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Eight is (not) enough

First there was one, then there were two and then – there were eight, but Chris and Tina Morrow wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Morrows, who are members of Oak Grove Baptist Church, have opened their hearts and their home to children in need. Now, it’s their dream to accomplish that mission on a much bigger scale.

“I have it in my heart to open a children’s home,” said Chris. “I feel like the Lord is calling to me to do it. I know that He will find a way to make it happen. Everyone looks at us, this family, and thinks we’re crazy.

“But that’s the farthest from the truth,” he said.

To understand that reasoning, one must realize that in addition to the couple, there are eight children ranging in age from 8 to 18 in the Morrow home.

Some come from homes where drug and alcohol use was prevalent. Some come from homes where parents are in jail. Some come for no other reason than because “this house is better than mine.”

The couple’s biological children – Korey Schmidt, 12; Melony, 8; Tyler, 13; Dylan, 15; and Matthew, 18 – have accepted their “brothers” with welcome arms.

Tina described their journey as one brought on by “circumstance.”

“Circumstances led them here, but love keeps them here,” she said. “We couldn’t turn them away. This is their home.”

Perhaps it’s best explained by 17-year-old Justin Phillips, Jonathan Smith, 13; and 15-year-old T.J. Smith.

Phillips has lived with the Morrows for two and a half years.

“My mom is in Oklahoma; my dad is in jail,” he said. “This is my home.”

“I was living in a ragged out trailer, going back and forth,” said Smith. “It was never stable. My dad’s locked up. It’s a lot better here. I get fed when I need it. I have a place to put my head at night. I didn’t have that before.”

Each child is a student at Straughn and an active member the family’s church.

“It’s Wednesday night church and Bible study,” said Phillips. “I love each one of my brothers and I am so thankful for this family.”

It’s that kind of love and devotion the Morrows hope to one day be able to provide for needy children in Covington County.

“There are a lot of situations that this kind of environment would work in,” said Chris. “You’ve got parents who need to go to rehab and get help but don’t want to put their kids in foster care. This is the place to find the heart and a home. I’d love to have a facility where we could house 25 kids and have the means to provide for them.”

Now, the family is looking to God to provide for both their immediate and long-term dream. The family grows their own vegetables on a their 3.5-acre farm; hunts for venison and makes the most of every penny.

“We just look to Him to provide,” said Chris. “We feel like we have a calling, and He’s going to give us all we need to make things work.”

Chris and Tina Morrow opened their home and hearts to three additional children other than their own five. Shown in no particular order are: Korey Schmidt, 12; Melony Morrow, 8; Tyler Morrow, 13; Dylan Morrow, 15; Matthew Morrow , 18; Justin Phillips,17 Jonathan Smith,13; and T.J. Smith, 15. | Stephanie Nelson/Star-News