The tables accommodate the family, which includes Mackenzie, 15, Matthew, 14, Morgan, 11, Max, 10, Michael, 8, Mollie, 7, Madison, 6, Mitchell, 2, and infant Micah.
Megan lives in Twentymile with her husband.
That makes 10 children in 23 years. When people hear that they have that many children, they inevitably and coyly ask if they know what's making that happen.
"Terry tells them that if he could just keep his wife off the Internet, it would probably help. They're all confused then," she said. "He just laughs at them."
Making it work
Sherri gets up with Terry at 3:50 a.m. and he's out the door at 4:30 a.m.
During the school year, she gets Mackenzie up at 5 a.m. and drives her to catch the bus to Riverside High School, a ride of 1 hour 45 minutes. They live in Fayette County, but Mackenzie remains in Kanawha County schools, where she started. She catches a ride home in the evenings after band practice with an aunt who works near the school.
After leaving Mackenzie, Sherri runs back home and gets Matthew up and into the shower. She rouses and feeds the other five children while Matthew heads out to catch the bus to Valley High School. The grade-school-age children get dressed and grab breakfast, with Mitchell and Micah vying for attention as well.
"The kids are good. They'll watch Mitchell and Micah while I'm getting everyone else ready. My Morgan loves holding them. He'll hurry and get dressed so that if we have problems, he's ready to hold somebody," she said.
Sherri's parents live just down the road, and her father takes the five younger children to the bus stop.
The morning bathroom rush is somewhat alleviated by having most of the children bathe the night before. Sherri curls Mollie's and Madison's hair every morning and smoothes any of the boys' hair that sticks up.
"Last year, we had a kid in every grade at Valley Elementary except for third grade. And I was homeroom mother in the fourth grade," she said.
The children are all A and B students. The Willises hope the children go to college. "We'll help them as much as we can. I paid my own way through college twice," Sherri said.
The boys play baseball, including Matthew at Valley High School. Friday nights in the fall mean football games to see Mackenzie in the marching band. The younger boys play on the baseball field near the house.
Sherri and Terry attend as many games as possible, but, "We can't be at all those away games every night," she said.
Many of the disabilities predicted for the children haven't materialized. One son's flattened head was caused only by a repeated sleeping position and easily corrected. A daughter born with three X chromosomes could have been severely mentally challenged but isn't. They hope the potential reproductive issues she could face also fail to occur.
A son born without a rectum has had corrective surgery, nursed along by Sherri, and has no side effects as long as he follows his prescribed diet. Their Guatemalan daughter doesn't show signs of developing the tooth and bone deformities predicted for her. Her adoption nearly didn't happen.
"They closed the orphanage where she lived right after we got her. They said, 'Just throw those children in the street.' When we got there, she was so hungry she ate 19 jars of baby food in two days," Sherri said.
When the Willises reached their five-child limit in Korea (they were granted a waiver for Madison, their sixth from Korea, because she was older than the typical adoptee), they adopted from Guatemala.
Mitchell is in good health. Only Micah's prognosis is in question.
Megan helps her mom when she can, but is a full-time student studying respiratory therapy. Her mother insists that school be her priority. Megan doesn't remember a time when her family was small. They adopted Mackenzie when Megan was 5 years old.
"It just made life more fun. I had more playmates," she said.
Her willingness to help with her siblings has set a good example for the younger children, who help as well, a fact that heartens Sherri.
"It's like maybe we did something right. It's hard to teach caring," Sherri said.
Sherri expects that Micah will be their last adoption, largely because of financial constraints.
"If God wants us to have one, we will. If he doesn't, he'll close the door. Which he has done before, and then later we've seen why it wouldn't have worked out," she said of previous matches that didn't materialize.
She and Terry are also grateful for the tremendous support they receive from their friends at nearby Carbondale Baptist Church. They hope their story inspires other people to consider special-needs adoption.
"There's nothing so hard that you can't work through it. It just takes extra love and patience," Sherri said. "It's doable. You love them just like the rest. To you, there's no difference."
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Julie Robinson is a former Gazette staff writer. Reach her at jul...@suddenlink.net.