LAKELAND, Fla. – Kobe Ellis leaps high in the air, and holding his legs and arms close together, completes a perfect cannonball in his family’s swimming pool. The large splash is followed by screams of delight by his three younger brothers.
Kobe is clearly enjoying his new adoptive home with the Ellis family. When his adoption was finalized in 2008 he instantly became the oldest to three younger brothers, which include Cooper (age 5), Coleman (age 9), and Conner (age 11). Kobe turned 14 last December.
Kobe was cared for by the Florida Baptist Children’s Homes for five years before being adopted by Kenny and Jenny Ellis who reside in Lakeland.
The Ellis family became acquainted with Kobe through basketball where Kenny coached Kobe’s team. “I thought very highly of Kobe. He was always very polite and was sort of the star of our team. I was surprised when I learned that he had no parents and was available for adoption,” Kenny said.
“My wife and I had never considered adoption, but God put it on our heart and we just kept talking about it and praying about. Little did we know that many people were praying for us as well. Today, Kobe is part of our family.”
Kobe was six years old when he came to the Children’s Homes. His father was gone and his mother was addicted to drugs. She was never able to turn her life around, and as a result her parental rights were eventually terminated.
Kobe describes a warm and caring atmosphere when he was at the Children’s Homes. He came to know Christ at the Children’s Homes and was baptized at Lakeside Baptist Church in Lakeland.