A mother and father raised ten kids, and when most of them had left the nest, the couple realized they still had love to give. They wanted to parent again, and when their paths crossed with seven foster siblings, they got that chance.
There are many children in foster care waiting to find their forever homes. Sadly, families can't always adopt sets of siblings, and they are separated from each other.
When a couple started looking for children who needed a loving home, they discovered a group of siblings who had a history of neglect. The parents wanted to help, but they never imagined adopting seven more children.
The Fulbright family on Adoption Day. | Source: youtube.com/Good Morning America
THEY WANTED TO HELP THEM
By 2016, Gary and Lisa Fulbright had an almost empty house. The Kansas couple parented their kids from previous marriages and shared one biological son, Logan. He was the only child still living in the house when they decided to expand their family.
Gary and Lisa learned about siblings Emerson, Autumn, Jaxon, Journey, Jace, Piper, and Sawyer, who had been separated for over a year—the couple desperately wanted to help them.
THE KIDS HAD A DIFFICULT CHILDHOOD
The group struggled because of their absent parents, who never provided them with the attention and care they needed. The eldest sibling shared that his mother left him alone for days.
He also had no information about his father other than the knowledge that he lived in Mexico. The child added that it was "really nice" to finally have a dad who wanted to spend quality time with him.
THE GRADUAL ADOPTION PROCESS
Saint Francis Ministries, an organization that offers adoption and foster care services, notified Gary and Lisa about seven siblings in need. The Fulbright duo was surprised by the size of the group and slowly got to know the siblings.
Firstly, the couple adopted three siblings, and they regularly invited the rest of their brothers and sisters over to their house so they could spend time together.
Over time, they adopted the rest of the group because they understood the importance of keeping family together. Lisa said:
"Not too many people are willing to adopt seven together and it was important to keep them together. They had been through so much they didn't need to lose each other."
IT CAN BE CHALLENGING
Raising seven young kids is no easy task, and the Fulbright couple revealed what life looks like in their busy but thriving home. Their house is "always loud," and the mom shared that she does regular headcounts to ensure everyone is still around.
While many people think they are crazy, the duo believes they are doing God's work. Megan Prothe, an adoption specialist, explained:
"It can be challenging in adoption to keep siblings together, but to do so makes a profound difference for children."
THEY EXPERIENCED MANY "FIRSTS"
Due to severe neglect, the kids hadn't experienced many things that seemed normal in other families. Lisa and her husband were heartbroken to see what the kids had been deprived of.
The adoptive mother said: "We took them for the first time roller skating, we took them to their first movie--it's so much fun just to see that."
"We [also visited] the zoo, [went] ice skating ... We're just trying to show them everything life has to offer."
SIBLINGS SHOULD GROW UP TOGETHER
On adoption day in 2019, the entire family was thrilled. They wore matching jerseys and took in all of the excitement inside the buzzing courtroom. The adoption meant the world to the siblings, who were grateful for the chance to stay together.
Brothers and sisters need to grow up under the same roof. Adoptees often experience many hardships, and adoptive parents should do everything possible to keep siblings together.
Adoption worker, Veronicia Mills, stated that it was terrific to work with the Fulbright family, and she noted:
"We are pleased these seven siblings could be adopted together and complete the Fulbright family."
THEY WOULD NOT CHANGE A THING
The parents shared that their home is a mix of chaotic fun, and while it isn't always easy, it is always worth it, and they wouldn't change a thing. They love all of their children, who they describe as caring, sweet, and helpful.
"It's kind of chaos but it's a fun type of chaos because we just love them."
The Fulbright family displays the beauty that is found in adoption. The kids found a loving home to call their own, and the parents also received abundant joy.