The children had been through a lot of trauma, having been in the accident that claimed their parents' lives. Pam and Drew Willis did not want to separate them, hence took them all in.
It takes a big heart to take in a child who is in need of a home. We can't even imagine how big it must be to adopt not just one but seven children. Pam Willis was scrolling through Facebook back in 2019 and little did she know her life was completely about to change. The 50-year-old mom saw that seven siblings were in need of a permanent home. The kids who lost their parents in a car crash had been in foster care for over a year. Ranged in age from 1 to 12, the kids' chances of being adopted together looked slim. Until Pam and her husband Gary Willis, 53, stepped in.
Pam knew she was meant to open her home to them. Speaking to TODAY Parents, she said, "I can’t explain it — I just knew I was supposed to be their mom." Pam and Gary already have five biological children. The pair had fostered before, but they had never discussed adoption. When she tagged her husband in the Facebook post, she thought Gary "was going to tell me I was wacko — we were getting ready to retire," she said. But fortunately, her husband felt the same. “It was what God wanted us to do,” Pam said.
"He looked at me and said, ‘Yeah we should adopt those kids,’" the now-mom-of-12 told Fox 11. "He kind of blew my mind when he said that because I thought I was going to have to put up some convincing. It was one of those moments where we were both really feeling that that was what we were being called to do." In a few months, they were able to adopt all 7 siblings: Adelino, 15, Ruby, 13, Aleecia, 9, Anthony, 8, Aubriella, 7, Leo, 5, and Xander, 4.
The couple soon learned that the kids had experienced quite a bit of trauma in their lives. Pam revealed that connecting with the older ones was tougher at first. "We were just kind of open to whatever knowing that these kids had been through extra trauma being in this huge car accident with their parents, because they were actually in the accident with their parents, so they all had been injured. They all had been through hospitalizations... we knew they had been through a lot."
Speaking to TODAY, she revealed, “It was easy to connect with the little ones. They were just desperately craving permanency." The older two were not as easy. “I think they didn’t quite trust that we were real. Like maybe we were going to go away,” Pam said. “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." The children struggled to sleep for the first six months and would often have nightmares. Pam explained, "One night, my then-7-year-old came into our room. I asked her, 'Did you have a bad dream?' And she replied, 'No, I just wanted to make sure that you were still here.'"
Despite it all, as cliche as it sounds, love did conquer all. After a long process, they officially became a BIG family in August 2020 and currently reside in Menifee, California. The emotional ceremony was attended virtually by Pam and Gary’s biological children, Matthew, 32, Andrew, 30, Alexa, 27, Sophia, 23, and Sam, 20. “It was awesome.”
Pam said, “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." The family share a lot of updates on their Instagram page, second.chance.7. It's pretty clear to see that children have found the perfect parents to help raise them and take care of them.
Pam more recently shared a highlight reel she dubbed, "Our life in 15 seconds," showing her life with her husband from when they met, through having their five biological kids and, eventually, welcoming seven new members to the family. "They've given us a second chance at parenting, we've given them a second Mom and Dad," Pam captioned the post. "They are our Second Chance 7."
Cover Image Source: Instagram/ second.chance.7