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‘If you do this, you will destroy your family.’ They looked me straight in the eye. Wow.’: Mom of 6 adopts internationally out of birth order despite harsh criticisms, ‘our story is messy, but worth it all’

“‘Hi, my name is Teresa and I’m mom of six,’ I want to say like we’re in a support group. I still laugh at the whole concept of me being responsible for all these wonderfully, crazy children. Kids were not the plan. But as my husband and I stood before the photograph of a little boy praying, it was like blinders fell from our eyes.”

‘She was HIV+ and we knew she was our daughter. Time stopped when we saw her. She was absolutely beautiful and perfect, but her oversized clothes hung loosely on her tiny frail body.’

“We were looking for a child with HIV. When we learned she was positive, we KNEW she was the one. She was 2 years old and only weighed 15 pounds. I started seeing a trauma counselor. James learned how to breath in public again, knowing no one was coming after us. Then BAM – Morning sickness!”

‘I got my bags in the car. ‘Don’t worry, I’m NOT going to come home wanting to adopt.’ My husband shook his head. I was so nervous, I was going to puke. I wasn’t sure WHY I was going.’

“It was a normal Tuesday. I looked down to see them calling. ‘They will have his visa ready on THURSDAY!’ I replied, ‘Like in 2 days, THURSDAY?’ Tears started streaming down my face. ‘WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?’ I couldn’t speak. All I heard was, ‘Book your flight. Go get your son.’”

‘We had 90 days to get married. A man who’s never met my family. We both questioned what we’d gotten into.’: Woman takes leap of faith in marrying man who had never met her family

“I remember talking to my Dad after the fact. He said, ‘Ronnie called me to ask my blessing. I couldn’t understand half of what he said, but I told him yes, my daughter could marry him.’ Although, not everyone had encouraging comments. I had frequent questions like, ‘What if this guy just wants a green card?’”

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