Big Family Celebrates Christmas In Caddo - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Big Family Celebrates Christmas In Caddo

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BRYAN COUNTY, OK -- There was plenty of activity in a home near Caddo as a large family prepared to celebrate Christmas. For more than 20 years, the family has grown, taking on more foster kids that the parents just cannot seem to part with.

They couldn't have kids of their own, and saw a newspaper ad about hosting foster children. It started a journey that would forever change their lives, and those of 11 children.

The family started with a couple and their teenage foster child Brandon. After three years, he requested they be his legal parents. "He wanted a family so we adopted him, he asked us to adopt him, and that's where it started," says mom Lana Behrens.

"We were married, just me and her and we had bought a large house and we had lots of room and we really didn't have a focus in life," says dad Larry Behrens.

Unable to have children, they started adopting, again and again. "My mom and dad they are nice and I got brothers and sisters they are nice," says Chris, 9.

"It's fun, it's exciting, there's never a dull moment at our house," says Maggie, 15, who was adopted at age 3.

"There's not too many people that would actually take in another child from another person and actually want to adopt them you know usually they're just going from house to house," says Roger, 20, adopted at age 7.

The Behrenses say all 11 kids were originally referred to them as foster children through the Choctaw Nation, but they just could not give them up and eventually adopted all of them. "They stayed in the home sometimes two or three years, and when they became adoptable we were already well attached, we weren't going to let these kids go somewhere else, they were our kids."

"We both grew up in good homes and I felt every child needs a good home every child needs a chance to have a beginning," says Lana Behrens.

As the young kids enjoyed getting some toys from an uncle on Monday, the older ones reflected on a bigger present. "We're pretty blessed to have the parents that we have," says Maggie Behrens. "If it wasn't for them, I don't know where we would be."

Larry Behrens works for the Choctaw Nation helping kids find new adoptive homes. He says his relative who moved in next door now three foster kids, but as for him and his wife, they say the five-year-old they have now will be their last. They were recently recognized with an award from the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.