May 3, 2020
By: Jerry Miller

A True Family Man

Tonya and Ernie come from different backgrounds, but both love rural living, which led them each to FarmersOnly to find love.

Tonya has four kids of her own, two of which have special needs, so she was seeking a man with plenty of love and patience to give.

After meeting on the site, they decided to meet in person.

The first time they planned to meet up Ernie got a bit nervous and claimed car trouble, so their plans got delayed (of course he didn’t tell her the real reason their first date got postponed until about 6 months later).

Tonya remembered that he had told her his birthday was coming up, so on that day she sent him a voice message singing “Happy Birthday” to him, which made his day.

She asked what he was doing that night to celebrate, and when told that he would just be making himself dinner then heading to bed, she suggested that instead they should meet up for Chinese as originally planned for their first date.

This time, it was Tonya who was nervous!

She went to the restaurant a little early and gave the waitress a cupcake. She asked that if she came in with a man, please bring out the cupcake at the end for his birthday.

After waiting about 10 minutes, she thought Ernie was standing her up again. She gave him a call, and he said he was nervous so he was at a nearby bar grabbing a drink - and asked her to join him!

She went to the bar, where she finally got to meet her handsome date. While he fielded many incoming birthday calls, she chatted with the bartender and learned how to play beer pong.

After the calls died down, they made their way back to the Chinese restaurant.

When they sat down, Tonya noticed something different. She thought she may be going crazy until he confirmed he was extremely nervous, so he had changed his shirt between locations!

She recalls that it “completely broke the ice” and from that moment on they were talking as if they had known each other for quite a while, and were truly enjoying each other’s company.

At the end of the meal, his cupcake was brought out, much to his surprise. The waitress started to sing “Happy Birthday,” which ended with the entire restaurant joining in.

Knowing she was on a date, her ex husband called to tell Tonya he was dropping off the kids early, so the evening ended sooner than they were hoping, but it was enough to establish a wonderful connection.

They went on their second date a week later, and they’ve been “pretty much inseparable ever since!”

On September 20, 2018, Ernie proposed while the two were zip lining in Tahoe.

One year later, on September 20, 2019, they had planned to tie the knot, but due to a serious blood clot and a mass found in Ernie’s lungs, they were forced to postpone.

Not only have they been through health issues together, but their family has grown in unexpected ways, and the duo has shown how truly caring and loving they are.

In May of 2019, her oldest son’s best friend was told by his mother to go stay with Tonya and her family - with no prior discussion with Tonya or Ernie.

The mother took her daughter and left the county, leaving two sons to live with Tonya.

A week later the woman’s other son arrived from his school for the deaf where he had been staying.

And just like that, Tonya and Ernie gained 3 boys, adding to their combined 6 kids!

Being the loving, compassionate couple they are, they fell in love with the boys quickly, and fought to gain legal guardianship to give them a better life.

They’re now full-time parents to seven kids, five of which are special needs (all three of the boys they took in are special needs teenagers).

Tonya is proud of their “humongous interracial family of ten.”

She brags on Ernie, pointing out that he is helping to raise seven kids that aren’t his, and showing three boys who have never had a father figure what it’s like to have a loving father in their lives.

“I can honestly say I have never loved a man like I love Ernie, and I have never been loved the way he loves me,” she gushes. “We make each other laugh every single day, even if it’s a bad day, and a day never goes by that we don’t say I love you. We truly enjoy each other and I think that is very rare. I know we are both self-sufficient, but I also know we are better together.”