The Tyus Family:

Parents Kelley and Rodney with Adopted Children Brandon, Juan, Loren, Jesse, Erika, Sierra, Rebekah and Randall

The Tyus FamilyOutside Pensacola, Florida, in a small farming community, the Tyus Family lives a unique and special life. The home bustles with the sound of a large family, the phone rings, bacon sizzles in the pan and cartoons sing in the background.

Kelley and Rodney Tyus always wanted a big family, but they never expected to welcome eight adopted children into their hearts and home. After the birth of their two children, Ryan and Kyndel, the Tyus' could no longer have children of their own and began looking into adopting a sibling group.

"In the beginning, we wanted a sibling group of three or four," said Kelley. "But after we saw the picture of the eight brothers and sisters, our hearts swelled and we knew God wanted us to make these children part of our family."

The eight children, Brandon, Juan, Loren, Jesse, Erika, Sierra, and the twins, Rebekah and Randall, joined the Tyus family in 2002. While Kelley and Rodney had considered adopting internationally, the thought of helping children within their community encouraged them to look at Florida's adoptable children.

"Florida Baptist Children's Homes (FBCH) and the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF) performed miracles for my kids," added Kelley. "With their support and dedication, our adoption was finalized within three months. My husband and I were anxious about home inspections and the paper processing, but everyone involved worked tirelessly to make the transition easy and fast. They went above and beyond their call of duty."

Kelley remembers one particular inspection. "The youngest children were outside making mud pies when Kathy from DCF showed up for a home inspection. We both laughed. I knew she wanted them to be care-free children as much as I did."

In the months following the adoption, each child settled into their new home and reclaimed their childhood. Kelley and Rodney admit the older children had a tough time letting go of their former responsibilities as care-givers for the younger children. The months turned into years and each child found their new roles within the family. Jesse became the family clown, Randall became Kelley's side-kick, and Sierra's sensitive side soothed the whole family. The older children have grown up and moved away, but the family remains close.

"There were hard times, but the tremendous support of FBCH and DCF, my family, neighbors, friends and congregation helped us through," added Kelley. "We couldn't have asked God for a better family and we are thankful everyday."

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