Dr. Pamela McCarter just wanted to be a mom.
“I lost a couple of pregnancies,” said McCarter, 60, of Springettsbury Township. “I thought I would give birth and then adopt, but I had to skip the first part and I started adopting.”
McCarter, who is married to Dr. Guy Moscato, is now a mother of 13 adopted children. Seven of them are grown, between ages 21 and 33, said McCarter. Both she and her husband are pediatricians.
The remaining six children — from ages 15 to 18 — are going to the homecoming dance Saturday at Central York High School in Springettsbury Township. The event is from 7 to 10:30 p.m., according to the school's website at www.cysd.k12.pa.us.
“I'm so grateful I adopted,” McCarter said. “They're typical kids. They have good things and bad things. They fight, their rooms are a mess, they're good students and they're good kids.”
Homecoming: The six children, who carry the Moscato surname, are getting ready for the homecoming dance, McCarter said. They are Maddy, 17, a senior; Khuyen, 18, a junior; sophomores Matthew and May, both 15, and Luke, 16, who attends the York County School of Technology; and 15-year-old freshman Kyrcho, who is from Bulgaria.
The other five children are from Vietnam, McCarter said.
The days leading up to homecoming have been quite busy, she said. The family went dress shopping for the girls — Maddy, Khuyen and May, and picked out suits and ties for the boys — Luke, Matthew and Kyrcho.
“Hectic is too kind of a word,” McCarter said. “I have my work cut out for me.”
Both Maddy and May said going to homecoming together will be fun, exciting and a unique family experience they won't forget. The girls also said their mother is amazing and they're thankful for her decision to adopt.
“I think she's great,” Maddy said. “I don't know how she does it, because we drive her up a wall. She has a really big heart.
“I'm proud of her,” May added. “We give her hard times, but she's still here for us and she'll always love us.”
Exchange student: On top of the homecoming excitement, the family is hosting Rebekka Schäfer, a 17-year-old third-year high school student from Leinfelden-Echterdingen, Germany. She attends a school in nearby Stuttgart, Germany.
Rebekka is among a group of 20 high school students participating in a cultural exchange program involving the York Twinning Association, of which McCarter is a member.
The association conducts the program with Arles, France, and Leinfelden-Echterdingen. Students stay with local host families, McCarter said.
Rebekka arrived in York late Wednesday and was taken shopping Thursday to get ready for the homecoming dance.
“It's exciting and I'm really happy with my family,” she said. “I'm very proud and happy they chose me.”
Rebekka will attend several Central York High School classes next week, and then she and the visiting students will tour various places over the next two weeks, including Gettysburg, Lancaster County and Washington, D.C., before heading back to Germany, McCarter said.
More love to give: The busy mom said that while she had only planned to adopt four children, she couldn't say no to additional adoptions because of her love and compassion for the children.
Some of them were in orphanages so poor that babies shared cribs. Several of the children she adopted had medical issues that required life-saving surgeries, McCarter said.
The pediatrician said she often reduced her work hours to care for the children. She also received help from her family, baby sitters and day care facilities.
McCarter said her passion for adopting children came from seeing her parents and other relatives adopt.
“My great-grandparents took in children who needed a home,” she said. “That stayed with me. However it happened, I was hoping for four children, but there just always seemed to be another child who needed a family.”
— Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at firstname.lastname@example.org.