(Feb. 18) -- You're about to meet some special people who are constantly re-defining the word family. In fact, before adoption even came up in their lives, this was already a family of 6. Now, they're a family of 9 living quite comfortably, thank-you, in a 2,000 square-foot house.
"We wanted the family thing." Cheryl and her husband Tom already had one daughter and three sons -- one of them with Down Syndrome -- when they had the opportunity to adopt Samantha, a very strong- willed down syndrome girl. "I just coudn't let go of her, and so it was the next weekend we ended up getting her. And so, um, we've had her about a year and a half," Cheryl explained.
Their Down Syndrome son, Darren, ecame an immediate big brother to his new sister Samantha. "Yes, I do love samantha, cause she's a good kid."
But as fate would have it, this family was destined to grow some more. "And then they called us on these two girls, and asked us to take them temporarily." In no time, Cheryl and her husband were foster parents to Dominique and Michelle -- a temporary arrangement that's become permanent. "I had decided too, at that time, I'd had 'em too long. I couldn't let 'em go."
Sure, it's a little crowded, and youngest natural daughter Whitney, who is now a big sister, has to share her bedroom with two new little sisters. "They're here, and there's nothing that's going to change that, or we don't want it to change."
So Cheryl's had to get used to diaper bags, and car seats all over again, but she says she wouldn't have it any other way. "The joy is to me and the reward is mine, and I feel that these kids -- there's so many kids out there that need homes -- and it's just a little sacrifice, forever to make a home for these kids."
Many parents start out as foster parents, meaning they agree to bring children in their homes temporarily, but then like Cheryl and Tom, they find they just can't let go. And they become adoptive families. The approval process is much the same regardless.
To get started, call the Adoption Exchange here in Las Vegas at 436-6335. They'll be happy to answer your questions.
Question to Dave: "You were telling us Cheryl's family is going to expand some more?"
Dave answers: "Well, I can't talk details yet, but Cheryl has a twin sister who is going to adopt a youngster we've featured here on Wednesday's Child -- so watch for that story.
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