MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - If Christmas means family as it does to so many, then three Mid-South brothers– 15-year-old Shunkietrick, 11-year-old Shundarius and 6-year-old Shuntrez said they’ve never had a true Christmas.
“This is the first Christmas we’ve had as a whole family that we’ve ever had before,” Shunkietrick said.
Two years ago, Shunkietrick came to live with Batesville mother of one, Felice Ford. Ford found out Shunkietrick and his brothers and her son have the same biological father.
Shunkietrick said he often slept in cold cars and abandoned homes. Ford took him in after he got in trouble with authorities.
“He was trying to provide for his smaller brothers,” Ford said, ”Do things he shouldn’t do, stealing food.”
Ford took the then 13-year-old in when his parents didn’t.
What she thought was a temporary situation turned permanent this month when not only was Ford’s legal adoption of Shunkietrick made final, so was her adoption of his two younger brothers.
“They feel safe with me, and now I wouldn’t give them up for nobody,” Ford said.
Ford decided to take all three in when she saw how worried Shunkietrick was for his little brothers who were in the custody of Child Protective Services. She said she took a second job to provide for so many more family members and at times, she wasn’t sure if she could do it.
“The 9-year-old said, “Felice, you got to fight for us. You’re all we have, you got to fight,” Ford said.
So, she did.
“It meant a lot to me because I’ve been through a lot in life, and I saw someone still cares,” Shunkietrick said
Now with a family as big as her heart, Ford will spend Christmas celebrating with her four sons.