Durham, N.C. — It was the experience Jodi Tucker once had listening to a young man tell his story of being adopted as an older child that had her sending her husband, Jerry, a life-changing text.
"I actually sent him a text that said, 'I think there are more children in your future,'" she said. "He texted me back and said, 'Please call me.'"
At the time, the Durham couple already had a biological daughter, 19-year-old MacKenzie, and 16-year-old Olivia, whom they adopted as an infant. Last year, though, they adopted three cousins – Agnes, 15, Ruth, 13, and Nathan, 8 – from Uganda.
Their work in the Triangle with the African Children's Choir – a group made up largely of orphans from Uganda – connected them to that country. The orphanage there connected them to the three children.
"People are always like, 'You must be such a wonderful person. You must be such a good mother. You must be so organized," Tucker said. "I'm like, 'No, I'm an ordinary person. I've made lots of mistakes.'"
That, in part, is why she wrote "Fasten Your Sweet Belt," a book about her experiences and advice that she says she wish she had known when she and her husband decided to adopt older children.
Plenty of books are available on adopting babies, Tucker said, but she found very few on adopting older children.
Agnes also writes a section about her adoption story and why she wants to help other children who also need adopting.
"There's nothing special about us," Tucker said. "We're just regular people. We just wanted these kids to have a family. That's really all kids want is a family."