Kindhearted couple Andi and Thomas Bonura from Texas, USA, already have three biological children but welcomed the additional five children into their home in May.
Siblings may become role models for children, caregivers, close buddies, and comforters, particularly during stressful events such as losing their parents. Statistics show that most children taken from relatives have a sibling, but an additional 50% is divided from at least one sibling.
It is especially difficult for children who come from prominent families, making the likelihood of all of them being accepted into one community very slim. Yet that does not mean it can not be! Take, for example, those five siblings, all of whom were adopted to the same family — the Bonuras.
Andi and Thomas Bonura married for fifteen years. The couple had tried very hard to have biological kids before they extended their family by adopting. Andi finally became pregnant with twins, after losing one child. Unfortunately, at 25 weeks, the two boys were born prematurely, and only one son, Joey, survived. The pair tried again, and their two daughters were born later. The pair were then told not to ask for more.
"We decided to foster/adopt long before we had children; it was always on my heart. After child number 3, we were told that we shouldn't have more children for health and safety reasons. But we always dreamed of having a large family. With our foster agency Depelchin, we trained and became licensed in 2017," Andi said.
It didn't take long for their first foster child, a baby boy named Bryson, to arrive. "The second our sweet baby came to us in foster care, I was instantly a pile of loving mush. These precious children are so innocent and desperate for love, and it's the most wonderful feeling to allow yourself to open up and love them wholeheartedly and completely unconditionally," the mother said.
The pair were motivated to foster his sister and brother, David and Gabrielle, when the family found out that Bryson had more siblings. That's when they began visiting the new home with their older twin brothers Thomas and Carter. Then one day, when the phone rang, and the Bonura family learned that the five siblings' parents were withdrawing their rights. Andi and Thomas had known what to do at that time.
"It was an easy decision to make, adopting them. We knew all the siblings before they moved in, and I was completely in love with each of them. When they called and asked if we wanted to adopt, it was an instant yes, for all 5. They were so precious, and they had my entire heart," Andi said.
"It's amazing to have eight children. Each one of my children is incredibly kind and loving, with special characteristics. Watching their little hearts grow and heal has been so rewarding. We have a busy house, but everyone pitches in. They look out for each other, and support and encourage. I don't know how I became the lucky mom of these incredible little humans."
Andi says that this decision is the most meaningful thing she's ever done in her life. "Taking in a precious foster child and showing them unconditional love, through their struggles and healing, challenges one to grow and become such a strong person. I am not the same person I was, I was naive about this part of the world, but going through all these challenges created an incredible bond and trust with my babies. Watching my bio children share their compassion and friendship, almost instantly, makes my heart melt with pride. There is such a need for foster parents, and there are so many children who are desperate for love. I certainly did not do this on my own. My family, friends, other foster parents, and teachers all participated with encouragement and love."
"It's a challenging road to travel, but one of the most rewarding and life-changing things I've ever done. There are amazing people in this world who knowingly open their lives and hearts to these precious little people. I'm so proud to be friends with them and learn and grow from their kind hearts and encouragement. I'm the lucky one here," Andi said.