Gatlin's Growing Family

Growing up, Gatlin Green loved being around her older brother, Cooper. They acted in commercials together, started their own singing duo called “Cooper and Gatlin” and had a great brother/sister bond. Plus, both played characters on Adventures in Odyssey, with Gatlin being best known for her role as Priscilla Peterson.

But Gatlin felt something was missing from her family.

“My parents were always saying they wanted to adopt if they could,” Gatlin says. “So a few years ago, I walked up to my mom and said, ‘Mom, I want little siblings. We should adopt.’ ”

Gatlin’s request coincided perfectly with what her parents were already thinking. (God has a way of working those things out.)

Her family started looking for children in Vietnam who needed forever homes. Gatlin’s cousins were missionaries in Vietnam—now they’re in Thailand—so they knew plenty of children were in need. However, things didn’t work out with the adoption agency.

Several months later, Gatlin’s mom, Wendi, saw a list of children waiting to be adopted from Russia. One little boy caught her eye, so she shared his photo and story with the rest of the family. Everybody fell in love, so they started the adoption process. But two weeks before the Greens were going to fly to Russia to meet him for the first time, the little boy was pulled out of the system.

“I cried when that fell through,” Gatlin says. “That was really sad.”

Gatlin and her family kept their hearts open to God’s leading, and a short time later Wendi was talking to one of her friends who was adopting children from Ethiopia. The woman went to a website to show Wendi a picture. As she was scrolling down a list, Gatlin’s mom saw a photo of twins.

“Wait, wait, wait,” Wendi said. “Who are they?”

They looked at the twins and saw they were waiting to be adopted. Wendi went home and talked with Gatlin. They knew Gatlin’s dad, Brian, was open to adding one child to the family, but probably not two. Then when Wendi went back to look at the siblings, she discovered that the photo of an older sibling had been added—now there were three!

Gatlin and her mom started praying. At first, her dad and brother hesitated, but soon everybody was equally excited about adding three beautiful children to the family.

They met the kids for the first time during Christmas of 2010. Just a couple of months later, the Greens flew back to Ethiopia and brought their children home to Tennessee.

“We just love them,” Gatlin says. “It’s like we’ve been with them our whole life. It’s just amazing. They are so sweet.”

The twins, Caleb and Callie, are 8. Their older sister Bennett is 11.

“It’s crazy having little kids now,” Gatlin says. “And Bennett is just like me when I was her age.

“When she first got here she told me, ‘You know, I want to be famous. . . . But not till next year.’ She’s so cute. They’re all great.”

Of course, a bigger family means changes for Gatlin as well. In past years, Gatlin and her mom would spend a couple months at a time in Hollywood. Now she’s only able to stay for a week during her twice-a-year trips.

All the sacrifices are worth it. She loves watching her young sisters and brother perform in front of the fireplace. (Something they’ll do for total strangers.) And she enjoys being at home . . . with her growing family.

Copyright © 2012 by Focus on the Family. Used by permission. Clubhousemagazine.com. Photo by Gaylon Wampler.