Empty nesters Karen and Tobias Thompson of Hamilton County have so much love to give that they keep expanding their family.
The husband and wife, both 55, graduated from Taft High School and dated as teenagers. However, they ended up marrying other people and raising children with their spouses. When both of those marriages ended, Karen and Tobias found their way back to each other and married in 2014.
The couple has seven adult children, 28 grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren between them. But nearly five years ago, Karen heard that her now 14-year-old twin niece and nephew, Wilmya and William, were having troubles at home. Karen and Tobias were compelled to help out, so they agreed to become the twins’ foster parents.
But they didn’t stop there. When the pair found out that the children’s younger twin sisters were in the child welfare system, Tobias suggested that the girls, Sharnia and Sharleathea, both 9, should live with them, too.
Last month, the empty nesters‘ already big family grew by four when they officially adopted both sets of twins in Hamilton County Probate Court. They were accompanied by family and friends during the momentous event.
“No sense splittin’ ’em up. Keep ’em all together,” Tobias said. “Show ’em a lot of love. That’s all they need. Love.”
Aside from love, the twins also need food, clothing, a safe home, and enormous amounts of support—everything that the Thompsons are more than capable of providing.
Hamilton County Judge Ralph Winkler commended the couple for their noble act, telling them that they’re a “great example of what parents should be.” He also hopes that their story will inspire others to adopt and take care of their own families.
The Thompsons’ Hamilton County Job & Family Services adoption caseworker, Amber Sawyer, spoke on behalf of the couple during the proceeding.
“One of the things that stuck out to me is how much family is important to them,” she said. “You can just feel the love and the bond in their home.”
Judge Winkler also compared the twins to famous adopted superheroes—Superman, Batman, and Spiderman.
“You guys are more like Spiderman than anything,” he told the children.
But everyone knew that the true superheroes were Karen and Tobias, who decided to raise Wilmya, William, Sharnia, and Sharleathea like their own children. Karen says doing so was neither hard nor easy, but “if you’ve got a lot of love, go ahead and give it to the children,” she said.
The newly adopted kids call Karen and Tobias their “Gigi” and “Papa,” and they love them as much.
“I love my Gigi so much that I’ve been wanting to live with her since we got to her house,” Sharnia said.
Wilmya still remembers the first thing her Papa promised her when she and her brother first moved in with them all those years ago.
“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,” she recalled.
When William was asked about the best thing about getting adopted by his Gigi and Papa, he gave a straightforward answer: “Living with them. It’s best to live with them. I love living with them.”
During the proceeding, it wasn’t mentioned how the two sets of twins became available for adoption. But what was certain was that they made a lot of progress in the Thompsons’ home.
Aside from having so much love to give, Karen’s favorite thing about having four more children is that it keeps her young.
“It keeps you young because you always busy. You always busy. There’s always something for them to do,” she said. “It’s just a revolving door just trying to do what’s right by keeping everybody together.”
“They family, and I feel like we should keep our family together,” Karen added. “We should try to, anyway.”
Congratulations to the Thompsons for making their family’s expansion official! You can learn more about their story by watching the video below.