SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — As families across the country celebrate Thanksgiving this week, one local family is counting their new members.
Six biological siblings found their forever family in 2016 and this is their first Thanksgiving together as an official family.
In the blink of an eye, 8-year-old Laci went from being an only child to the middle child in a sibling group of seven joined by Allie, Zane, Tori, Jack, Ava and Natalie.
"Now it's more funner with more kids, and I have a family now," said Laci.
In fact, it was Laci's idea to adopt.
"For a long time, I asked my mom every day, if I could have brothers and sisters," said Laci who says it is a dream come true to have so many siblings to play with.
Chesni and David were foster parents first.
"It started about 20 years ago," said Chesni. "I was a social worker and we decided that it needed to be more personal than that."
They fostered more than two dozen children, until one day - not too long ago - their social worker called about a sibling group that needed a forever home.
"She said, 'I know the exact six kids for you' and I said 'six? I can't. That would be seven. I can't do that,'" Chesni recounts. "She said, 'no, they're angels' and she was absolutely right."
"I was very hesitant at first," said David. "We'd been fostering for quite some time, and it's an endeavor you have to really commit to. But we had a talk with our daughter Laci, and she really wanted to do it."
So how do the kids feel about their forever family?
"They're amazing," said Zane.
"I love my mom and dad," said Jack.
The older children remember the stress of being separated in the foster care system
"I was worried [that] I wouldn't see them and now, I get to be with them again," said Natalie.
They enjoy spending time together.
"I love them because we get to travel a lot and we cook with them," said Tori.
And they appreciate what most siblings take for granted.
"I get to be with them all the time," said Ava.
Their adoptions were finalized in the summer of 2017.
And as this family celebrates milestones and memorable moments, they encourage others to consider adoption.
"If it's in your heart to help little kids that's basically what you should try to do," said David.
"We just hope that by coming forward and speaking on behalf of all of the children that still don't have their forever family, that maybe someone will just decide to take a leap of faith and jump in and look for their family," Chesni said.
If you are interested in adopting or becoming a foster family, please call 1-877-I-ADOPT-U.