polo hiking boots What one family learned about love after adopting 7 more children
There are 10 kids in all for Jason and Chapri Paulateer, who after having a few children of their own knew there was yet room for more in their hearts, and their home.
Their story is one that we all should hear; it’s a story that will fill you to the brim with Christmas cheer.
PHOTOS: Big family, big Christmas
They’ll run down the stairs of their Bloomfield Township home this morning 20 feet in footie pajamas, some tinier than others rushing to see what Santa has brought.
It’s usually one gift per child, plus what’s in their stockings. Santa has lots to deliver to the Paulateers, whose children range in age from 1 to 18 years old.
A couple weeks before Christmas, Mekhi, 12, showed his dad a pair of socks he’d like, plus a pair of Nike Hyperdunk shoes, wireless earphones and pants with cuffs on the bottom.
But it’s not easy to come up with all the things on their wish lists.
“Those are nice,” their dad, Jason, said, before explaining that he and his wife, Chapri, never thought they would be the parents of 10 children when they were first married.
“We started out as foster parents with the intent to adopt,” he said. But as more and more children came into their care, the family simply adjusted. “It was manageable. We always just kinda went with the flow even the hard stuff. It like, OK, these are things you just have to go through. And we just plow through it.”
Four of their kids have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD. One is on the autism spectrum. One struggles with Oppositional Defiance Disorder. All of them are loved.
Growing a family
Their family’s story started on the west side of the state.
Jason, who grew up in Detroit, met Chapri, also a Detroit native, at Grand Valley State University.
The Paulateer family poses for a photo on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016. The family is made up of ten children, seven of which are adopted. (Rachel Woolf, Special to the Detroit Free Press)
They graduated him with two degrees in business, her with a degree in criminal justice and were married. Soon after, Chapri delivered a baby boy they named Jason Paulateer Jr. But about a month after he was born, baby Jason died.
“The official cause of death was an enlarged heart,” Chapri said. “His heart was four times the normal size,
and we had no idea.
“I wouldn wish that on anybody, but I think we are the people we are today because of that. And I don doubt God. It not my place to question Him. I feel like we might not always understand what we are supposed to trust, right? So you know, we made it through it.”
Soon after they lost their son, Chapri was pregnant again this time, with a girl, Micha. A year later came a second daughter, Michaila. And then, a third, Michaya, was born. The Paulateers were pretty certain they were done having children, but Chapri felt as if the family wasn’t complete. She wanted a son.
Adoption, Jason said, “was on her bucket list, not mine. . She and another mom came up with this plan to actually do something about it.
“I ended up agreeing to attend the orientation to learn about this whole thing with her, being a supportive spouse,” he said. “And it was a wrap. . I graduated from being a reluctant spouse to being all in.”
They enrolled in a 13 week class to help them understand the process of foster care and adoption.
Michaila Paulateer, 17, left, and Marlee Paulateer, 1, cheer on swimmers during their sister Michaya Paulateer swim meet on Friday, Dec. 2, 2016. (Elaine Cromie, Detroit Free Press)
“One thing led to another,” he said.
One day, Chapri went to lunch with a friend who worked in adoptions; the friend showed her the picture of two brothers who were in foster care, but who needed a permanent home.
Chapri couldn’t stop thinking about those boys, who at the time were 4 and 5.
“For two weeks, I dreamed about those boys,” Chapri said. “All the time, they were on my mind. I told my husband, ‘Honey, I can get those boys out of my mind.’ He said, ‘You should call the agency and see if their parental rights have been terminated.’ “