This is a story of faith, patience, endurance, and love. It is the story of a foster child named Brittany who longed to find someone to fight for her and her five siblings, and Alo and Ashley Moli, a childless couple who wanted a big family. In God’s time, Brittany and the Molis would discover that God had a plan for them.
Brittany lived with her verbally abusive biological parents for the first 16 years of her life. From the time that she was 12, she was the caregiver for her five siblings – Michael, Nick, Briana, J.T., and Ty. The song of her heart was that God would hear her desperate cries and help. No matter how hard she tried, she was never able to feel any type of connection with her parents.
In an LDS Living podcast, Brittany said, “I always felt like I wasn’t really loved by them. It was tough to talk to them. I always kept my distance, but I always wanted to be approved by them, so I always tried so hard in school to impress them and get good grades, but it just never was enough.” Eventually, in March 2013, Brittany and her five siblings ended up in foster care and went to live at the Christmas Box House in Salt Lake City, Utah.
While living at the Christmas Box House, Brittany decided to turn to God for help. Although she and her siblings were members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Brittany said that they never attended Church or did anything that was gospel-related. She said, “I decided to turn to God to see if He was real because I had my doubts. I remember praying non-stop . . . reading some Ensign [magazines,] writing in my journals, trying to gain that light in my life. I was just praying that I and my siblings would stay together, that Heavenly Father would guide us to a loving family. I was just praying that He would hear my cries and He would listen.”
All the while, Alo and Ashley Moli were enduring trials of their own. The couple envisioned that one day they would have a large family. However, after multiple hospital visits, they were told that they may never have children of their own. Feeling helpless, In a post on Twitter, Alo wrote, “My heart pleaded to God and asked Him that if it were in the cards, to just bless us with one child. There were nights where I felt completely hopeless. . .. I would hear my wife cry herself to sleep thinking that this was somehow her fault. No matter what I said, she would always apologize: ‘Alo, I’m so sorry I can’t have kids. I’m sorry that I can’t give you what we wanted. I’m just sorry for everything.’ There was nothing I could do or say to convince this wonderful woman that this wasn’t her fault.”
In the LDS Living podcast, he said, “Just saying ‘everything would be okay’ wasn’t enough. Do I give another blessing? Do we pay more tithing? Do we give more generous offerings? During that time our faith was shaken a little bit. No, it was shaken a lot. You don’t have a plan for something like that, not having children and then seeing if God is hearing your prayers. . .. Sometimes [you] wonder if He is even listening.”
The couple had discussed the possibility of adoption, but it was always something that they thought about for the future, after they had biological children of their own. As the infertility treatments continued to prove unsuccessful, Ashley approached Alo with the idea of adopting, stating that there were children who needed them “more than ours do right now.” Alo was unsure of his ability to become an immediate father and was against the idea at first. However, the couple decided to make it a matter of prayer and attend the temple. Soon they had confirmation that adoption was the right decision.
A week after receiving an answer to their prayers, Alo received a call from his brother. His brother worked for a foster placement agency and told Alo about three kids that needed a home. The Molis soon learned that the three kids needing homes were part of a family of six children, all of whom needed homes. Having been raised in a family of 13 children, Ashley wanted to adopt all six children. She said, “There’s no way that I could be comfortable and not have anxiety having my little brothers and sisters go somewhere where I couldn’t watch them. I knew that Brittany was the caregiver and she was the one taking care of the little ones. . .. I said, ‘We either take them all or we don’t take any. I can’t make that decision to split a family up like that.’”
Brittany’s prayers had been answered and she was reassured that Heavenly Father does hear and answer our prayers. On 30 March 2015, two years after the six siblings had entered foster care, they moved into the Moli home.
The transition was not easy and proved to be overwhelming at times. Alo and Ashley were not told the extent of the special needs of four of the children who have cognitive disabilities. For example, for the first 10 months, if the youngest child was awake, he was screaming. Learning how to handle each child was a process and a test of their faith.
The transition was not easy for Brittany either as she had to switch roles from being a caregiver to be a teenager for the first time in her life. She made a few mistakes along the way trying to fit in with the right group of friends and worried that Alo and Ashley would give up on her, but they reassured her that they would always be in her corner and help her get through any challenges that she faced. For the first time in her life, she had someone who was willing to believe in her and fight for her and she did not want that to end. She said, “I just wanted them to be my forever parents.”
On 3 April 2018, the Moli family became an official family of eight. The six siblings took on Alo’s last name, officially becoming Molis, and changed their given names by incorporating names from Ashley’s side of the family and Tongan names after Alo’s immediate family. More than 100 people were there to support them. Each of the children were asked by the judge if they wanted to be adopted by Alo and Ashley and when it became Brittany’s turn to answer, she said, “You know what, Judge, I’ve been waiting for this for three years.” She calls it the happiest day of her life, for on that day she forever became a Moli.
Ashley further commented, “If I didn’t trust in His timing and I didn’t stay faithful, I could have lost out on the opportunity to have these babies. They might not be mine. Definitely trust in His timing because He knows way more than [we] do.” And Alo said, “Knowing that there was a foster child praying the same time . . . praying for a family that would give her the same love that we wanted to give a child and to know that God, that His hand was in that all the way was extremely humbling. You can’t tell me there isn’t a God that . . . isn’t aware and has it all mapped out for us.”