Leah Spring doesn’t seem to think what she’s doing is extraordinary.
Between 2010 and 2015, the Minnesota mom has adopted five children who have Down syndrome. Axel, Abel, Audrey, Asher and Amos range in age from 14 to 18 years old.
Together with her partner Dean, the pair have 12 children, including Spring’s biological daughter, 22-year-old Angela, who also has Down syndrome.
"I think I am a whole lot more patient than I used to be. I thought I was a patient person and I didn't even know what patience was," Spring told Inside Edition.com.
"Now I know."
Their journey began about 10 years ago, when a friend of Spring’s said she was going to Serbia and Bulgaria to pick up the children she'd adopted.
Spring went along to help. After witnessing what she called extremely poor living conditions, Spring decided to adopt children there too and pointed to her daughter Angela as her inspiration.
“I kept imagining her living in those conditions and thinking I don’t even get it," Spring said. "How does that happen? How does that happen today?”
And through it all, Spring found the strength to push onward when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 and beat it. After all, she's a fighter — and a former armor specialist in the Army.
"We're just parents," Spring said. "We get to watch some really cool stuff. We get to watch kids who have never seen a refrigerator full of food make that discovery and we watch a kid who's been starved for communication realize if they ask for something, that they need like food, they get it."
As for others considering adoption, Spring said to make sure your heart is truly in it.
“It's rewarding, but people should never go into adoption for themselves," she said. "Because it's not a selfish thing. It's not about, 'I wanna feel good about myself so I wanna adopt.' That's the wrong reason to do it.
"You go into adoption because there's a kid who needs a family. If you have the space, if you have the time, if you have the availability, if you have the resources, that's when you do it."