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This couple has 8 children and a clear guiding principle for a happy marriage

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Ingram family

treyingram | Instagram

Tina Martinec Selan - published on 12/27/22

The Ingrams aren't shy about sharing the joy they have found in their large family.

Trey and Kelli Ingram are an American couple known on Instagram for their heartfelt, committed and Jesus-focused parenting. They home-school their school-age children at their home in North Carolina. When they married, they were initially unable to have children for several years, and were even told that it was possible they may never be able to have them.

But after years of trying, the Ingrams were blessed with many children. Just as they were deciding between going down the route of medical help to conceive or beginning the process of adoption, Kelli became pregnant.

Their first daughter (Lael) was followed by a second (Ruthie) and then a third (Salem). Since the desire to adopt had been burning inside them since before they had children, they decided to welcome a child who did not have biological parents to care for them.

As students, they had volunteered in Romania helping take care of orphans and this experience is etched in their memories forever.

“It was the most heartbreaking, excruciatingly painful thing we’ve ever witnessed in our lives, and leaving those babies there, lying lifeless with blank stares in their cribs is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I knew they were all in need of love, affection, and attachment, and I wanted to just stay there, hold them, and never let go,” Terri told Love What Matters.

So, after having their first three daughters, they adopted a girl (Faith) into their family, and then another (Eden). First they were their foster parents, and later they obtained a court decision to adopt them. 

As a lawyer, Trey is very active in adoption legislation and foster care. He started getting involved in this aspect after he and Kelli had a foster child they wanted to adopt taken away from them, despite the child’s mother designating them as the adoptive parents she wanted for her child.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Kelli Ingram • large family mama • help & humor (@kelliingram)

Soon, Shepherd, a boy, was born – the only brother of seven siblings so far – followed by two girls, Ever and Olive.

The decision to homeschool

Kelli told The Epoch Times that she felt she might not be able to bond with her children as much as she wanted to if they were away all day. “I love being in charge of what they’re learning, I love being able to talk with them about God and our faith, and weaving that into everything we do,” Kelli told reporter Louise Chambers. “I want to set them up well while they’re young with a firm foundation, so that one day, when they’re much more mature, they’ll be able to navigate the world wisely.”

To make it a little easier for Kelli to homeschool the older four, the three younger children are at preschool in the mornings, while her youngest baby Olive is still at home with her.

After so many years of waiting and grace, the couple says they love each other as they did on the first day. And their recipe for a happy marriage may come as a surprise:

“My relationship with my husband always comes before my relationship with my children, and he would say the same thing about me,” Kelli told reporter Martha Cliff of The Sun. “Of course we have to meet the needs of our children, but he’s always going to bat for me.”

What’s the biggest challenge?

The mother of eight admits that two things are the most challenging: keeping the home as clean and tidy as possible and having a large enough stock of food in the fridge and pantry. For the latter, she explains to Chambers, they help themselves by ordering groceries online and having them delivered to their home. Kelli cooks dinner for the whole family practically every day.

Kelli is also a wise mother who knows that help is welcome in a family this big and has no qualms about it. Twice a month, a cleaning service comes to thoroughly clean their home.

But if she has to run errands, she hires a babysitter for a few hours. This kind of help is a great comfort and makes her life easier because, as she says, there’s always someone in their home who needs her in one way or another.

That is why she is constantly turning to God and also mentions her faith often in her Instagram publications. “I need Him to sustain me, give me energy, give me patience, and give me grace when I mess up,” she told The Epoch Times. “He has been very merciful to me in giving me more children than I could’ve ever imagined!”

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