"They're my angels here on Earth. I needed them and they were there."
With that simple phrase, 16-year-old Marantha described her adopted parents -- the East Tennessee husband and wife who stepped up to give teenager and her nine brothers and sisters a forever home.
Marantha and her younger siblings Debra, Jerrilyn, Paul, Bobby, Sandy, Tarah, Hannah, Pasca and Maverick nicknamed "Sonny" appeared on WBIR's "Monday's Child" segment in 1994. At the time, the children were separated into four different foster homes. They told Bill Williams the separation created "holes in their hearts" and that they longed to be back together with a mom and dad.
The Department of Children's Services understood the children's situation and hoped to place them in a home together, but considered that scenario highly unlikely. However, everything changed after the brothers and sisters were featured on "Monday's Child".
"We were thinking we might receive one call -- if we were lucky," explained DCS employee Sharon Smallwood. "We couldn't believe it. I asked these people if they realized what they were taking on and they all did."
In all, DCS said it received more than 50 applications from what it considered "well-qualified" prospective parents. A couple named Joe and Debbi were eventually selected and the group of twelve became a family.
With steady love, compassion and patience from their new parents, the ten siblings flourished. Before their adoption, the children had very little exposure to "normal" childhood experiences including formal education. After their adoption, they learned to play sports and made their honor rolls at school. Marantha even went on to earn a $5,000 scholarship through WBIR's "10 for the Future" scholarship program.
The ten boys and girls were the largest group ever featured on "Monday's Child" and the happy ending they found despite all odds is one of your "Straight from the Heart" Moments.