A full household can often lead to havoc and disarray for busy families, but the exact opposite is true for the Myers, a Kempner family with seven children between the ages of 12 and 19.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Myers house appeared organized and peaceful.
“I’m the oldest of eight kids, so a big family is just normal for me,” Harpin Myers said. “When we had our first two kids, I was happy. It was my wife who pushed for a bigger family.”
And that’s exactly what they got. Going through the foster care system, Harpin and Kristina Myers, who had two children, adopted five more children to complete their family.
“Our house is a home, and we want to offer our kids a home,” Kristina Myers said. “That was the idea behind going through foster care.”
Harpin Myers, a highway patrolman for 33 years, is the public information officer for the local Texas Department of Public Safety office. He said it takes a strong family to understand the demands of his job, but he always puts family first.
“There are times when the job calls me away from home,” he said. “I’ve been here for so long I’ve been called out to so many things, the raid in Waco, the shooting on Fort Hood, the explosion in West. And when I go out there, I have to leave for several days, and that’s hard. I miss my family whenever I’m taken away like that. It’s not a relief to be away from them for me, I miss them.”
Myers is a busy man. In his position, he covers Bell, Coryell, Mills, Milam, San Saba, Hamilton and Lampasas counties.
“Sometimes it’s hard to separate family life from work,” he said. “I see a lot of good and bad in people, and I want my family, my kids to be safe, and I can have a hard time thinking about what I know and what is going on out in the world and letting them go out there.”
When he’s not out patroling the highways, Harpin Myers needs a different kind of car other to fulfill his role as a father of seven.
“I need to paint a car yellow,” he said. “With seven kids, all involved in different activities and sports, my job as a dad is being a taxi driver. Fortunately, as the kids are getting older, we’re getting more drivers. Hopefully by the end of the summer, we’ll have four in the house that can do the taxi job for me.”
Discipline isn’t a problem for the Myers, who say their children know how to behave themselves.
“In fact, when they were younger, we would go out to restaurants and people would see seven small children and roll their eyes, and hope they wouldn’t sit next to them,” Harpin Myers said. “By the end of the evening, people would come up and offer to pay for our meal because our kids were so well behaved. It happened more than once, too.”
Harpin Myers helps keep the family in line by playing his own games, said his daughter Sarah.
“He’s very childish,” she said. “He pulls pranks in the drive through, using weird accents and then confusing them at the window. He’s the fun parent.”
Mom agreed with Sarah. “It’s true, he’s the fun parent,” she said. “I’m OK with that.”
On family trips, the Myers family’s ethnic diversity has turned many heads. With their self-dubbed “rainbow family,” they often are asked if they’re traveling as a school group or a church.
“Yeah, we’re a church,” Harpin replies. “The church of Myers.”