A family of four becoming a family of many

When we think of the word diversity, we think of someone of the opposite race or religion, from a different country, or of a different sexual orientation than us. Most of the time, the word family is not in that list of words that come to mind when we hear “diversity.”

The reason the word family may not come to mind is that many people just see families as groups of people who are related by blood or marriage and are from a specific area or gene pool and more times than not look and act the same.

The funny thing is though that is not always the case.

Michelle Wilson holds her son, Jaxon, as the family waits for the final adoption papers to be signed by judge Tammy Harrington.

Until meeting the Wilson family, I personally never thought of families being diverse other than color or religion either. It was not until I had known the family for about a year when my idea on the matter changed, and my train of thought did as well.

A single mother with two young boys, Michelle Horner met Mark Wilson. After getting to know each other and finding a mutual connection, as they say the rest was history.

Looking back on their quick and somewhat comical beginning, Mark and Michelle who have now been married for nine years, laugh because they never would have imagined life then to be the way it is now.

“It’s funny, I never would have thought we would be where we are today. We just wanted to be married, live life, and that was that. But God had other plans,” Michelle said.

Klara Wilson gives her dad Mark a big hug while celebrating the finalization of the adoption of her brother Jaxon.

Shortly after getting married, Mark and Michelle decided to become foster parents and give children that were in need of it, a safe and stable living environment even if that meant it was only for a short time. With the agreeance of Christopher and Matthew, Michelle’s two children, the family of four would soon become a family of who knew how many.

At first, they were just a safe landing for a child in the middle of getting adopted and going to their forever home. On some occasions they were a weekend stay for a child in foster care whose parents were going out of town.

“We were always having an extra kid with us. Always plus one, but we never really thought that plus one would become a forever plus one,” Mark added.

In February of 2014, the Wilson’s were notified that a 16-month old little girl named Klara was in need of foster parents. An ice cream meet and greet turned into bringing their new daughter home, and what later would become a nearly two year process of adopting Klara into the Wilson family.

“It was the craziest thing!” Michelle said. “We literally just went to meet her for ice cream, and then ended up bringing her home with us that night and going to fill out paperwork to start the adoption process the very next day. Talk about a whirlwind.”

Almost a year to the day after her adoption, Klara waits on her new brother Jaxon to be adopted at the Blount County courthouse.

Even with Klara, the Wilson’s still continued to open up their home to children, and shortly after Klara was placed, a newborn baby boy named Jaxon needed a forever home and their name got drawn.

“People called us crazy. When we decided we would take Jaxon, we already had Klara and we had another brother and sister that we were fostering at the time. So our two kids Chris and Matt, Klara, the brother and sister (names have been left out for privacy issues) and Jaxon, we were a full house. Most importantly though we were a full heart,” Michelle stated.

In July of 2016, it was finalized that Jaxon would be adopted by Mark and Michelle. Though the adoption would not fully take place until April of 2017, the family had grown once more.

Looking back through the years, the husband and wife are thankful they have been given this opportunity to reach out and make a difference in the world. In Mark’s words, it’s all about changing one life at a time.

They both laughed over coffee, never imagining that they would have four children and now another on the way as they are in the process of the adoption of a five-year old little girl. But as insane as their house can be at sometimes, one thing is for certain there is never a dull moment.

“The personalities mix so well. Diversity doesn’t have to be color, we are the epitome of diverse. Come sit at the dinner table and you can see it for yourself,” Mark said while laughing. “Our family, though we may all be different, we mesh together and form a union and to me that is the most important thing.”

The family’s attorney has been by Mark and Michelle’s side through the whole process. Rob Huddleston was both Klara and Jaxon’s case worker when they were adopted by the wilson family.

As for the future of this diverse family, the Wilson’s are not sure what will happen. One thing they do know is that they are willing to go where God leads them.

“If he wants us to adopt more children and add to our household then we will, and if he doesn’t then we won’t. It’s all about what is perfect for his timing and his will,” Michelle said.

Pictured is the Wilson family. Mark, Michelle, Matthew, Chris, Klara and Jaxon. The family grew from four to five when Mark and Michelle decided to adopt Jaxon in July on 2016.
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