AUSTIN, Texas — Mother's Day is all about celebrating the matriarchs in our lives: moms, stepmoms, grandmothers and foster moms.
With six children, another on the way and a dog, Blythe Cavender and her husband, Tylor, keep their Thrall home busy, but they say they wouldn't have it any other way.
"I do keep very busy. It's a lot like a chaos well-oiled machine," Cavender said. "We actually had six kids in our homes in six years. Our oldest is 16, then 13, six, four, three and then a 4-month-old as well."
Cavender shared she and her husband knew early on they wanted to have a big family. How they came about that dream all started with a phone call.
"Seven years ago we got a phone call from a friend of a friend that a mom was looking for a mom for her son. That's when we got Edmund. We knew that God had put him in our hearts" Cavender said. "Several miscarriages later, we had two biologicals and moved here and talked about wanting to foster and adopt."
Cavender and her husband were able to give birth to now 4-year-old Kadirose and 3-year-old Theodore. In addition to 6-year-old Edmund, they also adopted teens Jersie (16) and Arabella (13) just last summer. They are currently fostering the 4-month-old.
"We knew there were a lot of kids out here that needed a chance that other people weren't going to give them."
The teen sisters were adopted last July and shared how different their life is now compared to a year ago.
"He [Edmund] likes to point out a lot that when I first got here, that I didn't laugh or smile a lot. He walked up to me and was like 'you laugh a lot more than you did when you first got here,'" said Arabella about her younger brother, Edmund.
Jersie Cavender shared that the two sisters were sexually abused for eight years. When they were adopted into the Cavender family, they learned how to open up and trust again.
"For those that are fostering teenagers for the first time and have never had teenagers in their home, you can see they're learning just as much as we are on how to make the family fit together," Jersie said.
Cavender said when it comes to days like Mother's Day, adoptive and foster moms aren't always recognized.
"I think a lot of times what we do isn't recognized, but I don't think many of us are in it for recognition. We're in it because we want to keep kids safe and loved," she said. "They [other foster moms] are moms because of that and that's a really neat thing to see. It's hard to see in foster care one family broken down, but redemption in another family becoming whole."
Part of the reason that the Cavender family felt called to adopt the two sisters was because they recognized that teenagers tend to not get adopted as soon as younger children in foster care, which is why groups like Partnerhips for Children have special programs focused on tacking that exact issue through the Heart Gallery and YES Mentoring Program.
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