SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) – It's safe to say the local dad featured in this story received more Father's Day cards than most dads.
That's because he and his wife have a total of 13 children, five of whom joined the family through the gift of adoption.
Carrie introduced seven of her children, Pepor, Chase, Courtney, Charity, Emman, Ceci and Maria, to me and then revealed that she and her husband Dan have six more that weren't able to be at the park, including their oldest son Brad, their daughter Lindsay, their son Jeff, identical twins Cameron and Curtis and Wesley.
Dan and Carrie started off with eight biological children, but for them, eight wasn't enough. So when their youngest daughter Courtney was four-years-old, they decided to become a foster family, which then inspired them to adopt.
“I've always had a dream to do foster care and then once I started doing it I realized there are a lot of children who need a permanent home,” said Carrie. “And so that was when I decided with my husband that we would adopt some of the children that we had.”
Charity was their very first foster child in 2008.
She became emotional when talking about her long journey. Her adoption was just recently finalized.
“It is a big deal for charity. We got her at six months, and it took nine years to adopt her so she went through a lot of back and forth,” continued Carrie. “She's finally home and we're really happy to have her.”
Soon after Charity joined the family, her older biological brother Emman moved in. Then later, their older biological sister Pepor officially became part of the family as well.
“We met Pepor when she was nine, but she came for a weekend visits for years then joined us when she was 16,” said Carrie.
“I was in a really tough, tough place and I didn't have anyone else, and they were always there for me,” said Pepor.
She too, broke down, as she thanked her parents:
“They're just the best people and she invited me to live with them and I've been with them since, and I've got my own place now, but they're a really good family and they're always there for me.”
The family also adopted another pair of biological siblings, sisters Sici and Mariah.
“They came into our home when they were three and a half and one and a half,” said Carrie.
All of the children appreciate their parents, but Dan and Carrie say it's the children who have been a gift to them. And they encourage others to explore adoption and foster care.
If you are interested in adopting or becoming a foster family, please call 1-877-I-ADOPT-U.