Pam Willis was casually reading through her Facebook account when she came across an article about seven siblings who were looking for a permanent home. The children, who varied in age from one to twelve, had been in foster care for more than a year after their parents died in a vehicle accident. Pam couldn’t take her gaze away from theirs, and she “just knew” she was “meant to be their mother.”
Pam Willis, 50, recalls tagging her husband, Gary Willis, 53, in order for him to view the story. The couple, who had five grown children, had been fostering children for several years but had never considered adopting them. Pam stated, “I thought Gary was going to tell me I was crazy — we were getting ready to retire,” but Gary shared her sentiments. Pam explains, “It was what God intended us to do.” The couple dialed the number mentioned at the bottom of the article later that night. She stated, “We were informed they’d already received thousands of calls.” Two months later, the couple was paired with Adelino, 15, Ruby, 13, Aleecia, 9, Anthony, 8, Aubriella, 7, Leo, 5, and Xander, 4, as fate would have it. During the screening process, Pam discovered that the children had been through a lot of trauma. Their late parents battled addiction, and the family spent a lot of time in homeless shelters. According to TODAY, there were times when they didn’t have enough food to eat.
“It was simple to connect with the children. They were only looking for a sense of stability. The elder ones were a little more difficult. They didn’t seem to believe us when we said we were real. As though we were about to go. When so much has been gone from your life, I believe it is extremely difficult to trust. Ruby had no idea how to be a child. Pam stated, “She had to be a mother figure at a very young age.” The kids had trouble sleeping for the first six months. They suffered nightmares on a regular basis. “My then-7-year-old came into our room one night. ‘Did you have a nasty dream?’ I inquired. ‘No, I just wanted to make sure you were still here,’ she said “Pam recalled something. Pam wasn’t going anywhere; she made sure she adopted all of them, and the couple’s biological children, Matthew, 32, Andrew, 30, Alexa, 27, Sophia, 23, and Sam, 20, were practically present at the emotional ceremony. “It was fantastic.” We set up a large TV screen in the park so that everyone could watch, applaud, and be safe throughout COVID.”
The Willis’ tale drew the attention of actress Kristen Bell, who posted a video on Instagram titled “Our Life in 15 Seconds!” The clip supposedly moved Bell so much that she shared it on her Instagram account. Pam and Gary originally met as teenagers in 1988, and the video finishes with their adoption. “They’ve given us a second opportunity at parenting, and we’ve given them a second Mom and Dad,” says the mother. According to TODAY, Pam wrote, “They are our Second Chance 7.”