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Former NFL coach, wife have fostered over 100 children, adopted 8: 'They need love'

Tony Dungy
Former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy gives his acceptance speech during the 2016 NFL Hall of Fame enshrinement at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, on August 6, 2016. |

Indianapolis Colts coaching great Tony Dungy and his wife have opened up about how they embraced God's call in their lives by fostering over 100 children and adopting eight of their own.

In a new book released this month titled Uncommon Influence: Saying Yes to a Purposeful Life, Tony and Lauren Dungy offer advice for readers on how to live out God's plan in their lives. Among other topics, the book highlights how the Dungys began taking in foster children over three decades ago and have housed as many as 15 kids at one point. 

"We made that decision early on that when we were going to foster children, we wouldn't say 'no,' because we know the children are in crisis and they need a home," Lauren Dungy said during an appearance on NBC's "Today" show.

"They need stability. They need love. So we opened our doors to the kids, and we've had over 100 children walk through our door."

In a separate interview with the Christian radio network Air 1, the wife and mother explained that she and her husband have been fostering children for over 30 years and have three children in their care currently. She stated that taking children into their home has been a "rewarding experience." 

"And, along with the fostering, we have adopted children as well," she said.

The Dungys have adopted eight kids ranging from the ages of 6 to 21. 

The couple has been married for almost 40 years and has 11 children altogether. They also run the Dungy Family Foundation, which works to strengthen communities by providing opportunities through educational and financial support.

"It's a blessing, and we believe that we're being obedient to God's calling on our lives," she said.

The title of the new book shares the word "Uncommon" with other books the couple has written together. These include Uncommon: Finding Your Path to SignificanceUncommon Manhood: Secrets to What It Means to Be a Man, and Uncommon Marriage: What We've Learned about Lasting Love and Overcoming Life's Obstacles Together.

"We just think that Christianity – people can say, 'It's weird.' People can say it's different. But Jesus said, 'We go down a narrow road,' and the path is not the broad path that the whole world is on," Tony Dungy told Air 1. 

"So, we choose to look at that as not weird or different but uncommon. And then with influence, we wanted to let people know that they can have an influence in their world in a lot of different ways."

In their latest book, the couple details what they believe it means to be obedient to God's calling and how this often involves sacrifices. However, they stress that the Lord requires His children to say "yes." 

"It may be uncomfortable or we may have questions as we obediently answer to God, but He doesn't take us down a path for nothing," Lauren Dungy said. 

"He has a purpose and a plan for everything we do in life. Early on, He called us to use that platform with football." 

"We had an audience and were able to influence and speak to many people, but it comes with a price, if you will," she continued. "You have an audience and you can use it to build yourself up, or you can point people to Christ and let them understand the calling is a purpose to give glory to God." 

"We strive to do that and will continue doing that until we go home to be with Him," she added. 

Dungy spoke at a press conference earlier this year in support of House Bill 7065, a Florida bill allocating $70 million toward programs and initiatives encouraging fathers to actively raise their children. The former football coach said his visit to a prison ministry inspired him to create All Pro Dad. 

The charity works to "provide guidance and practical tips in raising your kids in a life-giving way."

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