(WSVN) - When hard times come, sometimes families fall apart. And when children are involved, it makes things even more difficult. But one South Florida family was determined to stay together under trying circumstances. 7’s Rebecca Vargas has more on some very special “Family Ties.”
Everything Marcella Cruz makes these days is extra large.
Marcella Cruz: “This is an afternoon snack when they get out of school.”
It’s chicken tenders and fries for her eight nieces and nephews who now live with her, her fiancé Max and their own two children.
Marcella Cruz: “I would do anything I have to do to make sure that they can stay with me. I love these kids to the bottom of my heart. I don’t want anything to happen to them.”
It all started two years ago, when her sister lost custody of her kids because of a drug problem. The children’s father was dead, so Marcella and her mother Traci Cruz worked to keep the kids together.
Marcella Cruz: “We dealt with [the Florida Department of Children and Families], back and forth, back and forth, my mom fighting to be able to keep all the kids together. In March 2017, we adopted all eight children.”
At the time, it was the biggest single family adoption in Florida history. The kids, ages 6 to 17, enjoyed life with their grandparents.
Joshua McCarty, age 15: “My grandma would cook every single day. We’d have a whole meal. Everyone would be good.”
But then last month, 55-year old Traci had a heart attack, developed pneumonia and died. Their grandfather is in ill health, so Marcella stepped up.
Marcella Cruz: “As of right now, we’re the backup caregivers. Now that my mom did pass away, next is to have them become ours.”
The kids are doing well, bringing home good school progress reports.
Marcella Cruz: “So proud of them.”
Max Murry: “This requires ice cream.”
Adapting once again to life’s curveballs.
Jessica Murry, age 13: “I always know somebody’s going to be there. It’s comforting. We just make the best of it because we’ve been doing that all our lives.”
Having 10 kids in the two-bedroom, two-bathroom apartment is hectic. Several of the kids sleep on inflatable mattresses.
Marcella Cruz: “This is the queen, and then there’s two twins that are sitting on top of here.”
During the day, the mattresses are rolled up, and the bedroom becomes the playroom.
Organization is key.
Marcella Cruz: “So we have a uniform drawer. We have Olivia, Jared, Jessenia. Joshua, he has two drawers, and hen we have Jayden and Madison. Jacob and June are in the closet.”
The family would love a bigger house and a bigger car, but for now, they’re concentrating on their new life together.
Marcella Cruz: “They mean everything to me. They meant everything to my mother, and I will do whatever I need to do to make sure we are family.”
For them, family ties are the most important thing of all.
Marcella’s friends have started a go fund me site to help them out financially.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
GoFundMe page for the Cruz/Murry family
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