Karen and Tobias Thompson met in high school, dated briefly, then went on to have separate marriages and children. When their marriages ended, the pair reconnected and got married in 2014. At that time, they already had quite a village. Together they have seven children from their previous marriages with 28 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
“There are always kids at our house. There’s never an empty house over here,” Karen said.
Only a year after their nuptials, the two learned that Karen’s niece and nephew, twins, were stuck in the foster care system. Wilmya and William were young at the time, but the couple decided to take them in. Now, seven years later, they are all officially adopted.
“No sense splittin’ ’em up. Keep ’em all together,” Tobias Thompson said after the adoption was finalized. “Show ’em a lot of love. That’s all they need. Love.”
In 2017, the 55-year-old couple received their foster license and took in William and Wilmya’s younger sisters, twins Sharnia and Sharleathea. Karen told reporters that the girls had nowhere else to go.
“We didn’t know anything about them until the caseworker told us. But I was like, ‘We may as well go ahead and get them,’” Tobias explained.
“They were going from foster home to foster home [and] they just needed somebody to hold onto them,” Karen added.
The Thompsons eased the younger twins into their home, allowing them to visit on weekends and giving them space to get adjusted and open up naturally.
“When Sharnia and Sharleathea came here, they didn’t want to go back to the foster home. I think they all needed to be around their siblings,” Karen said.
Now ages 14 and 9, the four children have settled in nicely and are finally in a stable and loving home. The couple said they can see their growth from then to now and are just happy to have the whole family together.
Amber Sawyer, the couple’s Hamilton County Job & Family Services adoption caseworker, spoke on the Thompsons’ behalf.
“One of the things that stuck out to me is how much family is important to them,” Sawyer said during the proceeding. “You can just feel the love and the bond in their home.”
Hamilton County Judge Ralph Winkler presided over their case and said his review of the Thompsons’ case showed they ready, willing, and able to provide for the siblings. He called them a “great example of what parents should be.” And he affirmed the siblings, calling them superheroes because they share a similar backstory to those like Superman, Batman, and Spiderman who were all adopted.
“They were very timid when they got here. They’ve been through a lot,” said Tobias.
“Now you can’t get them to stop talking. I think they all needed somebody to love them,” Karen added.
The children call the Thompsons Papa and Gigi and told the reporters how much their family loves and supports them. Wilmya recalled the caring words her papa shared when they moved in four years ago, he said, “I don’t have to be scared, and I don’t have to worry about nothing because he’s going to take care of me. And I’m safe.”
Judge Winkler said he hopes their story is an inspiration to all families.
News Source: BOTWC