The Muery Family: Ministry of Parenting
November 2023 marked more than just National Adoption Month for Kevin and Debbie Muery – they adopted for the last time, adding two girls to their family. As biological, adoptive, and foster parents, they have parented more than 85 children, including 13 adopted children. “We never intended to make our family this size,” Debbie says. “If you would have told me this when we started, I would have laughed.”
A 30-Year Journey
After the Muerys decided to stop having children of their own more than 30 years ago, they decided to go down the path of foster parenting after hearing of a neighbor who was fostering children. They cared for their first foster child for 11 months before she was reunited with her birth family. “There was this huge void after she left,” said Debbie. “We made it through the holidays, but we told Arms Wide afterward we really wanted to adopt.”
At the time, foster parents had to wait another six months to be matched with another child. As soon as the six months passed, the Muerys would pick up the phone and call Arms Wide. Their children ranged from newborn babies to older children who had been in the Texas foster care system for most of their lives. Due to their circumstances, many of them had special medical, mental and behavioral challenges the Muerys quickly became equipped to address, as Kevin already worked as a first responder. They describe spending weeks at a time at Texas Childrens Hospital to help these children receive necessary care.
A Community Effort
As challenging as these times were, the joy of fostering and adopting these children eclipsed any challenges. “My kids love it,” says Debbie. “It’s the happiest day for them to get the phone call for another kid, and the worst day when the kid has to leave. No one’s ever said they felt slighted. They just know this is what Mom does.”
Welcoming another child into their home became not just a family effort, but a community one as well. Friends, neighbors and church members would reach out to support this ever-growing family. When they heard that the Muery family was matched with another child, Debbie and Kevin often came home to diapers and other supplies on their doorstep.
The Muery Legacy
As these children grew up and left home, they went on to make a great impact on their community. Within the Muery family is now a marine, firefighter, salesman, schoolteacher, professor, musician, entrepreneur, engineer, travel agent, and nurse across Texas and beyond. But after more than three decades of serving as adoptive and foster parents, Kevin and Debbie have decided it’s time to close this chapter of their lives. Although they have finished adopting, the Muerys still intend to stay involved as they raise their final children. “If you can’t foster, get involved in other ways, like fundraising and volunteering,” says Debbie. “It’s an incredibly rewarding ministry, and it will change your life.”
The Muerys also intend to mentor those interested in fostering and adopting children, and offered this advice: “If you’re single, be sure you have a support system. If you have a spouse, make sure you support each other. Like for any parent, there will be sleepless nights and there will be tears. Reach out to others who have gone through this experience.”
“It’s an incredibly rewarding ministry, and it will change your life.”