Couple who took in 5 grandchildren after daughter's death looking to expand home

Posted at 11:46 AM, Nov 01, 2020

When a couple in Dearborn Heights lost their daughter more than three years ago, they took in their five grandchildren. The youngest was only an infant.

There have been many challenges when it comes to adjusting to this change and that includes living space. The one couple went from being a family of two to a family of seven, after their daughter died shortly after giving birth.

“Takes a village to raise a child, it sure does. I tell you,” said Tom Wencel, whose life turned upside more than three years ago when his daughter Jamie died of heart complications.

He quickly took his grandchildren from ages 5 months to 9 years.

“I just love these children," Tom said. "I wouldn’t give them up for anything. Well, I would give them up to have my daughter Jamie back. But that’s about it.”


After three years of going through the adoption process, the kids are finally legally his and his wife’s.

But now they are facing another issue. Their two bedroom, two bath ranch is not big enough and they are ready to rip through the roof, literally!

They have home renovating plans in place but need help to keep things at lower costs.

“I tell people ‘hold your fingers like this, as close as you can without touching and that’s as far we are above water," Tom said. "But we are above water. We are not behind on anything. The kids have everything they need.”

They’ve gotten support from organizations like United Way, contractors and folks from community and their church. Tom is a retired plaster so he knows a thing or two about renovating.

With a little more help, he’s looking to a positive future.

“Everybody is going to live happily ever after,” he said.

There are plans in place to start ripping the roof off on Nov. 4.

If you’re a carpenter or have access to materials, they would love to hear from you.

Make a donation and get more information at: