MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - What makes a family special? Teamwork? Individual growth? Family involvement? Those are some of the qualities the Family Guidance Center of Alabama had to consider when choosing this year's Families of the Year nominees. Six family's received the honor and you will meet this all. We start with the Portis Family, where we learn, a family can come in all colors of the rainbow.
The Portis family gives new meaning to the word big. Including mom and dad this is a family of nine. Four of the children are adopted.
"If you had told me this was my family portrait I would have told you, you were crazy."
Joy Portis' family portrait began when she adopted her husband's daughter Sarah Kathryn. Sarah Kathryn's mother passed away and her father married Joy. Cole Portis told us he and Joy talked about adoption in general before they got married.
Cole and Joy have two biological children but they wanted more. They looked overseas to China and their first adopted child was Samuel. Zoe and Emma are from Ethiopia. Eli is from Tennessee.
Cole said "Once you've done it once the third or fourth time makes it, not very difficult and there are so many children out there in need and you may think you're giving a blessing in a child but really it's the child who is blessing you."
Although the adoption process became easier for the Portis family the decision to adopt didn't happen overnight for them. Both Cole and Joy say it came with a lot of prayer. To calm her frustrations, Joy said she looked to the bible for answers.
"As we were going through the process with Samuel I would get a little frustrated and I would find scripture after scripture about God's heart for the orphan and caring for them and being their defender...and I was like I'd been in church all my life and I'd never heard this."
Today, the Portis family lives a daily message. They want to show others being a family is about how much love you can share.