|Blake, Dennis Michael, and Marc Paul|
I am the oldest of six children. I have two amazing sisters and three awesome brothers. As you can imagine we had a full house while I was growing up. Full of people, yes, but also full of many other blessings and lessons. One of the most beautiful lessons that I learned was that there is always room in the heart of a family for more love.
My sisters and I witnessed this first hand when our parents decided to become foster parents. I was in high school when they opened up their hearts and home to children who needed to be nurtured.
Shortly after they became foster parents, my parents decided that they would like to adopt. My sisters and I were over the moon, because we wanted a brother. Within a few months, my parents were informed that there was a seven year old little boy who needed a forever family. The moment that we met Dennis Micheal, that spunky guy with the raspy voice, my sisters and I were smitten. We promptly claimed him as "our little brother" and the rest is history.
Two years later, my mom and dad amazed us again when they asked us how we would feel about welcoming another addition to our family. All of us knew what a gift Dennis Michael was, and we could not imagine life without him. We all agreed that another brother or sister would be wonderful.
Our brother, Blake, was born that later that year. I went to the hospital with my mom to bring him home. I was filled with awe and wonder as I witnessed my mom holding her new baby for the first time. Right then and there, I realized that some mothers carry their children in their womb, but all mothers carry their children in their hearts. Even if a mom does not experience physical labor they still "give life" to their children through the labor of love. There are no words to describe the feeling that I had as I watched my mom gently buckle, that tiny infant into his carseat before we left the hospital. Knowing that he was coming home with us, that he was our new little brother...I still get overwhelmed with emotion remembering that moment.
And so, our family grew in many ways during my high school years. Our hearts were forever changed by the love of two tiny boys. None of us could imagine what life would be like without Dennis Michael and Blake. We were meant to be together.
My parents continued to open their hearts and home to foster children for many more years. In 1997, to our surprise and delight, they decided to adopt our sweet brother Marc Paul. That boy has a heart the size of Texas. He is a lover indeed, and the coolest kid on the block!
My parents taught me a very profound lesson about love. My brothers changed my life.