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When Tammy Waltz, 31, shared the exciting news with her friends and family that she and husband Drew would be adopting four siblings from Eastern Europe their reactions were priceless — and she got it all on camera.
“I wanted to remember their reactions,” she told TODAY Parents, “and I wanted to have it for the kids.”
In the emotional video, Tammy and Drew reveal to friends and family that the three brothers and one sister they hosted through Open Hearts and Homes for Children would be joining their family permanently. The joyous reactions of friends, and in particular the tearful reaction of Tammy’s honorary Grandma Madge, moved many viewers who saw the video on the Facebook page of LifeSong for Orphans, an organization that provides grants for adopting families.
Tammy and Drew always knew they wanted to adopt, even before they met. And while they never imagined adopting four children at once, when they hosted the siblings in their Charlotte, NC home last Christmas, they knew they had met their future family. The boys, ages 8, 9 and 11 and their older sister, who is 13, do not speak English, and the Waltzes use an app, Speak & Translate, to help with communication, plus sign language — which has resulted in lots of shared laughter.
“We decided in March that we were going to adopt them, and then told the kids when they came back for another hosting visit this past summer,” said Tammy. She said the enormity of adopting four kids didn’t really deter her or Drew. “Of course we initially had some hesitation, but once we met them we knew they were our children. Also, we kind of like the craziness!”
Tammy, who is a worship director at a ministry, says that in many instances, friends and family members are skeptical of adoption — especially one that includes multiple children — but she knew her and Drew’s family and friends would be supportive.
LifeSong has matched the funds the Waltzes have raised to help with the costs of adoption. “They are incredible when it comes to funding,” she said. But even without the financial boost, she and Drew knew they would have found a way to make the adoption happen no matter what.
“Kids are worth the work,” she said. “You are giving life to someone.”
The couple are currently waiting for a court date in order to finalize the adoption, and had to say goodbye for now to the sibs at the end of the summer.
“The first time they left after Christmas, they cried at the airport, but after the summer, it was really like they were leaving their mom and dad when they said goodbye to us,” she explained. “Once they felt they belonged here, they started to invest. They started to help with the dishes and take out the trash. They became so affectionate toward us.”
Tammy says that although adopting siblings may seem overwhelming, it’s something people shouldn’t write off. “Don’t let fear deter you,” she said. “These kids can overcome anything with love.”