Two Clackamas County firefighters are about to make what may be the most important rescue of their careers -- adopting an entire family from a world away.
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“We’ll head over to Africa probably next month and bring the kids back. That’s the goal,” said Ted Willard, who drives the fire truck at one Clackamas County station while his wife Kelsey keeps medical equipment in top shape at another station.
Anyday now, they’ll answer the call that will make them parents.
“We just looked at their pictures and knew it was right,” remembered Kelsey.
The two brothers and two sisters have been living in a Ugandan orphanage since their parents died more than a year ago.
“Nobody was taking them because there were four and I looked at Ted and thought, I guess we could look into it,” said Kelsey.
The couple, who met climbing into the back of an ambulance, had been trying to adopt for more than three years. The cost has been a challenge so friends at their church Gresham Bible have been fundraising.
They’ve raised $13,000 to cover airfare, but hope to raise up to $7,000 more. The Willard’s will have to live in Uganda up to two months once the adoption is complete while they wait for visas for the children.
The kids, who range in age from 2 to 8, don’t speak any English.
“It’s going to be difficult. We’ll have to do a lot of pointing and repeating things and maybe use some flashcards,” remarked Ted.
The children have never seen a fire truck let alone an airplane but Kelsey and Ted have confidence in each other as they take on their most daring call yet,
“Ted is going to be the best role model yet,” Kelsey said.
“Kelsey’s pretty amazing too," Ted added. "It’s a good thing she’s great at multi-tasking.”