Families come together in all different ways and they come in all shapes and sizes. It’s a rarity to find people as welcoming and warm as the parents described in this article.

Charlie and Garrett Morris may have thought their journey through parenthood was nearing completion. Little did they know that they were only just beginning to discover how rewarding it is to open your heart to new possibilities and new love. Early in their marriage they were blessed with three children, whom they raised up through high school and into college.

Because their family was dedicated to civic service and community outreach, Charlie and Garrett took their family once and sometimes twice a week into Dallas, TX to Buckner Children’s Home. The hours they spent singing and doing crafts with the kids who lived there had a profound impact on their family and it wasn’t long before the concept of fostering some of those kids started coming up in family conversations. Words and ideas turned into actions and before long they were welcoming children into their arms not just in the children’s home but in their own home as well.

As it goes in the system, children came and went. Until one day they had the privilege of hosting two brothers, Mark and Martine. Coming from incredibly rough living conditions with no hope of being reunited with the family where they started their journey, the two boys would have wondered the system until they reached the age of 18.

The Morris family fostered the boys for months and with each passing day their hearts became more and more entangled. When no opportunity presented itself for the boys to return to their original environment, Charlie and Garrett jumped at the opportunity to expand their family. Before long, five had become seven. But there were still forces at work behind the scenes preparing them for another exciting increase. The system brought another child into their lives. This time a young lady named Leslie. Almost from the get-go the family in this story knew that they wanted to bring Leslie into the home permanently. She filled a hole that up until that point they didn’t even know they had. A perfectly placed puzzle piece that brought the family completion.

Bringing three new spirits into the home presented unique challenges. All three children were different ethnicities and three different personalities and three different sets of history. But concepts like “love” and “family” don’t recognize those types of divisions. Those who don’t understand may never understand. When Charlie’s mother passed away, one of her relatives approached her with what they surely considered care and concern. This relative asked, very sincerely, “So now with the three little ones you’ll have to make a new will. You’re leaving the older children a larger percentage I’m sure.” Charlie stopped him right there, “These are all my children and they will equally inherit when the time comes.” She went on to make it clear just how destructive sentiments like that can be to adoptees and how she would appreciate him refraining from any more “friendly inquires.”

Rarely do adoptive parents understand how language can have an impact on their children’s hearts. People are finally beginning to come to the awareness that there are different measures that need to be taken to protect adoptees. When parents take a leading role in protecting their children it builds bonds of trust and helps solidify otherwise shaky connections. There are few things that mean more to an adoptee than being publicly claimed by someone they love. The safety and security found in that is unexplainable.

Charlie and Garrett are amazing role models of love and the home they built together has become a shining example of the possibilities available when people open their hearts. When asked if they will be adopting any more in the future she readily replies with a smile on her face, “Our family is complete . . . as far as we know.”