A Texas family grew by five overnight, reuniting siblings previously separated in foster care.
Thomas and Andi Bonura had three biological children of their own, but 11 years ago were told they wouldn’t be able to have any more. They struggled for years to conceive the children they did have, with all three born prematurely. Their first successful pregnancy was with twins, Eli and Joey, born at 25 weeks. Joey survived, but Eli did not, and Joey still struggles with health problems. He has cerebral palsy, is visually impaired, and communicates through sign language. “He’s very smart…whenever people start to pity him, I tell them, ‘Don’t.’ He’s the happiest kid in this house,” Andi Bonura told Good Morning America. She later had daughters Sadie and Daphne, and she had one miscarriage. In 2017, the couple became foster parents.
They were immediately paired with the first of their eventual adopted children. The five siblings were all separated, and Bryson, who is now two years old, was the couple’s first foster child, straight out of the hospital. Soon, they added two of Bryson’s siblings: David and Gabrielle. Then, their older twin brothers Thomas and Carter began to visit their other siblings — but visits weren’t enough. “They were sweet and would say, ‘Can we come live with you?'” Bonura recalled.
The Bonura family happily welcomed Thomas and Carter, but soon, the opportunity arrived to make it official. “One day we got a call saying, ‘[The parents] are terminating rights. Do you want them?'” Bonura explained. “We said yes.”
In May, by way of a Zoom call due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bonuras adopted all five children. Neighbors celebrated with a car parade. “These are their brothers and sisters and there’s no argument. The kids have been through a lot but they’re the sweetest. They’re amazing — and resilient,” Bonura explained. “They’re fun to be around and they’re the greatest kids. God’s hand was in it. Our family is complete.”
Foster care is one of the most misunderstood systems in the country, and it carries a lot of stigmas. The goal of foster care is reunification with biological parents whenever possible. And while some foster children have disabilities or have suffered trauma, that does not mean they are “broken” or damaged beyond repair. What is needed is for more people to step up, and give these children a real chance at a loving home that can provide stability and healing.
For Bonura, the experience has been extremely rewarding, and she encourages others to follow their lead. “We had been working so hard for years to get them all together, to bond as a family and it just feels so amazing to all of us, knowing we are a family, finally,” she told 6News Richmond, adding of foster care, “It will be the single most important and meaningful thing in your life. The struggles to get to the place, your goal, is worth every tear. Because every struggle opens and teaches your heart how to help heal their precious innocent hearts. Watching these tiny people grow and heal brings hope that the future will bring much goodness to our broken world.”
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