For some married couples, adoption may be the more ideal route to growing their family. Tammy and Drew Waltz can certainly attest to that, as they welcomed four children into their home over Christmas holiday period in 2016. However, when they made the decision to adopt the kids, the announcement left their siblings in shock.
A resident of Kannapolis, North Carolina, Tammy works at the FIRE School of Ministry as a worship director. But her real passion lies elsewhere. Indeed, even before meeting Drew she felt the urge to adopt a child, despite being single. Coincidentally, he also harbored similar feelings prior to their relationship.
“We love adoption,” Tammy told UK newspaper the Daily Mail in September 2017. “And there’s nothing like a child finding somewhere to belong. Our passion is orphans.” With that in mind, the couple made a big decision at the back-end of 2016, after looking at a photograph of two siblings from Eastern Europe.
The brother and sister were part of a program called Open Hearts and Homes for Children (OHHC). Established in 2010, this is a non-profit organization that gives orphaned youngsters a chance to experience life inside an American home. At present, the program is focused on kids living in Ukraine and Latvia.
On that note, Tammy and Drew thought about bringing the two children into their home over the Christmas period. However, that all changed following a conversation with OHHC. “[…] We found out that they had two younger brothers,” Tammy wrote on mySTORY, part of Lifesong for Orphans.
With that in mind, the couple then pressed ahead to bring all four children to North Carolina for the holidays, with the quartet touching down in America soon after. “We spent five weeks during Christmas of 2016 learning their personalities and falling in love with their individuality and their bond with each other,” Tammy continued.
The siblings, aged between 13 and eight, made a big impact on Tammy and Drew’s life, with the pair feeling their absence once they flew back home. “After seeing the kids off at the airport as they headed back to Eastern Europe, we instantly noticed how quiet our lives were once again,” she wrote on mySTORY.
“We found ourselves missing the sounds of giggling, broken English, and remote-control cars racing through the house,” Tammy added. “These sounds filled our home with so much life for those few weeks.” On that note, the couple then made a significant decision some months later.
“We missed them so deeply, but the thought of adopting four children is nothing to be taken lightly,” Tammy wrote on mySTORY. “We needed to know that it was a calling from the Lord and not an emotional response. After months of prayer, and seeking God’s will and wisdom, we knew that these precious ones belonged with us,” she continued.
Indeed, in March 2017 Tammy and Drew decided to adopt the quartet. But they didn’t reveal their plans straightaway. Instead, the couple would wait until the children arrived back in North Carolina that summer for another hosting period. Prior to that, though, they came up with a unique idea.
Ahead of their second visit to America, Tammy decided to record some personal messages for the kids from her family and friends. However, while filming each person, she then dropped the bombshell that she and Drew were adopting the quartet. Unsurprisingly, the news left them shocked.
The video, uploaded to YouTube in July 2017, opens with one of Tammy and Drew’s friends leaving his message to the children. “Hi guys!” he tells the camera. “Love you, miss you. Come back to the U.S.” At that point, Tammy then cuts in with a request. “Say you’re so excited they’re getting adopted,” she says.
Their friend begins to recite Tammy’s words, before coming to an abrupt stop. “Shut up!” he yells while playfully swiping at the camera. “Are you serious? Are you serious? You’re adopting them? Shut up! Are you kidding me?” He then makes one more swipe at the camera, which leads to the next message.
The video cuts to Tammy’s grandmother Mags, who’s taken aback by the announcement. “You’re going to be a great-grandma times four!” she tells her. “We’re adopting!” With tears in her eyes, the elderly woman responds to the camera, “Oh thank you Jesus.”
From there, the video cuts to several other family members and friends, each showcasing different levels of surprise and shock when Tammy reveals the news. One friend asks, “Four? Are you serious?”
Since then, the video has earned close to 140,000 views from online users, as well as over 150 likes. Meanwhile, Michelle Ziner, one of the OHHC coordinators and a friend of the family, hailed Tammy and Drew’s conduct around the children during their time together during that Christmas in 2016.
“You can tell there was a different relationship with everyone in that video,” Michelle told ABC News in September 2017. “I was thrilled because I saw them in action during our hosting and for a couple who had not parented before, they exhibited the most caring, gentle and kind yet firm parenting with the kids.”
“When they came and were in the home, they operated like a [biological] family,” Ziner added. “I did not for a minute worry that they could not do it.” As for the children, Tammy reserved some special words of praise for them, hailing their caring attitude towards each other.
“They are so, so sweet,” Tammy told ABC News. “They’re loving, extremely affectionate. They have their moments, but it doesn’t deter us. They are awesome kids.” On that note, she then gave some insight into the quartet’s reaction to the video, which confirmed their hopes for the future.
Indeed, following their spell together over the holiday season, the children had been thinking about the possibility of a potential adoption. “They were excited,” Tammy recalled to the TV station. “They had been asking us for quite a bit if we were going to do it, if they were going to stay with us forever.”