CommunityHeroes Among Us


Flemingsburg couple welcomes multiple children into their family through foster care

Poster image - 2023-02-07T172754.813.jpg
Posted at 6:00 PM, Feb 07, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-17 13:18:03-05

FLEMINGSBURG, Ky. (LEX 18) — We all have heroes, and for many of us, they're fictional characters wearing capes and colored tights who spend their days fighting criminals.

But more often, heroes are real, and they too do amazing things every day to make our communities a better place.

Take Johnathan and Julie Gay, of Flemingburg, who had no idea the lives they were about to touch after a painful experience in 2015.

"Julie had a miscarriage and we wanted kids," said Johnathan. "I was close to 40. She was close to 40. And we thought 'if we're going to do this, we should probably look at fostering.'"

"I'm just a woman who wanted to be a mom, so that's what we did," said Julie. "Through foster care, that allowed me to do that."

Johnathan had a son, Jackson, from a previous marriage, but a few months later, they fostered their first child, Makayla.

Then, six months after that, they answered the call again and welcomed 3-month-old Maya.

"We said 'that's good! We got all the kids we need," the couple said.

But then they got another call... Maya's birth mother was pregnant again.

"The second day, we received a call and they said 'he's definitely being removed and we're going to place the child with you."

Four children. That's three additions in less than two years. But this is where their story takes a turn.

"We brought him home two days and Julie started maternity leave, this is January 2017," said Johnathan. "And about two weeks later, she started getting sick quite often. Especially in the morning!"

"It's sorta funny. We brought John home from the hospital and we said that's it – the inn is definitely closed, don't care who has another sibling, don't care who calls and wants a placement – we're not taking another kid! And we got one the old-fashioned way... God had other plans!" said Julie.

A family of three to a family of seven with little Maison coming into the world.

Fast forward to last fall when Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell welcomed the Gays to Washington, D.C. as 2022 "Angels in Adoption" for their work in promoting foster care and adoption.

"We just wanted to go to Washington, D.C. and give a voice to so many people, we have so many people in our community who are foster parents... we just wanted to be a voice for them and it was an amazing experience," said Julie.

"We want to encourage people wherever we can to consider adoption as an option, to consider fostering," said Johnathan.

If you know of a hero in your community, let us know at