ROCKFORD (WREX) — Finding a forever home and family is what so many children in foster care are longing for. That's why one Rockford family is reminding others during National Adoption Month to keep their minds and hearts open to adoption.
Brenda and Odell Crayton say their home on Laramie Lane in Rockford was too quiet after their two children grew up.
"We're too old to have kids. There were a lot of kids out there that needed some love and patience, and we had that and we had the space for them. So we opened up our home for a daycare first and then I said, 'I'm doing daycare, I might as well go on and go full throttle,'" said Brenda Crayton of Rockford.
What started off as a daycare grew into foster care; but after more than 20 kids walked through the door, the Crayton's said it was hard to let them walk out. They decided to adopt nine children.
"It was a rat race. Right now, it's to the point [where] I don't know how to cook for a small family. I am just used to cooking for a big family," said Brenda.
Patience and love are the two components the Crayton's say are needed when adopting. They want to remind families that children need support no matter what background.
"In the class they tell you [that] you will fall in love with these kids," said Odell Crayton.
"Most of the kids came from abused families or drug abused families," said Brenda. "Some of them were left abandoned. It's sad, but at the end of the day we still love them."
That's why families like the Crayton's are crucial to a child's success and healing. The parents worked hand-in-hand with Our Children's Homestead in Rockford to adopt their nine children. The services at OCH gave the family necessary tools before and after the adoptions to have strong and positive relationships that can lead to meaningful life experiences.
Choosing to have an organized and supported adoption experience is a decision the parents say shows rewards every single day.
"We must have done something right," said Odell.
"I don't regret [anything] we've done from day one. It's the love of kids," said Brenda.
A love of kids, no matter where they come from.
Children's Home and Aid also set a goal in honor of National Adoption Month. It hopes during the month of November to help nine children in the area find a permanent home.