Lakeland Family with 17 Children Finds Blessings in Adoption

Updated: 05/11/2013 1:12 PM By: Naomi Pescovitz

On Friday night, thousands gathered for The Rave Run, a night-time run at Valleyfair. It benefited the Minnesota Adoption Resource Network which is actively trying to find homes for 470 children in Minnesota.

One of the greatest needs is for siblings who need to be adopted together. It is a problem the Jacobs family of Lakeland is solving several children at a time.

Ann and Steve Jacobs have 17 children. 6 are biological and they adopted from three sets of siblings. The others were adopted individually.

"We are just insanely blessed. These are the most amazing children. Beautiful and smart and kind," said Ann Jacobs.

"They don't spend two hours on the bus every day, they spend that with us. We don't have a boat, we don't have a cabin, we don't have all sorts of crazy stuff, we just have kids," said Steve Jacobs.

Ann and Steve started as foster parents until they had a child of their own. That same year, all five of the children they had been caring for needed permanent homes. They couldn't say no and adopted them all.

"Once you have six kids, your old plans kind of shift and you go, what the heck," Ann Jacobs said.

Since then the family has grown and grown and grown. The kids are in school at home.

"I like living here, I have people to depend on," said 15-year-old Jenavae Jacobs.

Jenavae was adopted with her brother and sister.

"I grew up with them most of my life and I think it's important that they're here and it would be different without them," Jenavae Jacobs said.

"Having your siblings with you, being able to connect to somebody and not feel like you are completely adrift in the world, I don't think you can overstate the importance," Ann Jacobs said.

From 20 years old down to five months, 13 of the kids still live at home. Four have grown up and moved out.

"If you love children, and you are a good person who wants so serve those children and meet their needs, you don't have to be perfect, you don't have to have a lot of money, you don't have to be willing to do foster care. You have to show up and say I want to love this child for the rest of my life," Ann Jacobs said.

Nearly half of the children waiting for adoption in Minnesota are siblings who need to be adopted together. There is a great need for teens or adolescents.