Pam and Gary Willis already had a large family. The couple had raised five children who were now in adulthood, and had been fostering children for the past several years. Caring for children in need of love and security was obviously something that came natural to the Menifee, CA couple.

So in 2019 when Pam came across a story on Facebook about 7 siblings who had miraculously survived a car crash that took the lives of both their parents, her tender heart immediately started aching for the children.

She tagged husband Gary in the post and waited to see if he would mention it. She shared about the exchange with Gary in an Instagram post.

“That evening I asked my husband if he’d seen the post,” Pam recalled. “‘Yes’, he said. ‘We should adopt them’. My heart stopped. ‘We should’, I said.”

 

View this post on Instagram

 

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

That very evening, the couple called the number listed for the children and were told that thousands of calls inquiring about the children had already been received.

But the couple were eventually matched with the children who, at the time, ranged in age from 1-12 years old.

“It was easy to connect with the little ones. They were just desperately craving permanency,” Pam revealed to TODAY PARENTS. The older two were a little trickier.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

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

“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.”

In addition to tragically losing their parents, Pam and Gary learned that the children had grown up in extremely difficult circumstances. Their parents struggled with addiction and the family often found themselves in homeless shelters.

As a result of this severe trauma, the children struggled to feel safe and secure, often experiencing 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.’”

The children finally got the assurance they needed las August, when Adelino, 15, Ruby, 13, Aleecia, 9, Anthony, 8, Aubriella, 7, Leo, 5, and Xander, 4, were officially adopted into the Willis family.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

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

The moment was a special one, with many friends and family–including all of Willis’ biological children–participating in the big day.

“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.”

The couple made a touching video highlighting their history as a couple and family, ending with the adoption of their 7 new children.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

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.”

Recommended
Join the Discussion

COMMENT POLICY: We have no tolerance for comments containing violence, racism, vulgarity, profanity, all caps, or discourteous behavior. Thank you for partnering with us to maintain a courteous and useful public environment!