A group of eight siblings in the foster care system were longing to be adopted together. Then, fortunately, a Florida family agreed to take them all into their homes. When the clan received some unexpected news about the children’s birth mother, though, they had to make a big decision.
Thad and Loryn Smith live in Tampa, Florida, and have been married since 1985. They are both devoted Christians who have always tried to give back. In fact, the pair have dedicated a great deal of their lives to looking after children in need.
Indeed, the couple have raised five biological and 15 adopted children. They’ve also been foster parents to more than 100 kids over the years. All but one of them had grown up and moved out, though, and so the Smiths thought that their days of parenting were almost over.
Then, however, Thad and Loryn saw a Facebook post from the adoption group Heart Gallery of Tampa. There, it was revealed that eight brothers and sisters were desperately trying to find a home together. But the couple were initially unsure about whether to let the siblings into their family.
Loryn explained in a March 2018 video from Caters TV, “I’m thinking yeah, we’ll just pray about it, and God will say, ‘No, you can be done.’” But while she and her husband believed that they needed to “be open” to adopting the eight kids, they still worried about the responsibility of caring for such a large group of children.
However, their son Jacob had also seen the social media post. He and his wife Peggy had no kids of their own, and so they commented on the message, saying that they would be willing to adopt the siblings if only they had the financial means to do so. Then, his mother called to ask him if he was serious about making this happen.
Furthermore, although the children had been living separately in the foster care system, Heart Gallery of Tampa revealed that the kids were close and yearning to be with one family. “These kids have a very tight bond, and they desperately want to be placed in the same home so they can all be together again,” the organization’s Facebook post explained.
But while Thad, Loryn, Jacob and Peggy all agreed that it would be difficult for either couple to handle such a large group of youngsters, they realized that they could team up. As a result, the four decided that the older children would live with Thad and Loryn, while the youngest would stay with Jacob and Peggy.
This way, the siblings wouldn’t be separated, as Jacob and his wife live close to his mother and father. “As [Jacob and Peggy said they’d take on the children], a peace settled over all of us,” Loryn shared in a 2017 blog for the Promise Love Foundation, an organization that provides help to families wishing to adopt.
Loryn continued, “We each knew that we could do four children well while allowing them to grow up in the same family together. It was time to move forward!” Therefore, the quartet started the adoption process; then, however, they all received some astonishing news.
It turned out that the siblings’ birth mom had welcomed baby number nine, who would also need a home. And while the Smiths may have been stunned at this state of affairs, they nevertheless agreed to go ahead with the adoption of all nine children. Furthermore, an emergency situation at their foster home meant that the youngest four siblings needed to be relocated quickly. Two days later, then, they were living with Jacob and Peggy.
After Jacob and Peggy took in the smaller kids, however, Thad and Loryn knew they were making the right choice. “When that happened, we knew that God was asking us to be the parents of the other five children,” Loryn told the Promise Love Foundation. She admitted that people have called them “crazy,” but they are determined not to live an “empty and self-centered life.”
And Thad agreed, saying in the Caters TV video, “I think that we’re called to a deeper purpose than coming home and closing our doors.” So, Loryn and Thad started visiting the older children, and the five of them were ready to move in shortly before Christmas 2017. Then, in November that year, the couple received a heartwarming card from one of their new daughters.
“Thank you for letting us be in your home. You saved us from being separated!” the girl wrote. Now, Desiree, 14, Angel, 12, Jaylene, 11, Evan, nine, and Jayden, eight, are living with Thad and Loryn. Jacob and Peggy are adopting Brianna, four, Jorge, three, Heavenly, two, and the five-month-old baby boy; the process should be finalized in April 2018.
And in the video, Peggy said of the youngest sibling, “He has just been a dream. He’s been really fun to have.” Meanwhile, Jacob believes that their situation was entirely meant to be. “We just knew that we had a calling specifically to them,” he added.
Peggy also explained to Caters TV, “We do know that this is probably the hardest thing we will ever do. We thought it was crazy, but we thought, ‘Why not? Why not this family? We’re young, we have a beautiful home. Why not grow our family this way?’”
And while it’s not going to be easy for the Smiths to raise so many kids, seeing how happy they are to be reunited may have made it all worthwhile. Indeed, the most important thing is that they can grow up with one another. “They didn’t make the choices that separated them. And they deserve to be together,” Loryn told ABC affiliate WFTS in February 2018.
Fortunately, the Smiths have some help on their side. After learning about their story, the Promise Love Foundation decided to help out. Specifically, the organization revealed that it was raising $40,000 to buy a larger vehicle for each of the couples.
Praise for Thad, Loryn, Jacob and Peggy has also been flooding in online. “What an unselfish thing to do, and what a lovely family they make,” one person shared. Another commented, “Tremendous display of love here. The self-sacrifice and effort is enormous. Nothing wrong [with] having your own natural-born children, but this seems even more selfless.”
Most of all, people were happy to see that the nine children would be reunited. “Many blessings to that wonderful family and the kids that they took into their home,” Jen Logan wrote in a YouTube comment. “Nine siblings that get to stay together is unheard of.”