A Texas couple homes orphans regularly, helping thousands of children while being adoptive parents themselves. Paul and Robin Pennington began Hope for Orphans in 2001 and also have five adopted children themselves.
The Penningtons of Driftwood, Texas have adopted five children: Seth, 27 was diagnosed with Graves disease at age 10; Hope, 19, they got from South Korea and had five heart defects; Noah, 17, came from South Korea with shortened arms and a heart defect; Kit, 29, was adopted from the U.S.; Ethan, 19, was adopted in South Korea. In addition they also have one biological child, Elizabeth, who is 32.
"It was never intentional to go out and adopt a child who would make our family diverse," Robin, 53, told People magazine. "It was always just a case of, 'What child needs a family?'"
The couple moved on to form Hope for Orphans, a non-profit organization that educates churches on how they can adopt. They have helped thousands of children across the world find loving families.
"These children might include kids who are older, sibling groups, kids with medical issues, kids from abuse, kids with fetal alcohol syndrome and other brain-based issues," Paul, 53, explained. "Also, kids from disrupted adoptions, or those with PTSD."
The Penningtons have the experience to explain what exactly goes into the adoption process and what to expect; all of the children they have adopted are doing well. Their firstborn, Elizabeth, is carrying on the legacy by working with Generations, another non-profit adoption agency in Waco Texas.
Kit also adopted her first child, 9-year-old Oliver, and said she was inspired by the way she was raised.
"What inspired me to adopt in general were my younger siblings," Kit admitted. "The experience changed my life. It taught me how to love someone other than myself, how to nurture and protect."
The effect the Penningtons have had on many lives is exponential- although in the past adoption could be seen because couples couldn't have children of their own, now it is seen purely as an act of love.
"When we adopted Kit and Seth, we were adopting in order to have a family," Paul told People. "But with the next three, we were adopting to give a child a family. Increasingly, we're seeing that sentiment all around the world, people adopting to give children families, and infertility often has nothing to do with it. That's a major change."
"When a child goes into an adoptive home that is prepared for that child's needs, the reward is seeing that child become someone different right before your eyes," Robin added. "You see what love can do."