Empty-nesters, who raised 5 kids, adopt 15-year-old: ‘We wanted to have her in our family forever’

Rachel Grumman Bender

Parents often experience a range of emotions — from sadness to glee — when their last (or only) child heads off to college and they become empty-nesters. For Mike and Ramona Evans, after the last of their five children from their blended family left for college, they embraced the “exciting and exhilarating” milestone and decided to make a big change: leaving the suburbs and moving to the city.

That lasted three years. Then the couple realized “we had more to give.”

Ramona tells Yahoo Lifestyle that watching “Wednesday’s Child” on Channel 4 News in Denver planted a seed in their minds. “They highlight children that either need to be fostered or adopted,” says Mike. The couple also shared that they were inspired by their pastor, who has fostered and adopted children. What’s more, their church has a ministry called Project 127 whose goal is to clear out the local foster system. “It kind of helped lead us towards our decision to adopt,” says Mike.

He adds: “Ramona and I felt that adoption is our calling.”

Ramona and Mike Evans, who raised five children, adopted a 15-year-old teen after becoming empty-nesters. (Photo courtesy of the Evans family)
Ramona and Mike Evans, who raised five children, adopted a 15-year-old teen after becoming empty-nesters. (Photo courtesy of the Evans family)

Their five children were “extremely open” about their parents fostering and adopting a child in need. The couple — working with Nightlight Christian Adoptions, an organization that focuses on helping abused, neglected, and at-risk children in foster care find safe, loving homes — was eventually matched with a 15-year-old girl to foster. They spent weeks “earning each other’s trust, getting to know each other,” says Ramona.

The family bonded over board games, shopping and simply spending time together. “Those natural things we do as families and people are the things that connect us together,” Mike says. The couple understood that there had been trauma in their foster child’s life and focused on building trust and positive reinforcement.

Now, Mike says the teen is “totally interwoven into the fabric of our family.”

Mike Evans with three of his kids, Taylor, Gavin and Tori. (Photo courtesy of the Evans family)
Mike Evans with three of his kids, Taylor, Gavin and Tori. (Photo courtesy of the Evans family)

“She’s 15 but she can change the world,” he says. “She’s bright. She’s articulate. She’s passionate. For her, it’s about having the chance and the opportunity. We couldn’t be more proud. We couldn’t be more excited about her future.”

Mike adds: “For us, it’s about being good parents and teaching her good values and supporting her.” And it’s apparent they’ve done just that. Mike and Ramona were selected by CO4kids as one of the foster parents recognized by the state of Colorado and Governor Jared Polis for their dedication to kids in foster care and providing safe and stable homes.

“We knew that we wanted to have her in our family forever,” says Ramona. The adoption process is nearly done, and once it’s official, Mike shares that they’re going to have a “gotcha” celebration. “We’re excited — we got her,” he says.

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