James aka Jimbo and LaRita. We have 7 kids at home. Ages 1 to 9. We have already adopted 2 of them. (Kylie and Jimmy). We are in the process of adopting the other 5. The youngest, Turtle, is the sibling to the 2 we already adopted, we got her at birth. The other 4, Haven, Malachi, Mason, and Braylen, are a sibling group of their own. We also have 5 grown kids. JJ, Holly, Mack, Cody, and Lily. And 9 grandkids. Madison, Jessie Paul, Colby, Kendyl, Daniel, Paisley, Maddux, Ethan, and Easton.
We started our foster care journey after our grown kids were out of the nest. We had no intentions of adopting. We simply wanted to make the foster care experience less traumatic for kids. Our goal was to make their time away from their parents, less like their personal prison sentence, and more like a vacation or summer camp. Yes they would still miss their parents but we tried to pack as much fun and new experiences into it as possible. They need to be kids while the adults deal with whatever crisis led them to foster care. Our plan was to make sure that every child left our home knowing how to ride a bike and knowing about Jesus’ love for us all. Later in life they would look back at their time spent with us and not remember it as a bad season for their family, but a time when they were safe and happy. For some kids that has happened. We have had several of our former fosters return to visit. To let us know that they had graduated highschool, enrolled in college, or for us to meet their girlfriend. We have had 107 kids come through our home from Dfacs. Either as a placement or respite care. Each one a blessing and each one a learning experience for us. Yet we are still not experts on children. Every child has it’s own unique needs. However I can say, it’s been my experience, that all kids, no matter what age, race, background, rich or poor, religion,… they all want the same 3 things. To be safe, valued, and a cell phone.
Our 7…. We have a variety of special needs with our 7 little kids. Some due to abuse, some due to prenatal drug use, and some due to a genetic disorder. Braylen specifically, is one of our Full Mutation Fragile X syndrome babies. He is the sweetest boy. His big wide mouth smile is contagious. He has had alot to overcome in his little life, and he will continue to face challenges forever. Born with hip dysplasia in both hips, he was unable to walk at all until he was two. He has recently came out of the casting process to correct tendons in his feet. He will be getting leg braces as soon as this covid 19 quarantine is over. Due to hips legs and feet having pain at times and also just refusal due to Fragile X behaviors, some days he doesn’t walk at all. He requires a carseat and stroller with harness straps, as he stems alot. He flaps his arms and legs, and arches back with his chest out. Smiling the whole time. The harness keeps him from falling into the floor. We have not figured out a way to make kids bounce. He will just go splat. He use to wear a helmet full time bc of his head banging the floor. Thankfully he no longer has to wear it all the time. If you can get past the obvious differences in his movements, tremors, his reluctance to speak, fearfulness of strangers, and his meltdowns, you would see what we see. A beautiful soul, that finds joy in the simplest of things. Waving at a chicken, getting to ride the school bus to his special needs school that he attends 2 days a week, listening to music, watching “Shrek”, Walmart deli eggrolls, his blanket at bedtime, and being pushed in a swing, these are things that bring so much joy to him. He loves swinging more than anything.
Adopting 7 kids was not part of our plans. But God’s plan was perfect. We are so truly blessed to have fallen in love with these babies.