Melanie Colclough thought she and her husband, David, would be playing the waiting game. She had heard that adoptive parents often have to wait a year before they match with a child. However, within three months of submitting their application to adopt, the Colcloughs went from having no children to having four. Through a series of events that Melanie calls “a God thing,” the couple welcomed four, and eventually five, siblings to their family.
The family’s story begins years ago. Melanie and David have known each other since they were 7 years old. They crossed paths again as adults, began dating and got married. Not long after they were married, Melanie found out she was pregnant. However, she experienced a serious pregnancy complication, and they lost their son, Gabriel. “He came and went,” Melanie said. “It made us very sad.”
Still wanting to grow their family, the couple began looking into adoption. Melanie planned to do plenty of research with the hopes of adopting one child. First, she spoke with the mother of a friend from high school. She was the only person Melanie knew who had been through the adoption process. She put Melanie in touch with a social worker with whom she had worked.
Melanie spoke with the social worker, who mistakenly thought Melanie had already submitted her adoption application and paperwork. She told Melanie that there were two sets of twins coming into the system and asked if Melanie was interested. “I was so floored,” Melanie said. “I was thinking, ‘What? Four kids! No!’ ”
Though Melanie wasn’t able to help those children, that phone call had a lasting effect on her. “This was the first time I learned that a lot of kids in foster care tend to be sibling groups. And they try their best to place them together, but a lot of times they can’t,” she said.
Around the same time, Melanie and David were contemplating moving and were looking at homes. They had a few houses on their list that they wanted to see, and their real estate agent told them about another home he wanted to show them. According to Melanie, the home looked beautiful online but was much larger than they needed. However, she felt called to make this house their home. They made an offer, and despite having two higher offers ahead of them, they were under contract on the home that day. It was Sept. 11, 2015.
Despite some hurdles, exactly six months later, the house was officially theirs. The date was March 11, 2016.
That June, the Colcloughs submitted their application to adopt. It wasn’t long before Melanie received a call from their adoption agency. There were four siblings who needed a home. “I don’t even know if I’m a good mom to one,” Melanie thought. But she remembered her conversation with the social worker months earlier.
“We wanted to adopt,” Melanie said. “We only wanted to adopt one. Four is a leap of faith. But there were all these things that had happened in our lives and things that brought us to where we were, including talking to the social worker about four kids.”
It wasn’t an easy decision for the Colcloughs. “We prayed about it a lot. … I had to make sure in my mind that if I said ‘yes,’ it was going to be ‘yes’ forever,” Melanie said.
After meeting the children in person, the Colcloughs said “yes” to forever and brought Sean, Richard, Madison and Mackenzie home. It was Sept. 11, 2016. Exactly six months later, on March 11, 2017, the adoption was finalized and the four siblings officially became Colcloughs.
But the story doesn’t end there.
In 2018, the Colcloughs learned that their children’s biological mother had given birth to another child. The 2-month-old boy was living with a foster family. After a lot of telephone conversations and making a plea for him in court, Luke joined his siblings in January 2019. His adoption was finalized in July.
Life for the Colcloughs has changed dramatically since they grew their family by five. “My husband and I had a perfectly great life,” said Melanie. “We traveled, we ate at fine restaurants. We had a really great time. That was a safe life. That was very safe.”
When the adoption agency called to say there were four siblings who needed a home, and when they found out about Luke years later, Melanie and David turned to their faith to help them make these life-changing decisions. “Do we want five kids? In praying and talking, we decided what better way to live life than to help someone else? What better way to live our lives than to keep these kids together, to let them grow up together and have a safe and happy environment?” Melanie said.
Now, their daily life includes mountains of laundry, much larger grocery bills, and lots of loud noises and conversations. They even had to get a bigger car. Melanie always tries to make sure everyone feels special and is getting plenty of love and attention. She describes their life as “beautiful chaos.”
Through this journey, the Colcloughs were quickly thrust into the world of parenting. “It’s not for the faint of heart, for sure,” Melanie said. “There’s no guarantee that your kids are going to love you, going to do what you say to do, yet you still do it because it’s a greater purpose. You’re pouring into another life.”
Opening their hearts and home to five children was a leap of faith for the Colcloughs, a leap that has changed their lives for the better. “[I thought] I’m going to trust God, and I’m going to be fearless,” Melanie said. “And we haven’t looked back. I can’t imagine my life without any one of them.”