STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. — Kim and Carlos Makle will have a packed Thanksgiving table this year, with their four biological children and their six adopted children all spending the holiday together in their Stafford County home.
"This love we have for each other is magical," Kim Makle says holding her youngest child, 2-year-old Jaden. "You wouldn't be able to tell who is our biological children or not, cause they're all ours."
For the Makle family, adoption has brought them more joy than they could ever have imagined. The couple first adopted three D.C siblings, then two more siblings, and then one more baby to complete their family of 10.
"I think it's special because I'm loved and they take really good care of me," 11-year-old Alaina said.
Alaina is old enough to remember life before joining the Makle family, and for her it wasn't pretty.
"We were in and out of lots of houses, in and out of hotels every night," she said.
There were many nights where Alaina went hungry.
Kim Makle's journey to adoption began after working as a nurse at Howard University Hospital. She said she knew she had so much more love to offer.
"To see all the kids come in and they were abused and hurt and I would want to bring them home," she said.
The couple fostered children for years, but that could be hard, because at some point, Kim Makle said, the children would go back home, sometimes to bad situations.
Carlos Makle, a retired UPS worker, said he set out as a youngster to make a difference for kids. He was bullied as a child because of his cleft palate and cleft lip. Having grown up with a kind of disability gave him a profound sympathy for young people who've had to struggle growing up.
"Life is hard," Carlos Makle said. "But these kids, they deserve better."
The Makle family has a message for anyone considering adoption.
"Don't be scared," Kim Makle said. "Just go for it. Follow your heart. God doesn't give you anything you cannot bear."
Kim Makle admits that not every day is sunshine and roses. Some of their kids have had challenges, including lower than expected grades, attention deficits, and acting out.
"It's no different than birthing a child of your own," she said. "Birthing a child, you don't know what you're going to get. You're just going to love that child."
And in the Makle household, it's clear their home is overflowing with love.
If you or someone you know wants to learn more about adoption, please call Children and Family Services at 202-671-LOVE. You can also get information online from the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency.