A Georgia woman and her husband adopted three brothers, but they made a realization.
Julia Washington and her husband then realized that the three brothers had another brother, who was 17 months old. However, with three adopted sons and two children of their own, they knew they couldn’t handle the responsibility.
One of the boys had “major special needs,” she said.
But if he wasn’t adopted, the three brothers would be more than 1,000 miles away from their other brother.
Washington’s neighbor, Jay Houston, then decided to step in. Houston had talked to the state’s Child Protective Services to adopt the youngest, named Elijah, which means the four brothers will essentially be able to grow up with one another, ABC News reported.
“They all know they’re brothers and get to grow up together,” Jay told ABC News.
She said, “They don’t live in same house but live in the same town… Knowing I get to be his mom forever, it’s an awesome gift and I’m really thankful for it.”
“We are not the same people as before,” she added.
The boys previously were in foster care.
“I’m the youngest of seven kids and I was adopted,” Houston added. “Growing up, that’s always something I wanted to do.”
“It was immediate,” she noted, speaking of adopting Elijah. “His former foster mom sent us video of him laughing, smiling, crawling and I knew he’d fit right in.”
After living in foster care for 389 days, a little boy has found a forever family who lives just minutes away from his three biological siblings.
Julia added: “We went from having two to five kids and one has special needs. We weren’t sure if we were able to take in another child. I knew how important it was to [Houston] to keep siblings together. They said they were open to have another child and we made a pact to keep them together so it kind of just fell into place.”
Elijah now lives just minutes from his brothers.
“Kids in foster care come with such a negative stigma attached to them,” Houston said. “These kids are kids and they just need love and I can’t explain how much these kids have changed my life. My husband and I are the lucky ones.”
Photos of Elijah reuniting with his brothers have received thousands of likes and shares on Facebook.
Arkansas Family Adopts 7 Kids
A couple in Arkansas was able to adopt a set of seven siblings last year.
Terri Hawthorn and Michael Hawthorn told themselves that they would foster children but never adopt when they became foster parents years ago.
But after fostering a number of children since then, they decided to adopt.
First up was two siblings, Korgen and Haizlee, who they adopted in April.
And on Dec. 3, the couple received the news that their family was growing much larger. The proposed adoption of seven siblings to add to the family of four was approved.
“It feels good to actually have a family to wake up to every morning,” Kyndal Hawthorn, one of the siblings, told THV 11.
The children wanted to share their story in the hopes that it inspires other couples to adopt.
“It feels so great knowing we have a family now and won’t have to go anywhere else,” said Dawson Hawthorn, the oldest sibling.
They recounted a tough childhood where the things some people take for granted were missing.
“When I got here I was like, oh my gosh, we get our own beds,” said Layna Hawthorn.
Zachary Stieber contributed to this report.