Over 20 years ago in southwest Kansas, Tate Thompson and his high school sweetheart were touched by adoption when Thompson’s wrestling coach took in Meriam, his now wife. It was a labor of love the couple vowed to never forget and to eventually pay it forward.
Monday was that day.
The family now living in Pratt added four teenagers to their family of five, by adopting Kimberly, Keishaune, Ke’Rel and Keimarla, four biological siblings originally from Kansas City, Kan.
“A lot of times when it comes to adoption, people think of babies and really it’s the teenagers that need the homes a little more and they’re in more need,” Tate Thompson said.
The four teens have been living with the Thompsons and their three biological children, Hogan, Jadyn and Tiger, since summer of 2017. But Monday, a judge made the family official on paper.
“Today means we are finding our final family and it means no more foster care,” Keishaune, age 14 said.
The now seven brothers and sisters transitioned smoothly and made for a good fit after a couple minor adjustments, Meriam said.
“Once they moved in with us, it was like they’d always been with us and a part of the family.”
The oldest, Kimberly, is 18 and graduates from high school next month. She plans to go on to Pratt Community College and hopes to eventually become a case worker or school teacher, to help children such as her siblings.
Hogan Thompson, 15 years old, said the adoption means getting “two best friends” in brothers Keishaune and Ke’Rel.
“They’ll be able to be my friends throughout my whole entire life because, well, they’re going to be my family,” he said.
The family posed for their first “official” family photo in the courtroom at the Pratt County courthouse after the judge signed the order, finalizing the adoption. All but Ke’Rel, age 13, beamed for the camera.
“We love you, Ke’Rel,” a family member muttered.
Ke’Rel stifled a smirk, then laughed.