Gift of Love: Five Siblings Adopted - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/1/04-Gregg County

Gift of Love: Five Siblings Adopted

For the past three weeks, we've been sharing stories about East Texas families adopting children on National Adoption Day, November 19th. In this report, we want you to hear a story about what a local family is willing to do to keep siblings together.

Their house is busy and noisy, just the way Elbert and Maggie like it. "It's one day at a time. One problem at a time. We just handle it when it comes," says Elbert.

The five siblings, now in their home, had been split up in foster care. Elbert and Maggie came forward, wanting to bring them back together as a family.

Elbert says, "Everybody needs help and everybody needs love." Maggie adds, "I just can't let them stay out there like they're nobody."

At first, Maggie and Elbert were concerned they didn't have the means to raise the children, but they had faith and plenty of love. Maggie says, "It was an easy decision. I love them."

Elbert and Maggie already know the children, they're related. Eleven year old Misty says, "I think it's really good because it's the same family and we don't have to go to another family because it's really scary to go meet somebody that you don't know. It's a stranger. So, it's just better to live with your own family than somebody else."

With four grown children of their own, this East Texas couple was out of resources, but they had a desire to help. They went through special training, becoming verified as foster and adoptive parents. They took extra steps learning about the children's special needs in order to provide a safe home and the best possible care.

"I just want to contribute to where I can cause I know if a parent, or a person, can take a few minutes of love and attention to a child, that will make a big difference in that child's future," says Elbert.

"There are a lot of kids out there that are misunderstood but, through counseling and educating yourself, you can do a whole lot for a child who needs somebody," explains Maggie.

Denise Kilgore, their Child Protective Services caseworker, has seen these children grow in recent months. She says thanks to amazing patience, they are finally happy again. "It's worked out really well. The kids have been doing 100% better since they've been in this home than the other places."

"I think I love to be adopted and I like to stay with my family and never be removed," says 10 year old Patrick.

Patrick's wish came true about just two weeks ago on National Adoption Day in Gregg County. Elbert and Maggie adopted all five children.

"So I do here by grant the adoption to Elbert and Margaret and declare that they are their children for all purposes from this day forward," proclaims Judge Robin Sage in her Gregg County courtroom.

It was a day of emotion and family, but most of all it was the day these children received the Gift of Love. Their oldest adopted son, 12 year old Hoytlee, hugs his parents saying, "I love you mom. I love you dad."

If you'd like to know more about fostering or adopting a foster children call our Gift of Love hotline. The toll free number is 1-888-KIDS-275.

Gillian Sheridan, reporting.

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