GARDENDALE — When their four daughters were grown and out of the house, David and Donna McKinley decided they wanted add to their family.
“We wanted a boy,” said Donna.
So they looked at adoption.
They contacted the Children’s Aid Society, where they completed a 10-week course and their home study was approved.
When the call came, but the couple didn’t hear what they expected.
“They asked if we would consider a sibling group of three,” said Donna. “I said, What! No! Wait, let me pray about it.” She then called David at work, who had the same response.
At the time, the couple was living in a two-bedroom apartment in Trussville; it was nowhere big enough for five people.
The McKinleys have a heart for kids: David teaches eighth-grade algebra at Rudd Middle School and Donna is considered a “youth culture expert” through volunteer work she does. She also teaches court-ordered family classes in Shelby County.
They decided to meet the children, and “fell in love right away” with 11-year-old brother and sister twins and their 9-year-old sister, said Donna.
The McKinleys, who are in their 50s, spent several weekends with the children, and all five of them decided they wanted to be a family.
The children were in foster care in Gardendale, and wanted to continue living in the city. So the McKinleys searched for a house and found one quickly. All five of them moved into the house in July 2012.
The couple said it took at least a year before the children really believed they were in a permanent home. That is easy to understand, since the children had been in 10-12 foster homes. They also had three previous adoption attempts that did not go through.
“When we came home from school every day, we were worried about moving to another home,” said Ellen about being in foster care.