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Mom' to many

For more than 12 years Mary and Bobby Lee Hudgins Sr. and their four children have called their North Syracuse residence home. But for more than 17 years, 26-plus children have called the Hudgins "mom and dad."

The Hudgins have always had a lot of love and care to give even after they had their first son Keith, 40, and their triplets Bobby Lee, Kenneth Lee and Calvin Lee, now 34 years old.

Even though Mother's Day passed almost two weeks ago, the Hudgins dining room table is still covered in cards, flowers, gifts and balloons given to Mary by the numerous children that still call her "mom."

"I'm still celebrating," she said.

As she remembered her own childhood growing up in a family of seven children, she had only her father with her life. Although she didn't have a mother figure, there was neighbor named Miss Clara, who she still thinks of as a mother.

"Miss Clara had one child that she adopted, but no other children," Hudgins said. "But she looked out for other kids in the neighborhood."

Like Miss Clara, Hudgins said she truly believes that her upbringing has made her into the loving woman she is today.

"It's like the parallel to where I am today," she said of Miss Clara's presence in her life. "She taught me many things, but most importantly, she taught me about the Lord."

Firmly believing in Christianity, the Hudgins family attends New Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Syracuse with several family members and two foster children that are in their care presently.

Because of their faith, the Hudgins never lost hope in one foster child in particular, Allen. Although each foster child is different and most have different needs that parents need to attend to, Hudgins said she couldn't believe the things that one of their foster children went through.

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