PFLUGERVILLE, TEXAS - During the holiday season, many of us are enjoying gifts and fellowship with the ones we love. And that includes one Central Texas family, who says the best thing they've gotten this Christmas is each other.
Inside their Pflugerville home, the sights and sounds of Christmas are everywhere. The kids are busy making sure the tree looks perfect, and when asked what they're thankful for, 7-year-old Tyrone pipes up, "My family!"
Life could have been very different for Tyrone and his four brothers and sisters. His mother, La'Toiya Blue, says she may not have given birth to them, but they are all in her heart.
She eagerly describes each one of her kids, starting with Tyrone, a quiet, thoughtful boy with a winning smile.
"He is super smart and he loves Star Wars," she said.
La'Toiya watches 6-year-old Travion as he leads the others around the den.
"He loves everybody, but he also tries to be the boss ... he's the boy boss," she said.
5-year-old Destiny is busy admiring her pink cowboy boots.
La'Toiya smiles, "She loves shoes and she loves fashion and dressing up."
4-year-old Ormani giggles as she plays with her doll.
"She is so sweet and loving," La'Toiya said.
3-year-old Curtis suddenly runs up and gives his mother a hug.
"He doesn't let his size or his speech impediment or his hearing loss stop him from doing anything," La'Toiya said.
The Blue family was brought together by circumstance, and are bound together by love. The thought of these brothers and sisters being raised apart broke La'Toiya's heart.
"We got them when they were so young," she said. "The youngest one was 0. And they were back to back, 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Their biological mother asked me if we would adopt them so they could stay together."
But wait, there's more. More kids, that is.
The Blues also adopted 14-year-old Terri. She relishes her role as a big sister.
"It's always entertaining to watch them play and act silly," she said.
In all, La'Toiya and her husband have adopted eight of their foster children, raising them along with their two biological kids.
"We got the kids in our home and we could not let them go," La'Toiya said.
The Blues weren't able to adopt another one of their foster children, Frieda Ramirez, but she's spending Christmas at the house as well. The Blues believe she's just another part of their family.
And for Freida, to see these little ones get the chance she didn't have means everything.
"It really is hard out there, and it's hard to find a foster family, and to find one that really actually cares about you and cares about your success and cares about you growing up is amazing," she said.
La'Toiya's Christmas wish now is that that more parents would foster and adopt, giving the thousands of Texas kids waiting for a family a place to call home.
Because she can't imagine her life without her little ones, who are having their best Blue Christmas ever.
Here in Texas, nearly 4,000 children are waiting to be adopted, and the number of kids in foster care is at an all-time high, so the need for foster parents is critical.
For more information on becoming a foster parent, click here.
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