Oklahoma family finds new purpose through adoption after loss

SAYRE, Okla. (KFOR) – Johnnie Campbell and his wife Michelle have always had their hands full.

They have eight children living under their roof in Sayre, Oklahoma.

“Never in a million years would I figure we’d wind up like we are,” said Johnnie Campbell.

16-year-old Brenay, 11-year-old Cadence, 7-year-old Natalie, 15-year-old London, 18-year-old Avery, 17-year-old Devin, 15-year-old Alex, and 13-year-old Zeke are all adopted.

The Campbells started fostering two decades ago as a way to fill a void, a hole in their hearts after the loss of a child.

“We lost a baby in `96, and they told my wife not to have any more and so we thought ,’Well, if we can`t have any, let’s see if we can foster,” said Johnnie.

“You don’t know until you get them in your home, and you fall in love with them. You can’t help it,” Michelle said.

Over 100 kids have found safety in the Campbell’s home.

“We’ve had foster kids come and he was only gonna stay, ‘I’m only gonna be here two days,’ and he was there a year and 13 days, and then cried when he left,” said Johnnie.

The Campbells say they still worry about the kids long after they move on.

“There was some that stuck in your mind you still deep down inside want to know where they`re at, that`s what`s hard,” he said.

The couple is always baffled by the struggles some of these kids go through before reaching their home.

“Some of these kids will come into your house and they don`t even know what a hug is some of them. You just start from scratch,” said Johnnie. “There’s no telling how many dollars we’ve spent for these kids that have come to our house in a diaper and a t-shirt.”

It’s been an emotional journey for the family, but each member brings a unique personality to the table.

The last three to inherit the Campbell name were officially adopted just a few weeks ago.

“I get to stay with them for the rest of my life,” said 13-year-old Zeke.

“They’re officially siblings, they’re not just someone who can be moved later on. They’re part of the family, they’ll always be part of the family,” said older brother Avery.

Among the chaos, Johnnie and Michelle say the older kids have really stepped up to help out.

“I’m the mother of the house when my parents are away. I do like them all though, that’s a good thing,” said the laughing 16-year-old, Brenay.

As for the future of this family, they have more room in their heart, but they’re running out of space.

“We are out of room at the inn! We would continue to foster if we had more room!” said Johnnie.

It looks like they’ll be sticking to the number eight.

“For some reason, the Good Lord put me here to take care of these kids. I don`t feel like a hero or nothing like that but after these years, it`s felt good to be able to help them,” said Johnnie.

The Campbells are thankful for another holiday to sit side-by-side and call each other family.

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