴍᴏᴛʜᴇʀ Fɪɢᴜʀᴇ ᴀᴛ ᴀ ᴠᴇʀʏ ʏᴏᴜɴɢ ᴀɢᴇ.” Pam shares that the family has a daily routine that involves meals, doing school work, and lots of outside play. Skating, jumping on the trampoline, swimming, and riding bikes keep the kids active. Weekends are all about family time, visiting the kids’ new older siblings, going to the park or beach, and playing with their new nieces and nephews, their new siblings’ children.
The mum-of-12 recently spoke about how she ensures the kids have impeccable manners when out at a restaurant. She explained that when she and her husband met the children two years ago, some of them had never been to a restaurant before. She said: “Taking seven kids to a restaurant is not an easy feat, but when we took into consideration that they wouldn’t have the slightest clue of how to behave there, we had to come up with a plan.” The mum’s idea was simple the couple took the children to the park and played ‘restaurant’ together. The game saw them ᴘʀᴇᴛᴇɴᴅ they were at a restaurant and someone ᴘʀᴇᴛᴇɴᴅᴇᴅ to be a waitress, where Pam gave the kids examples of good and ʙᴀᴅ manners.
She said she left it up to the children to decide which manners would be best in the situation and so they practised. Pam ensured that when practising giving the waitress their order, they said ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. The couple makes real life situations into games so the children can understand the behaviours, while also having fun. Pam suggests that anyone interested in becoming a Fᴏsᴛᴇʀ ᴘᴀʀᴇɴᴛ investigate orientations and trainings in their area. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. She notes that ‘ᴛʜᴇ ᴛʀᴀɴs Cᴏʀᴍᴀᴛɪᴏɴs’ children experience ‘is so rewarding.’ She notes that she and Gary ‘watched it happen in our home over and over and over again, no matter what the age of the child.’ They’ve had the honor of watching her kids ‘grow and thrive into these wonderful human beings who feel secure and loved!’