California couple preparing for retirement adopt seven children orphaned after car accident
A couple who were preparing to retire has revealed they felt compelled to adopt seven children after seeing an advert on social media.
Pam, 50, and Gary Willis, 53, from Menifee, California, who have five children and had been fostering kids for many years, explained that they were anticipating retirement and their last child leaving their six bedroom house.
However, Pam spotted a Facebook advert searching for a permanent home for Adelino, 15, Ruby, 13, Aleecia, nine, Anthony, eight, Aubriella, seven, Leo, five, and Xander, four, who had been in foster care for over a year after the tragic passing of their parents in a car crash.
Pam told TODAY that she couldn’t stop staring at their faces, saying: ‘I can’t explain it — I just knew I was supposed to be their mom.’
Pam, 50, and Gary Willis, 53, from Menifee, California, adopted seven children who lost their parents in a tragic car crash. Pictured: Pam and Gary with the children
Pam said an advert on Facebook encouraged her to volunteer to adopt the children, although she and Gary (pictured) hadn’t previously discussed adoption
Pam said she had never discussed adoption with Gary and expected him to call her a ‘wacko’ because they were preparing to retire, but still tagged him in the Facebook post.
She explained that they both felt ‘it was what God wanted us to do,’ but were told when they called the number on the advert that thousands of other people had already applied.
However, two months later the couple were matched with the children who had not only been left orphaned, but had also lived in homeless encampments and struggled for food before the death of their parents who had battled addictions.
Their mother was 31-years-old and their dad was aged 42, when they suffered fatal injuries after their car flipped onto the side, while leaving the highway.
Pam said the youngest children were easiest to connect with, saying: ‘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.’
Pam said the children (pictured) struggled to sleep for their first few months after moving into their home and had frequent nightmares
Pam said the children struggled to sleep for the first months after moving into their home, however the family enjoyed a joyous adoption ceremony last August.
Pam and Gary now boast almost 49,000 followers on Instagram from documenting their lives with the children.
In a lengthy post, they recapped the first time Pam spotted the kids on Facebook and reveals they moved into their home 7 June 2019.
‘We knew deep inside that this mission was being placed before us. If not us, then who? They had been in foster care for a year since their parents had been killed in the car accident that they all had miraculously survived.
‘Who would keep them all together? Who would have the space for them? Who would have time, and the love, and the patience for their trauma? The answer was clear… we would,’ they wrote.
Pam said she and Gary who have five children, were preparing to retire at the time they adopted Adelino, 15, Ruby, 13, Aleecia, nine, Anthony, eight, Aubriella, seven, Leo, five, and Xander, four (pictured)
Posting on Instagram, Pam explained they felt it was their ‘mission’ to provide a home for the seven children
Touched by their story, one person commented: ‘You and your husband are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story. What a beautiful family.’
‘Oh my goodness. How can I ‘help’. Do you need anything at all? We will send it all,’ another wrote.
A third said: ‘This has made my day reading this! Beautiful people and an amazing story, they lost their previous parents, so sad but gained a new family, I’m in awe.
‘We too are foster parents and have adopted some of our children, but it takes very special people to take on a whole new family of seven.’
A stream of comments on the couple’s Instagram page have gushed that they are an inspiration