Inspiring Couple Adopts 7 Siblings After Seeing Their Tragic Story in the News

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A post shared by Pam Willis (@second.chance.7)

When most of us see a sad or touching story on the news, we might obsess over it for a few hours and perhaps even share it on social media. However, we eventually set it aside and move on. But when 50-year-old Pam Willis saw a news story about seven orphaned siblings in foster care looking for a forever home, she was more than touched. In fact, she knew instantly that she wanted to adopt them. “I can’t explain it—I just knew I was supposed to be their mom,” Willis recounts.

Pam and her husband, 53-year-old Gary Willis, were soon to be empty nesters, with their youngest of five biological children just about to graduate high school. And although they had been fostering children for years, the couple had never talked about adoption. Pam wasn’t so sure her husband would be as eager as she was to take on this new adventure in parenthood. But to test the waters, Willis shared the story with him on Facebook first and waited until they could talk later that night.

“I thought Gary was going to tell me I was wacko—we were getting ready to retire,” Willis says, explaining her apprehension. But to her surprise, when she brought up the idea to her husband he instantly agreed that they should adopt the kids. “I was shocked. I was ready to convince him,” Willis says of their unexpected decision. “We both felt it. Everything had aligned in our lives at that time to be able to do that, and it was just so perfect.”

But Pam and Gary knew that becoming parents to these seven children wouldn’t be easy after all that they had gone through. Their biological parents had died in a tragic rollover car accident, and though they all miraculously survived, the kids had also suffered major injuries in the crash. Ranging in ages from 2 to 13, the siblings had already been in foster care for more than a year since the incident. And even before the tragedy, they’d already had to grapple with quite a bit of trauma. With their parents suffering from addiction and the family often living in homeless encampments, their previous home life had been far from stable.

 

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A post shared by Pam Willis (@second.chance.7) 

But the couple felt that their years of fostering had prepared them to adopt, so they eagerly called the number listed at the bottom of the news story. And despite being advised that thousands of people had already called in just as eager as they were, Pam and Gary were matched with the children just two months later. The kids were finally able to move in with them in June 2019 as the family went through the adoption screening process. They quickly bonded with the younger children who they say were “desperately craving permanency.” But that same task wasn’t so easy with the two older kids.

“I think they didn’t quite trust that we were real. Like maybe we were going to go away,” Pam explains. “I think it’s so hard to trust when so much has been taken from your life…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.’”

For the next few months, the children struggled to overcome some obstacles as they adjusted to their new lives. But, ultimately, Pam and Gary stayed by their sides as they grew to truly become a family. And in August 2020, after months of delay due to the pandemic, they were finally able to make the adoption official. The Willises could officially call 15-year-old Adelino, 13-year-old Ruby, 9-year-old Aleecia, 8-year-old Anthony, 7-year-old Aubriella, 5-year-old Leo, and 4-year-old Xander their children.

Pam calls the kids their “Second Chance 7.” And two years from where they started, the family’s life has been completely transformed as they’ve grown closer and created new memories like family trips and holidays. Their story has since become famous after the Willis’ oldest daughter posted a 15-second reel telling the couple’s story, and it went viral. It even caught the attention of celebrities, including actress Kristen Bell, who went on to share the post. Though they still aren’t used to all the attention, they have taken advantage of this opportunity to share their story and call attention to the plight of children who have gone through situations similar to that of their kids to encourage people to adopt.

“There are so many children in need of homes…and I feel this huge responsibility to make people aware of that,” Pam says. “I think it’s a whole world people don’t understand or know, but if they did—would have a heart for it.”

After seeing their story on the news, Pam and Gary Willis adopted seven siblings whose parents had died in a tragic car accident and completely transformed their lives.

 

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A post shared by Pam Willis (@second.chance.7)

 

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A post shared by Pam Willis (@second.chance.7)

 

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A post shared by Pam Willis (@second.chance.7)

The family’s adoption story has since gone viral due to this 15-second reel that was even shared by actress Kristen Bell.

 

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A post shared by Pam Willis (@second.chance.7)

In the two years since they first met Pam and Gary, the children’s lives have completely transformed as they’ve bonded with their adoptive parents through family trips, holidays, and even a pandemic.

 

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A post shared by Pam Willis (@second.chance.7)

 

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A post shared by Pam Willis (@second.chance.7)

 

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A post shared by Pam Willis (@second.chance.7)

Pam Willis: Instagram
h/t: [Today]

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Baby Girl With Down Syndrome Is Adopted by a Doting Dad After Being Rejected by 20 Families

Arnesia Young

Arnesia Young is a contributing writer for My Modern Met and an aspiring art historian. She holds a BA in Art History and Curatorial Studies with a minor in Design from Brigham Young University. With a love and passion for the arts, culture, and all things creative, she finds herself intrigued by the creative process and is constantly seeking new ways to explore and understand it.
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