Once upon a time, there was a family of seven. While that number might seem large to some, to Lance and Teri Salois of Cut Bank, it was not all that big, it was a good number.
But then, they were given the option to adopt five more children and without hesitation, Lance and Teri said, “Heck yes!”
On Wednesday, July 22, the adoption became official and what once had been a family of seven, became a very big, happy family of an even dozen!
Several years ago, before they took the big step of adopting, Lance and Teri were tossing around the idea of becoming foster parents. Their love of kids and their desire to help the kids that might need a safe place for a short time or long-term, made them a great fit as parents for the foster parent program.
Once their oldest daughter Kasey graduated from high school a few years ago, they decided to fill out all the paperwork and throw their hats in the ring to become foster parents.
“The ladies that worked at the local Child Protective Services office knew we were working on getting licensed, so when five young children were removed from their present home, Lance was the first person they thought of to take them in. They called him to see if he would be interested in taking five children and he said yes, even before he found out they were his cousin’s children. They offered to split them between us and Lance’s brother, but we knew we couldn’t separate them,” explained Teri.
The original five children in the Salois house include Kasey, who is 23 years old and lives in Cut Bank; Jareth, who lives in Phoenix and is 20; Tiela, who is 17 and will be a senior at Cut Bank High School; Kayoda, who is 14 and a freshman at Cut Bank High School; and Kyson, who is 12 years old and a seventh grader at Cut Bank Middle School.
The newly adopted quintet includes Taryn, 13, an eighth grader at Cut Bank Middle School; Isabelle, 11, a sixth grader at Cut Bank Middle School; Zoie, 10, who is in fifth grade at Anna Jeffries Elementary School; Brock, 7, a third grader at H.C. Davis Elementary; and Stephanie, 5, who will start kindergarten this fall.
A few years before the kids were officially adopted, they lived with Lance and Teri for about seven months. And then they were returned to their parents.
“But once again, we got a call asking if we wanted five kids and they rejoined us in August of 2018,” Teri said. They have been with them ever since as foster children, that is until a week ago, when they became the newly adopted troop added to the Salois home.
The Saloises love having a houseful of kids, their own and the foster kids. It was truly a “no-brainer” when they were given the option of whether or not they should adopt the five kids and add them to their family.
“Lance and I both come from fairly big families, so having a big family was always something we wanted to do,” said Teri. “Lance is number seven of nine children and I am the oldest of four, but I was raised with my cousins around all the time. Both of our families were always taking in ‘strays.’ If someone needed a place to stay, our homes were always a safe place to land for a while.”
The Saloises knew that adding five kids to an already established family would take a little time for everyone to get used to the new arrangements. All in all, it went pretty well, but Teri said they did have a few kinks to work out.
“Our daughter Kayoda has a blended family at her mom’s house in Shelby, so it’s not a big thing for her to have more siblings. Our son Kyson was a bit put out for awhile as he wasn’t the baby of the family anymore. In the last few months, he has really stepped up taking on the role of big brother,” Teri shared.
For the five newly adopted kids, Teri said, “Taryn, the oldest of the five, was the most excited. She was ready to be done with the craziness of not really belonging anywhere. Brock had the hardest time adapting. He had a lot of behaviors when he came back to us. He had a hard time processing the emotions he felt about being adopted. I had a long talk with him about what it meant to get adopted by us and how it would mean he could be safe with us forever. Since our talk, his behaviors have almost stopped.”
Teri continued, “I believe Stephanie has been the least affected by coming to live with us. She was barely three when she came to live with us the last time. I don’t think she really remembers much about living with her parents.”
It is not easy raising children, be it two or 10 and the Salois know this. But they also know, a house that was full of joy and love with five children will be doubly full of joy and love now that that number is 10.
“Adding more kids to the mix has made for some interesting times,” said Teri. “But most of all, it has filled our lives with love.”