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Muskegon Heights couple recognized for fostering 42 children

Ades and Mozelle Ellis are the parents to 50 Muskegon Heights children—42 are fostered, and six are biological.

MUSKEGON HEIGHTS, Mich. — This Black History Month, we’re giving you a closer look “Through Our Lens.” That’s an ongoing exhibit at the Muskegon Museum of Art highlighting everyday residents of Muskegon County making a difference in the community. We begin our series with Ades and Mozelle Ellis, the parents of 50 Muskegon Heights children.

“I have 42 foster kids. I have six biological kids. I have two stepchildren, which I don’t identify them – I only identify them as stepchildren when I’m telling somebody about them. They’re my children,” said Mozelle Ellis.

She and her husband, Ades, are both originally from small towns in Mississippi. They were only about 50 miles apart, but they didn’t know it or each other until they met while in their 30s living in Muskegon Heights.

Mozelle is now 81 years old. Ades is 78.

“I met him at church and he looked good to me. So, I got him,” said Mozelle.

“She said she was eyeballing me but I didn’t know it,” said Ades as the couple laughed.

The two would soon learn they had similar backgrounds, which would lead to a unique passion.

“There was a need for children and I was the perfect person to be involved in children’s lives because I love children,” said Mozelle, who then explained that, “I came from a large family and I knew how to do what I did. I came from a family of eight boys and eights girls, a big family.”

It’s something the two have in common. Ades came from a family of 15 siblings.

“My aunt and uncle raised me. My mother died when I was six years old,” said Ades, who reflected on how, “I had somebody to take care of me. If my aunt and uncle hadn’t taken me in, where would I have been?”

The couple told 13 ON YOUR SIDE, while they were given a stipend from the government to help with food and clothing, “Equipment and everything, that had to come out of our pockets. Trips for the school, that had to come out of our pockets and we didn’t mind doing it at all,” said Mozelle.

She continued saying, “The children want to feel like other children. I can’t always say ‘you can’t go.’ I wanted them to experience what other children experienced.”

“I never really had to worry about anything. Like, the best things, like I had them. I never experienced that before until I met them,” said Alyjuuan Paris-Ellis, who joined the Ellis family as a foster child around age eight.

“It’s the grandest thing I’ve ever done was to raise children. I just love it,” said Mozelle.

That passion has somewhat become contagious in the family.

“Parenting means everything to me. I don’t care how I’m doing, where I’m at, how tired I am. If I can implement and fulfill my fatherly duties for, that’s all I care about because growing up that’s what my parents, that’s what they cared about,” said Sterling Lewis, who joined the family around the age of seven.

Ades believes, “When you bless other people and help other people, God is going to bless you.”

Ades and Ellis welcomed our crew into the home where they raised all 50 of their children.

The Ellis couple is one just part of the “Through Our Lens” exhibit at the Muskegon Museum of Art. It recognizes some 50 Muskegon County residents making a positive impact and runs through March 12.

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