Skip to main content


“Babies Make 5,” An Inspiring Story by Sheri Nadelman

| Angela Naff |

On a recent Saturday evening at the popular Waterside Place in Lakewood Ranch, the summer heat did not deter the many folks who gathered at the plaza to enjoy one of my solo performances. In the crowd were my daughter Ilana (“Aunt Lala”) and some of her friends including Katy, her husband David, their parents, and their three little kids, all of whom were adorable in matching tee shirts. It was puzzling to see them since Katy had made it a point of saying that she would be out of town and unable to come.

We found out later that it was part of an elaborate scheme that was concocted in order to surprise us.

They shouted to me to read the words emblazoned on their toddler’s shirt which simply read “It’s Official”. They caught me off guard, yet I knew what that meant. You see, after a very challenging two years of dealing with a foster care system that has been riddled with all sorts of issues, two-year-old “J” was finally officially adopted. In that emotionally charged moment, I scooped him up into my arms and brought him up on stage. Choking back tears (mine, not his), I shared the news with the crowd as they cheered amidst tears (theirs, not his).

Truth be told, little J really loved being the center of attention and on stage as much as I do! Therefore, to Katy, I offer my sincere apologies, as I realize I may have contributed to your future as a stage mom.

I have known Katy and her family since Katy became Ilana’s very first friend in the third grade when we moved to East Manatee County. The girls have forged a lifelong friendship that is to be envied. They are closer than most sisters.


I talked candidly with Katy about her unique journey into motherhood. As a high school student, she was inspired by her youth pastor who was a foster parent. She was so moved by the idea of a child having nowhere to live, that she made a promise to herself that no matter what lied ahead, that she would have a home that would include both biological and foster children. She kept that promise when she met and married David who shared the same desires. When the couple tried unsuccessfully to start a family naturally, it became clear that they would fast-track their road to fostering.

The couple went through the required foster parenting certification classes knowing that the path from fostering to adoption is a process that is not for the faint of heart. Ilana’s experience as a former child welfare Case Manager was extremely helpful to her friends as they navigated their way through the many challenges they faced. There can be incredible joys followed by deep heartache and vice versa as they soon found out.

About a half a dozen children ranging in ages from infant to 4 years old came in and out of Katy’s and David’s lives. Each was a temporary situation until days old infant Z arrived and changed their lives forever.


It is noteworthy to mention that it is never easy for the birth parents to relinquish parental rights. At the end of the day, it takes a village, with everyone involved ultimately having the child’s best interests at heart. It’s always about the children.

Suffice it to say, it was a tumultuous two years until they were able to close the adoption of Z.

Right around this time, Katy, David and Z were ready to grow their family. Wanting a more stable situation than the emotional and drama riddled experience they had just gone through, they decided to go forward with a private adoption. They matched perfectly with a wonderful birth mom, and they anxiously awaited the birth of their daughter.

Just one month later, out of the blue, they got a phone call from the child welfare agency explaining they were needed a foster family, as they were just made aware that a “client” had given birth. That baby was the biological brother of Z.

Without hesitation, but a bit bewildered, they absolutely agreed. So, in the height of the lockdown during the pandemic, facing a new slew of challenges they weren’t prepared for, they welcomed baby J into their home. They all fell in love with this surprise bundle of pure joy.

A very short four months later, the boys were joined by their sister, “P” and they became a family of five! Life with a toddler and two infants born months apart was not quite what they planned. With the help of their tribe including Aunt Lala and their incredibly supportive parents, the couple became real life superstar parents – akin to Chrissie Teagan and John Legend who have a similar circumstance with babies born months apart (Google that story).

Foster Babies

I needed to take advantage of the moment, so I grabbed my microphone and proceeded to sing “We Are Family” as everyone danced along in celebration. As I watched family, friends and strangers clapping and singing along, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of enormous pride and gratitude. Being an entertainer sometimes allows me to share in the joy while having the privilege of making the most special memories. Maybe one day J will be on a stage doing the same thing!

Despite the chaotic way in which their family developed, they are the epitome of a happy family. They are proof that there are selfless, good people in the world willing to go to great lengths to help those who need it most – children.

Sheri Nadelman Photos

Skip to content