Mike and Hayley Jones planned to adopt one child but heard about seven boys and a girl, aged five to 16, whose father had died and mother couldn’t cope.
Hayley went from being a mum of two to a mum of 10 in the space of a plane journey. The amazing adoption is thought to be the first of its kind in the world and it has turned their lives upside down.
“Not a second goes by when I don’t need to be cleaning, cooking, teaching, washing or just listening,” says Hayley, 31.
After talking about adopting, teacher Hayley discovered one of her students had been adopted by a US family who later set up their own orphanage, The Raining Season, in his Sierra Leone homeland.
“We met up with my student’s mom to find out more. She had a long list of names and when she said she had a group of eight, I laughed.”
But she wasn’t counting on Mike’s reaction. “We were lying in bed and he just came out with it,” she says.
Their sons were excited by the idea, but Hayley’s mother was stunned.
Meanwhile, the couple extended their four-bedroom bungalow after raising £10,000 helped by the local community, which also donated clothes and bunk beds.
Then in March last year, Hayley went to collect the children.
Dan French of the British Association of Adoption and Fostering says: “I’ve never heard anything like this. It would take a very special family to take eight children in one go.”
When it comes to the Jones family, it seems he’s right. As Hayley says: “Our family has tripled in size and happiness.”