Julia Washington and her husband were parents to two beautiful children, but after meeting three siblings who had spent three years in foster care, their hearts were warmed and they wanted to open the arms of their family to these children, no matter the adjustments they would have to make. For one, Jess has cerebral palsy, and the Washingtons were determined to give him just as great a childhood.
Taking the leap to go from two to five children would be monumental for anyone, but the hurdles weren’t over after the Washingtons went through the long adoption process to bring Michael, Jess, and Camden home.
As the adoption was being finalized, Julia suddenly got a call from her case worker. These brothers had yet another sibling—a 17-month-old baby brother named Elijah.
“We knew that going from two to five children, and one with special needs,” if they took on another child—a baby—“somebody was going to suffer” lack of attention, Julia said. As much as they wanted to keep the brothers together, they also knew it wasn’t realistic.
“If we didn’t adopt him he was going to be a thousand miles away,” Julia said.
The Washingtons began to fret.
Julia confided in her good friend and neighbor Jay Houston about their dilemma. Jay is the youngest of seven siblings and is adopted herself. She, too, has a large family: Two birth children and four adopted children.
Jay knew it would be difficult to raise such a big family. She also knew how much it means for family to stick together.
She saw the children all playing together outside, and then she made a decision.
Jay went and called child services—and made plans to adopt Elijah herself. Then she called her friend back to give her the news.
“I called Julie back and said no matter what we would always make sure these boys were family and that they knew they were family,” Jay told ABC.
Though the four brothers were adopted by two different families, they made arrangements so they could grow up closely together and never want for family.
“When Elijah is with his brothers, he just lights up,” Jay said.
“We’re brothers!” said Michael, the oldest of the four, at 6 years old.
They had spent over 1,000 days in foster care, but now they will never have to be forced to separate again.