Finding a home for foster children is a complicated process, one that’s made ever more difficult when there are siblings involved. It’s hard to find the right guardian for even one child, so it’s rarer to find one willing to take on two at once.
But what about seven?
That was the case for Dava, Erica, Eric, Zavian, Leondras, Reginald, and Necia, seven siblings who dreamed of being together in a home of their own—while living across three different roofs, separated by the foster care system.
As reported by WJHG last Thanksgiving, five of the children were living in a group home in Tallahassee, Florida, while their two youngest brothers lived in separate homes hours away.
Despite their fractured living situation, they kept their hopes up.
Their youngest members had adopted homes of their own, but they still missed their siblings deeply. Eric said that when his brothers would make the occasional visit, they would “cry every time” it was time to leave.
They behaved like any siblings would, playing together on the swings and playground, getting along well most of the time, sticking together through good times and bad.
The 11-years-old, Necia was the oldest. She acted as the mom—both in pretend games of house, and in real life, keeping her younger family members in line.
“Sometimes they get on my nerves, but I still love them,” she said.
Like all foster children, they dreamed of one day returning to normalcy by being adopted together.
Eric described his perfect dream parents: “They’d be reasonable and they be honest, and they’re fun and not serious all the time. I would tell them that we act good, sometimes.”
Their caseworkers were determined to find them a home like that, but were realistic about the odds. The area has a high rate of out-of-home children, and then there’s the sheer unlikelihood of someone to adopt seven kids.
Blair Bell, a home finder, told WJHG she was recommended to split up the family, but didn’t want to break the family bond.
“It’s hard on your heart a lot of times,” she said, “because you see all these children who so much deserve a home and all I want to do is give that to them.”
Still, when the story aired, WJHG included the contact information on their site and implored any interested parents to reach out….
…and luckily, Dashoan and Sofia Olds were watching that night.
In a remarkable, fairy tale ending to that original story, the Olds, a couple who had been looking to adopt a child, saw the report on television and immediately knew it was meant to be. WJHG was there for a follow-up.
“It was a done deal from the day we saw the story,” Sofia told them. “We looked at each other and said, we’ve got to do this. It’s time. There’s no maybe, we have to do this.”
And so the seven kids now live happily with the Olds—the kind of happy ending no one really saw coming.
Now 12, Necia told WJHG, “We thought we would never get adopted, but I thought this was a really good blessing for us.”
“I heard from so many people that finding a home for seven children would be impossible,” Blair Bell added.
According to ABC News, Dashoan is a high school math teacher while Sofia is a social worker, the perfect candidates to take in the large group of children. And the couple seems to live up to what Eric was looking for: just the right balance of disciplined, loving and fun. In the video we see the family playing games like foosball but also learning math.
“It was fun. It felt relaxed, not forced,” Sofia said of meeting the children for the first time. “It was not uncomfortable, not overwhelming. It was like playing with children I’ve known my whole life.”
“We’re going to get them active in a sport or an activity, or something extracurricular,” Dashoan said to WJHG. “And we’re going to love each other so, we’re going to do all of it.”
“I think you have to have a heart for what we’re doing and we have the heart,” Sofia told ABC News.
“All children deserve to have a mama and a daddy.”