An East Tennessee family fostering seven siblings adopted them as their own
Strawberry Plains - An East Tennessee family fostering seven siblings adopted them as their own.
Jim and Katrina Baldwin already have five biological children and seven grandchildren, with their youngest child in his teens.
Jim said they got a call in February asking them to take in two foster children, Lily, 6, and Tristin, 2. A few months later the Baldwins took in two of Lily and Tristin's other siblings, Kamrin, 3, and Danny, 5. Then the remaining brothers and sisters, Ryan, 9, A.J., 12, and Shanda, 14, joined them.
Katrina said the couple started thinking about adopting all seven of the children fairly soon after meeting all of them.
"You'd think about them leaving, and you'd just get like somebody was taking your children from you," Katrina said. "It's just the worst feeling."
The Baldwins said the kids had been split up and passed around to multiple foster homes over the years. After spending time with all of them, the couple decided to adopt all of them.
"You tell people you're adopting seven kids, and they're like, 'Wait, what's wrong with you? Are you crazy?'" Jim said.
The couple started going through the process to adopt them all, and they made it official Dec. 30.
"We fell in love with these kids, and we couldn't let them go for nothing," Jim said. "It's not happening."
Shanda Baldwin, the oldest sibling, feared all of her brothers and sisters were going to be split up if they got adopted, but now she said she doesn't have to worry about that.
"It's good to know that we're not going to be bounced back and forth into the system, so it's great," she said.
In addition to changing the kids' last names, Jim and Katrina are hearing a new title from seven voices.
"When they called us Mom and Dad for the first time, we knew they really loved us," Katrina said. "We're not just holders of this group because they're used to people being holders of their life."
The couple said they know it won't be easy raising seven more children, but they said they're relying on faith to help them through it all.
"There were moments that we said, 'Can we even think that we're capable of doing this?'" Jim said. "And love overwrote it by a long shot."
Monday, August 21 2017 4:21 AM EDT2017-08-21 08:21:48 GMT
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