NASHVILLE -- A Middle Tennessee family has tripled in size with the adoption of eight siblings from Sierra Leone.
The children -- seven boys and one girl -- walked off a plane in Nashville last week with their new mom, Hayley Jones, and were greeted with hugs from their new father, Mike Jones, and brothers, Tyler and Tucker.
The children's arrival comes three years after the Thompson's Station family began the process of adopting the children.
Mike Jones told The Tennessean (http://tnne.ws/WDCS9F) that he and his wife originally planned to adopt one or two more children, but felt God calling them to take in more. He said when they heard about the group of eight siblings, they knew it was right for them.
"This isn't about what a great thing Mike and Hayley Jones are doing, it's about what God called us to do for his bigger purpose, which we don't know yet," Mike said. "You don't go out and adopt eight kids and radically alter your family's life forever, because you think it's cool or wouldn't that be neat to do."
About 150 people joined the family to celebrate the arrival of its newest members.
"It's a great day," said Jason Rust, who founded The Raining Season, which sponsors children in Sierra Leone and runs The Covering, the center where the children have lived.
"We've prayed for this day for a long time," said Andrew Bedi, a family friend who has helped renovate their home, adding bedrooms, a bathroom, a laundry room and expanding the kitchen in order to accommodate the children, who range in age from 5-16.
Mike holds the position of general manager at Milcrofton Utility District. Hayley taught kindergarten for eight years, but resigned as the adoption got closer. She says she plans to home-school the older four siblings to catch them up, but the younger ones will attend school.
"We hope that people are inspired in some way to make a difference through our journey however that may look in their lives," Mike said. "It may not have a thing to do with children, but hopefully they will reflect where they are personally and how they could make a difference somewhere locally or maybe even around the world."
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