Mom learned about seven siblings in foster care on Facebook, but she wasn’t aware of her husband’s skiing. Gary and Pam Willis’ family was everything to her after the pair tied the knot. They went on to welcome five kids into the world before turning to foster parenting when the group got older. This new routine seemed to be going smoothly for a time, but that all changed in 2019. You see, Pam came across a story on social media that deeply touched her heart.
Residents of Menifee, California, Pam and Gary had enjoyed quite the life together prior to that fateful moment in 2019. They were first introduced to each other during their teenage years, and they instantly fell in love. Such was their bond at the time, the young couple even started to plan out their future with a very specific goal in mind. Pam went into more detail on that front while chatting with the media, as quoted by comedy. com.
She revealed, “When we were teenagers dating, we said we wanted 10 children. Well, that’s some aim, right?” Eventually, she and Gary took the next step in their relationship in 1988 as the lovebirds got married. Then, they began to focus on their respective careers. Gary decided to join the United States Navy, while Pam had her heart set on becoming a nurse.
Mind you, that didn’t stop the pair from realizing one of their earliest goals. The babies came immediately, she noted. “I never wanted anything more than I wanted to be a mother.” Yep, before they knew it, Pam and Gary had their first kid together, and the family only continued to grow. As Pam worked towards her nursing dream, she recalled, “I’d started college when we were pregnant with our second child in 1990.
It took me six years and the birth of our third child to finally reach my goal of earning my bachelor’s degree.” That must have been a hectic period for her, right? Following her graduation, it didn’t take Pam long until she was hired by a hospital. The mom continued, “In 1997, I was a brand new labor and delivery nurse at Capilani Medical Center in Hawaii, where my husband was stationed. I loved every second of the blood, sweat, and tears that I shed as a nurse in those first years.
So, to say that Gary and Pam’s lives were extremely busy at that stage would be underselling it. Despite that, though, they added two more children to their family across that spell, taking the total number to five. Their names are Sam, Andrews, Sophia, Alex, and Matthew. Not quite the 10 that the mom and dad had originally envisioned, but still. Anyway, after becoming a family of seven, The Willis Clan had to pack their bags and say goodbye to Hawaii.
It wouldn’t be the only time they had to move, either. Pam explained, “As the years progressed and my husband’s military career moved around a bit, I had the opportunity to work in California, Texas, Oklahoma, Utah, and back in California. That’s a lot of upheaval, especially for a large family.” In the end, though, Pam and Gary would put down roots in the Golden State. It finally looked like there’d be some stability in their lives, but the parents both decided to pursue new careers during that time.
The dad swapped the Navy for the Postal Service, while his wife had an intriguing switch. Pam said, “I realized that through my experience as a labor and delivery nurse, I had become extremely interested in the legal aspect of the medical field. So, I waited until my youngest started kindergarten, and I began a new adventure of my own: school. My five children and amazing husband graciously supported me through those three and a half years of grueling education.” The effort was worth it.
Pam could finally call herself a lawyer after finishing her studies. And guess what, folks? As time went on, more changes were on the horizon. But it had nothing to do with mom and dad’s work. Instead, their kids were now old enough to start lives of their own, slowly leaving the house one by one.
That must have been quite the whiplash for Pam and Gary. After years of living in a big group, their household was now getting smaller and smaller. And it’s fair to say that they weren’t ready to hang up their parenting hats just yet. So, the pair made a big decision in 2013. They decided to foster young kids.
Gary and Pam stuck at it for the next six years, welcoming a host of youngsters into their California home. Which brings us back to that pivotal moment in 2019 that we flagged up earlier. To shed more light on it, the mom wrote a lengthy post in September 2019. “We hope you have some tissues handy, folks. Pam wrote, ‘One January day, I was scrolling through my Facebook feed when a news story post hit my heart like the biggest ton of bricks.
Seven siblings in need of a forever home had said in that instant. Their sweet, smiling faces jumped off the screen and into my heart. I tagged my husband in the post. I thought about them all day. My goodness, the first thing I thought of was, ‘No one’s going to have room for them,’ and then the second thing I thought of was, ‘I have room.
I have room for them.’ That evening, I asked my husband if he had seen it, and he said yes. ‘We should adopt them,’ my heart stopped. ‘We should,’ I said. Just like that, everything changed for the couple.
I just looked at them. I looked at their faces, and I watched the video probably two or three times. I just kept staring at them, thinking, ‘These could be my kids.’ Hi, I’m Aubrey94.” “It was just a touch.
I thought that I had just really touched him when I saw him, and then Ruby said, ‘I want a forever family.’ I replied, ‘I’ll be it.’ In their minds, they were in the perfect position to look after these seven kids who sadly experienced a lot of hardship and tragedy. You see, the group came from a troubled household before being involved in a terrifying car accident. All seven escaped with their lives, but their mom and dad weren’t so fortunate, leaving them in the foster system.
It was a harrowing story that prompted thousands of inquiries from prospective parents, including Gary and Pam. Would they find the right home, though? Well, a couple of months after reading the story, Gary and Pam got the green light to bring the kids into their care. Their names are Ruby, Anthony, Zander, Abriella, Alicia, Leo, and Adelino. It was easy to connect with the little ones, the mom told Today Parents.
They were just desperately craving permanency. But when it came to the older siblings, things were a bit tougher. Pam continued, ‘I think they didn’t quite trust that we were real, like maybe we were going to go away. I think it’s so hard to trust when so much has been taken from your life.’ Ruby didn’t know how to be a kid; she had to be a mother figure at a very young age.
Despite that tricky start, though, things did get better ahead of a huge moment in August 2020. At that stage, the seven were officially welcomed into Pam and Gary’s family. The couple’s five adult children all watched the ceremony via video streams due to the restrictions of the pandemic. She recalled, ‘It was awesome. We brought a big TV screen out to the park so everybody could watch and cheer and be safe during COVID.
There was so much love.’ Now, Gary and Pam are parents of 13, far surpassing their teenage goal. The mom offered some touching thoughts in a different Instagram post from September 2020, summing it all up. She wrote, ‘They’ve given us a second chance at parenting. We’ve given them a second mom and dad.
They are our Second Chance Seven.