Chris and Emily Norton have every excuse not to be foster parents.
They are young – 27 and 26, respectively. They have been married for only a year. And Chris has been paralyzed for seven years from a football injury.
But the young, determined couple told Yahoo News that their Christian faith keeps them strong and gives them a desire to serve others in need.
The Nortons recently adopted five daughters from foster care, ranging in age from 3 to 20, according to the report.
“They just bring so much energy to our lives — there’s never a dull moment,” Chris said. “We’ve been out in public, and people will just stop us and ask us, ‘Are these your kids? Please tell me these aren’t your kids.’ ”
Their oldest, Whittley, 20, has known Emily since high school when her now-mother mentored her, according to the report. The family said they adopted her as an adult in December after serving as her foster parents.
Two months later, the Nortons adopted their younger daughters: Ava, 10, Liliana, 8, Isabella, 6, and Ariana, 3, who are biological sisters, the report states.
In total, the family said they have fostered 17 children so far.
“We were able to grow our family this year, which was really special, and make it just official that they are our daughters forever,” Emily told the news outlet. “It’s been an absolute joy to be able to be there for these kids, through hard times, through good times.”
Her husband said he has struggled at times with being a dad and being paralyzed.
“There were things about being a dad that I really wanted to do. I always wanted to be the dad that can throw my kids around in the pool or play catch,” Chris said. “I just focus on what I can do as a dad. … I just cannot let my physical paralysis paralyze my mindset.”
The Nortons said their Christian faith keeps them strong.
“We went into it thinking that we would be the blessing to these kids, but they’re the blessing to us,” Chris said.