Updated: Saturday, 26 Dec 2009, 1:17 PM MST
Published : Saturday, 26 Dec 2009, 1:17 PM MST
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - The sound of Christmas joy echoed through a small Albuquerque home Friday where an already big family recently grew by two fold.
“Last Christmas, there were six of us,” said Eddie Ebel, the father of four of the children. “This Christmas there's 12 of us.”
“We've grown,” added Eddie’s wife Denise. “And it’s a lot more crowded.”
Last month the Ebels adopted six nieces and nephews from Denise's sister who was struggling to care for them.
“This was our opportunity to step forward and help the kids,” Ebel said.
That opportunity is also a challenge as the two parents find themselves caring for 10 kids between the ages of 2 and 12 in their cramped quarters.
Eddie said he knew he'd have his hands full when he made lunch for the gang last month.
“That first week, I made lunch for everybody and went through three loaves of bread for lunch and for me,” he recalled. “I went, 'Three loaves for one meal? What?'"
“There’s more laundry,” Denise added.
“Its no little quick jaunt to the store with 12,” Eddie said. “It's a whole process to get everyone their shoes, jackets, all the way off to the car in their seatbelts, in their booster chairs and all.”
It's not just their big hearts that led to the Ebels taking on the challenge of so many children while living in such a small house.
“I was a street orphan for the first five years of my life,” Eddie said recalling his early years on the streets of Saigon.
He's the son a Vietnamese woman and an unknown American soldier. An American family adopted Eddie after he was airlifted out of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War.
“I'm glad that the Ebels adopted me, and gave me a chance,” he said. “So if I can help other kids out, there's just no way to say no.”
But the Ebels couldn't pull off the feat of raising 10 without the help of friends and neighbors. They've donated food, beds and even the presents the Ebel family opened and played with on Christmas morning.
“We just opened up our hearts, focusing on the kids, and the blessings just keep coming in," Eddie said. "That to me is amazing.”
The Ebels will have another major change next year. Their current four-bedroom home is too small, and they will soon be looking for a larger one.