-- John and Kelly DeGarmo have fostered more than 50 children over the years, but with high demand and no more room in their Monticello, Georgia, home, the pair are now opening a group home for teen boys.
Teen boys are the most unwanted of foster children, John DeGarmo said.
“When a boy hits age 9 or 10, nobody wants them. They all want a baby or a girl,” he said.
His wife believes she and her husband have a lot of “extra love” that they want to give to children.
“I’d like to help as many as we can,” she said.
In addition to Kolby, Jace and Brody -- their three biological children, they’ve adopted Brailey, Cassie and Gracie after fostering them.
“We’ve had up to 11 children at one time ... we've had up to seven in diapers at one time,” said John, adding that when children come into their home to be fostered “we give them as much unconditional love as we can.”
The DeGarmos -- both of whom are educators -- are also encouraging others to be foster parents.
“On any given day in America, there's roughly 450,000 children in foster care. And there are not enough homes. And of that number, about 25,000 will go for adoption. And there are not enough people who will adopt those children,” John DeGarmo, a national expert on foster care, said.
He issued this plea for people to step in: “You don't have to be rich, you don't have to have a big house ... you just have to be able to provide a child a safe home and love.”
Their commitment means the couple barely have enough time or money to go on vacation, so “GMA” stepped in, surprising the pair with a five-day Disney Cruise Line getaway on Disney Dream.
The vacation took them out to sea on a ship equipped with a giant water slide. There was endless fun for the DeGarmo children and Hunter, a foster child, and then another day of fun at Disney’s Castaway Cay Island in the Bahamas.
At night, the family enjoyed Broadway-style shows, pirate-themed parties and fireworks, and the DeGarmos even enjoyed a meal without the children.
“We have so many other children in our house at any given time that it's rare we get to spend time just us together ... It's been magical,” Kelly DeGarmo said.
The couple described the vacation as “a dream.”
“I’m still having to pinch myself,” John DeGarmo said.
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