Some sobering statistics about foster care in the United States: On any given day, there are around 428,000 children in the foster care system. In 2015, almost 700,000 kids spent some amount of time in foster care. On average, foster care children stay in the system for two years. And six percent of all kids in foster care (around 42,000 kids total) stay there for five years or longer.
This last was the case for seven siblings who languished in the Georgia foster care system for nearly their entire lives—until one couple adopted them all.
Josh and Jessaka Clark of Rincon, Georgia already had a 3-year-old son named Noah. But their family of three became a family of 10 overnight when they adopted Maria, 14, Elizabet, 11, Guillermo, 10, Jason, 8, Kristina, 7, Katerin, 7, and James, 5.
The Clarks have been married for five years, and always knew they wanted to adopt at some point. When their son Noah was 2, Clark’s husband got a call from a foster care case manager about taking in the seven siblings.
“Josh hung up the phone and said, ‘What do you think of seven?’ and I said, ‘A 7-year-old?,’ and he said, ‘No, seven kids,’” Clark told ABC News. “We prayed about it that night and woke up and said the same thing to each other, ‘If not us, then who?’”
Now dubbed the “super seven,” the kids all moved into the Clarks’ three-bedroom home last August. And this week, the adoption papers made it official: the Clark family has grown by seven people.
“They are excited and now know they’re loved and know that this is it,” said Clark. “We’ve seen a change in behavior even since the adoption, a turn to, ‘I don’t have to keep my bags packed.’”
For now, the Clarks are reveling in their newly-expanded family, working on getting homework completed every night, and looking for a new house. Yes, they’re looking to adopt again!
“The way my husband and I see it is there are roughly 13,000 kids in foster care in Georgia and around 1,200 waiting to be adopted,” Clark said. “We don’t know how we could close our door when those kids are out there.”