From left, Kanyesha, Tamie, Pete, John, Ashley and Tanesha pose in their Logan home Thursday. Kanyesha, Pete and Ashley joined the family as foster children two months ago.
Tamie Russell will have three more children calling her “Mom” this Mother’s Day.
Kanyesha, 14, Ashley, 13 and Pete, 9, joined the Russell family about two months ago as foster children.
Russell will spend this Mother’s Day with them, her adopted daughter Tanesha, her husband John — who returned from a civilian job in Iraq Sunday and goes back in mid- May — and other friends and family.
John delivers military supplies to bases around Iraq. He said the pay and desire to help the U.S. effort keep him going back, coming home to visit periodically.
It was while he was in Iraq that Tamie told him by phone she was bringing three foster children into their home.
“I always tell my wife she’s free to do what she thinks is best,” John said. “I want to be the daddy to these kids. We don’t have to turn on the TV because these kids are our home entertainment center.”
Tamie underwent 12 weeks of training with the New Mexico Children, Youth and Families Department in order to be a foster mom.
Now that the children are part of the family, Tamie said the only difficult part is her husband being away for long stretches.
“It’s hard sometimes to keep up with everything all by myself,” she said, “with baseball practice, softball practice and all that.”
But Tamie has experience with large families. She grew up in a family of nine children.
“For Mother’s Day we’ll have about ten to 15 people here,” she said. “For Easter we had 12 kids here riding horses. “
Kanyesha, Ashley and Pete said they have been welcomed into the Russell family and the town of Logan, regardless of skin color differences.
“The first day we got in town, everybody talked to us like we were their long lost friends,” Ashley said. “I talked to everybody and I have lots of friends at school.”
Kanyesha said her new family shows deep concern for her.
“They laugh at my jokes and they make me feel special,” she said. “When I’m feeling down they look into my eyes and ask me what’s going on or they just make me laugh.”
Ashley and Kanyesha said their new mom lets them play their music loud and dance. All the children get to ride horses on the Russell property. And young Pete gets to feed the horses.
“We had a snowball fight the first day here and I play cowboys with Tanesha,” he said.
Tanesha, Kanyesha and Ashley said there is never a dull moment in their home.
Tamie loves it.
“I love kids, the hugs and the smiles. The little things make me happy. It keeps me young,” she said.
The children said they are getting their new mom presents for Mother’s Day. Kanyesha made a blanket and pillow for her already.
Tamie said she knows this may be the only Mother’s Day she gets to share with Kanyesha, Ashley and Pete. She is prepared for the day, if it comes, when CYFD officials say it’s okay for them to return to their biological family.
“As long as they were returned to a good situation, I’d be fine with that,” she said.
For now the Russell home is full of children. Not just the four that live there, but their friends come over to be with the family, and Kanyesha said for the food.
“She’s the best cook in town,” Kanyesha said about her new mom.