West Virginia Couple Adopts 29 Abandoned, Special Needs Children … And Counting

Briggs IIFALLING WATERS, W.V. — In light of National Adoption Month, a West Virginia couple has captured the attention of the nation in recent weeks for their adoption of 29 abandoned and special needs children—and counting.

“It’s not for everybody, but it’s what my husband and I feel called to do by our faith,” Jeane Briggs, a Christian, told the New York Daily News this week.

Briggs and her husband Paul, who also have five biological children, have been adopting children from around the world since the 1980’s. Their oldest child is 35 and their youngest is 4, and their family nearly circles the globe, hailing from Mexico, Gana, Russia, the Ukraine and Bulgaria.

“I love kids,” Briggs said. “I love playing with them. I love listening to them. I get so much love and joy from kids and I think they are a blessing.”

The couple’s adoption adventure began in 1985 following a miscarriage when they learned that their church was taking a trip to an orphanage in Mexico. The Briggs went along, and that’s when they met a two-year-old boy named Abraham who had suffered brain damage after being abused  and was blind.

Not only did the couple adopt little Abraham, but they went on adopting other children who just needed someone to love them.

“It was hard to believe that someone wanted me with my problem,” Joseph, now 24, who was abandoned by his biological family after being born with a cleft lip and palate, told TODAY. “I can’t repay them for what they did for me. … I love my parents to the moon and back.”

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“I always wanted to have a mommy, daddy and a loving family,” said Catelyn Joy, now 22. “I love that they have a big heart to adopt, especially a 13-year-old teenage girl like me.”

The majority of the children that the Briggs have adopted are special needs children, and have dealt with medical problems such as polio, cancer, heart problems, autism and other issues.

But the couple says that they are allowing God to determine the size of their family and won’t put a limit on how many that they adopt. The Briggs are currently seeking to adopt two additional children from Ghana, including a baby boy who was born without hands and legs, and was abandoned by his parents.

“We’ll just see what God gives us,” Briggs said.

She told reporters that all of her children are taught about Jesus Christ.

“For us, really sharing our faith with our kids, this is what we do,” Briggs stated. “I hope that never ends, that compelling love for others.”

“Children are special gifts, blessings. No child should learn or feel that nobody wants them,” she added. “It’s such a joy. Honestly, I’ve never had a bad day.”

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  • The Last Trump

    WHAT!? Christians!? Gee, I thought for sure that they would be evolution believing atheists. Shocker.

    Oh yeah, I forgot. That loving group just abort.

    • Marie Adigwe

      There are a lot of people who would love to adopt children. It’s not just Christians, and not all atheists believe in abortion. Stop lumping people together.

      • The Last Trump

        Take another look at your history books my dear, naïve young friend. Ever heard of The Red Cross? How about The Salvation Army? Samaritan’s Purse? I could go on and on. These international humanitarian aid groups can absolutely be lumped together. ALL CHRISTIAN. Because taking care of the needs of others is what Christianity is all about. Hence, THIS story. TYPICAL CHRISTIANITY. No matter how badly folks like you wish it were not. Thanks for taking the bait though. So young and so naïve….but you’ll learn. Keep reading, dear.

        • Marie Adigwe

          Actually, a lot would. You just don’t hear about it on the media. Stop talking about non-Christians like you know what you’re saying because you don’t know what we talk about when Christians aren’t around. By the way, Mahayana Buddhism is based solely around helping others, so Christianity isn’t the only religion in which helping people is important.

    • Carol Kohlberg

      How about, this has nothing to do with pro life. or pro choice! Get youR head out of your ass. If you knew anything about special needs adoption you would shut up immediately.
      Oh and I am a real Christian, that is a real adoptive PARENT!

      • Pax Humana

        How about you try to get your ass into the kitchen and making sandwiches where it belongs, Carol Koheberg, you cold-hearted witch and servant of Lucifer?

        • Carol Kohlberg

          Because that is what all parents do, make sandwiches. I am not coldhearted or a servant of the devil.

          I am however a realist. This type of parenting is hard and different. If you have a neuro typical child, the parent just is not the same.

      • wandakate

        CAROL: A real Christian? Then you need to tone down your comment and not use profanity. Real Christians don’t make nasty comments with bad words. There were other ways of saying what you said. And telling people to shut up isn’t Christian is it? You will know then by their fruits.

        • Carol Kohlberg

          Though my words might not be the right choice, I still believe this is not pro life/choice issue.

  • Weary Warrior

    Amazing couple and wonderful witness of God’s love in action. Thank you for modeling “love your neighbor as yourself.”

    • wandakate

      WEARY WARRIOR: Yes, and they will have rewards in Heaven. The Bible tells us to take care of the widows and the orphans in need and look at this “example”. Even if someone can afford to care of one or two, everyone we support helps. We must work for the Kingdom of GOD, and to obey his laws. We may be saved by grace, BUT we will be judged by our works. I am impressed by these people.

  • Marie Adigwe

    I hope they can afford to take care of them all.

    • The Last Trump

      Wow. The first thought of every non-Christian who reads this story! And typical of every atheist. How selfless of you.
      Christians put their faith in God that when you do the right thing and obey His will, you trust in Him to provide. And wouldn’t you know, He does every time. None of those international humanitarian aid groups would exist if He hadn’t. They all started out, before they knew how things would turn out. And God takes care of the rest.

    • Liz Litts

      They would not have adopted them if they could not support them-no welfare here!

      • Carol Kohlberg

        Not unless they have a hero complex. This is irresponsible. Special needs adoption is hard.

        • Pax Humana

          No, this is completely the opposite of being irresponsible, Careless Cold-Hearted Iceberg.

    • James Grimes

      Sour grapes.

    • wandakate

      MARIE ADIGWE: It must have been expensive to just adopt them in the first place not even considering the care and expense for all of them. Those kids don’t know how blessed they are. I am older and have a special need as well and my husband passed away. I have no family taking care of me and pray daily to find someone to “adopt” me so to speak and be my overseer but so far nobody. But right about now in my life “adoption” would be a miracle for me, so I can relate to the children. I would be so grateful and humble for someone to care about me. I take care of myself for the most part, but to have someone there would be a GOD send.

    • Pat

      They stated that they receive no government help. The husband has a good job and great health insurance and a company that gives adoptive parents $10,000 per adoption which helps with the fees incurred. Adoption is very expensive, particularly overseas adoptions. This couple are heroes, not only to the children they bring into their family, but to me and I’m sure others as well.

  • Masha Abrikosova

    May Gods blessings be with them all!!!

  • Carol Kohlberg

    I am an adoptive parent of three children with significant needs and one with brain cancer. There is no way this couple can be attentive to 29 children. And kids with RAD, FASD, ODD need attention. Kids do not need heroes they need Parents.

    • bowie1

      They can still have family and friends, and perhaps relief workers or volunteers to support and help them.

    • Pax Humana

      Can their parents also not be heroes?

      • Carol Kohlberg

        If you are an adoptive parent of kids that came through Foster Care, you did not do it to be a hero. They made a choice to love.

    • wandakate

      CAROL KOHLBERG: I agree that they have too many to give each one daily one on one attention, however it is possible that the mom or day have helpers that help them with the ones that need special help on a continual basis…I don’t think that they are doing it alone.