Full house for family of 15 provides lots of love

Thursday, June 19th 2008, 8:03 pm
By: News 9

By Melissa Maynarich, NEWS 9

Thousands of orphans around the world are adopted by Americans every day, and one Oklahoma couple has taken part, adding six children from Ethiopia to their family.

Wiley and Ashley Cunningham now have more than 12 children in their family, many of whom play on the same t-ball team, calling their coach "Papa."

"Everything they're doing here is for the first time," Wiley Cunningham said. "We're experiencing this large family for the first time, so everything's new."

Wiley Cunningham had four children when he married Ashley. The couple had two more children together, adopted a baby from Guatemala and five more brothers and sisters from Ethiopia.

Just before the flight to Africa to pick up the children, an older brother of the Ethiopia siblings was discovered, bumping up the total number of children to 13.

"I think people look at us and go, ‘Wow. I could never do that I couldn't even handle a two-year-old. I can't even handle one kid, much less three, four, five, six, or seven.'" Ashley Cunningham said. "But you can handle anything that you're given if you have the will to do it."

The Cunninghams said they adopted so many children because God put it on their hearts to do it, and now they wouldn't take it back for anything.

"We're not any special family or person I think," Ashley Cunningham said. "We just wanted to make that little bit of difference and if keeping six siblings together so they're not put on the street in a third-world country, if that's what we can do, I'd do it again."

With their 13 children, they've learned all it takes is love to make a difference in their children's lives.