Once abused, 5 siblings adopted together

Anjuli Davis reports

- Five of eight children taken from a Sulpher Springs home after suffering horrible abuse, allegedly at the hands of their mother, got their happily ever after Tuesday when they were adopted by a family in Utah.

The children's story actually goes back almost 20 years, when three of their older half-siblings were adopted by the same family.

Fast-forward to March 2014, when one of those adopted children - now an adult - called his mother, Jennifer Gossard with some disturbing news. 

"It was my oldest son, Casey, who called and said, 'Mom.' Actually, he couldn't even speak. He said, 'I need you to look on the internet under Jamie's name in Florida," Jennifer said Tuesday.

He was talking about his biological mother, Jamie Hicks, who was arrested and charged with routinely abusing, starving, and isolating eight of her children inside a Sulphur Springs home.

"Because of our first adopted children, they're their family. So to us, they're family. And you take care of family," Jennifer said.

And that's just what they did. In June of 2014, Jennifer and husband, Greg brought the eight children - their three adopted children's half-siblings - home with them to Utah until they could formally adopt the bunch.

Since then, three of the eight have turned 18, but on Tuesday, the younger five legally became Gossards. 

It was all smiles inside a Hillsborough County courtroom Tuesday morning, as the five siblings appeared before a judge, via Skype, to accept their adoption. The three who have since become adults were foster children of the Gossards and say they are staying in Utah to be close to their siblings and their new parents.

Now, there are 15 children - young and grown - who call Jennifer and Greg, "mom" and "dad."

Did we mention the Gossards have four biological children of their own?  

That's a total of seven children currently living under the Gossards' roof; two biological children and the newly-adopted five.

"It is busy and loud! Just trying to get to all the homework, and all the practices, and all the church activities," Jennifer laughed.

She says she wouldn't have it any other way. Jennifer grew up in the foster care system herself. She and husband, Greg said they knew they had to do something after hearing the details of abuse suffered by the five. 

"They are just so excited today to be, and it sounds sad, but to be free. That's the truth. They feel so happy to be free. To be able to be connected to us, but free from the past," Jennifer said.

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