By Reggie Ellis
For many couples, adoption is the only way they can have a child but for Sandy and David Telfer it was the best way to have five more children after having two of their own.
The Telfers have been married for 14 years and 13 years ago had their oldest son Christopher. Six years later Sandy gave birth to a second son, Bryce. Both were healthy young boys but the Telfers wanted more children.
"We are a Christian family and this was a spiritual decision," Sandy said. "We wanted to help children that needed homes and we wanted more children. We had the room and the love for more and adoption was the best way."
Seven years ago they adopted their first child Mikayla at birth. When Mikayla was ready to go home, they placed her in Sandy's arms and pushed them both out in a wheelchair, just as if she had given birth to her new daughter.
"I felt the same emotions as when I gave birth to my sons," Sandy said. "It still felt like a wonderful miracle."
Over the next three years, the Telfers adopted five children -- Mikayla, Brendon, Larissa, Lauren, and Ryan. Three of them were adopted at birth and two were adopted at 2 years old and four of them were siblings. The Telfers had no idea they would adopt Brendon, who was 2-and-a-half years old and living in a foster home, when they adopted his newborn sister Lauren. A similar situation occurred when the Telfers adopted siblings Larissa and Ryan at birth 2-and-a-half years apart.
"It was another miracle [to adopt siblings and separate times]," Sandy said. "We were blessed again."
At one point, they had five children in diapers and Sandy stayed home with all of them.
"At that time it was a little overwhelming," Sandy said. "We didn't go anywhere for a long time."
Sandy said their biological sons, Christopher and Bryce, played a major role in their decision to adopt more children.
"It is not only you that have to open your home and hearts it is the children as well," she said. "They also have to love the other five children otherwise it doesn't work."
Sandy said all of her children were adopted through Tulare County Department of Public Social Services -- Adoptions. She said this Mother's Day would not only be a special time for her family, but the biological mothers as well.
"We need to give thanks to those women who unselfishly chose life for their babies," Sandy said. "It is a wonderful opportunity for them, their children and for families wanting children."
She wrote the following poem, titled "We're Both The Mommies," in their honor:
You gave to us so unselfishly
we know it was so hard to do,
You put your precious one first, even when you didn't know what to do,
Thank you for saying "yes" to life, when things seemed so very low.
Today and always will be your Mother's Day, as we count those tiny 10 toes,
The most important thing is that your very little one is loved more than life itself could be, because we all become one.
Our little one will grow, into the best person they can be, all because you said "yes" to life so very unselfishly.
Happy Mother's Day to all biological mothers and mothers everywhere.
"The process is extremely easy," Sandy said. "There is a chance they could have some drug exposure but with a lot of love they turn out just perfect."
Sandy said when the children are not adopted at birth they are usually with a foster home. She said the process begins by visiting the child several times until they become familiar with their adopted parents. Then the child stays overnight with the parents. Slowly the child begins spending more and more nights with his new family until social workers feel he has adjusted to his new home.
"Sometimes there is a stigma with these children but all they really need is love," Sandy said.
The Telfers suggest adoption for anyone who feels they have love to give a child and want to help find a loving home for a child. For more information on adoption call the Tulare County Department of Public Social Services -- Adoptions at 733-6180 or send a letter to 3500 W. Mineral King, Suite B
Visalia, CA 93279.
BIG, happy family
Sandy said Brandon, 13, is now the second man of the house helping to care for the other children especially when mom is sick. Bryce, 7, is his older brothers right-hand man and tries to help out as much as he can. Mikayla, 7, was somewhat distant at first but is now "unbelievable loving." Brendon, 5, has really begun to warm up in the last three years after spending his first two years neglected in a crowded foster home. Larissa, 5, is the princess of the house and enjoys getting a lot of attention. Lauren, 3, has the firecracker personality to compliment her red hair. And Ryan, 2, has a lot of love to give and loves to eat.
"They all have very different personalities and different hair color and styles," she said. "It's like having all of the colors of the rainbow in their shining faces."
The Telfers also have four dogs, two cats, five hens, two ducks and one fish.
"We have the most chaotic, crazy and hyper home, but it is also the funnest most loving home," Sandy said. "It can be tiring but it is such a gift to watch the kids grow up together."
Like any large family, the Telfers rotate trips outside of the home with dad taking some of the kids while mom stays home with the others and vice versa. However, the Telfers can fit their entire family, 9 people, in their Ford Excursion.
"We don't go many places all together but we can if we need to," Sandy said.
Fitting all of the children under one roof would normally be a challenge too. Luckily, David is a licensed contractor and manager for Centex Homes and has added 1,600 square feet to their 2,600 square-foot home on Morris Court off Cornucopia Road.
"Don't be afraid to take the step and adopt," Sandy said. "Adoption is a beautiful gift for everyone involved."