‘It Was What God Wanted Us To Do’: Couple Adopt 7 Siblings After Parents Died In Car Crash

Pam and Gary Willis already had five children and six grandchildren of their own, but they didn’t allow that to stop them from adopting seven more kids who recently lost their parents in an accident.


Pam Willis was touched after she read a story about seven siblings in need of a permanent home in her Facebook feed in 2019. The children, whose ages were from 1 to 12, had been in foster care for more than a year after losing both parents in a horrific rollover car crash and were at risk of being separated in the foster care system.

Pam knew she had to do something about it, “I can’t explain it — I just knew I was supposed to be their mom,” Pam, 50, said.

She tagged Gary so he too could see the article and feel the same way she felt. “I thought Gary was going to tell me I was wacko — we were getting ready to retire,” Pam admitted. But God was already working behind the scenes and Gary also felt the same way about the kids like she did.


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A post shared by Pam Willis (@second.chance.7)

“It was what God wanted us to do,” Pam said. The same night, they called the number listed at the bottom of the story. “We were told they’d already received thousands of calls,” Pam recalled. But just two months later, Pam and Gary were matched with the seven kids.

Adelino, 15, Ruby, 13, Aleecia, 9, Anthony, 8, Aubriella, 7, Leo, 5, and Xander, 4 had experienced a lot of trauma as their late parents struggled with addiction and the family were in homeless encampments with hardly any food. “It was easy to connect with the little ones. They were just desperately craving permanency,” Pam revealed. The older two were a little trickier.”

“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.”


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The first 6 months were hard for all of them as a family, as the kids struggled with sleep and had frequent nightmares. “One night, my then-7-year-old came into our room,” Pam recalled. “I asked her, ‘Did you have a bad dream?’ And she replied, ‘No, I just wanted to make sure that you were still here.’”

Last August, Pam and Gary proved they were going to be for them for real when they officially adopted Aleecia and her six brothers and sisters. Pam and Gary’s biological children, Matthew, 32, Andrew, 30, Alexa, 27, Sophia, 23, and Sam, 20 attended virtually.


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A post shared by Pam Willis (@second.chance.7)

“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.”

Actor Kristen Bell was so touched by their story after Pam shared an Instagram video called “Our life in 15 seconds!” that she posted it on her Instagram story. The clip starts with Pam and Gary first meeting as teens in 1988 and ends with the adoption.

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A post shared by Pam Willis (@second.chance.7)

“They’ve given us a second chance at parenting, we’ve given them a second Mom and Dad,” Pam wrote. “They are our Second Chance 7.”


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