Three brothers in Georgia were given an incredible gift thanks to their adoptive parents and a loving neighbor, who called child services and adopted a boy so that he would have the opportunity to grow up with his siblings.
Jay Houston, a 31-year-old who herself was adopted and has several adopted children, heard about her neighbors and their recently adopted children. Neighbor Julie Washington brought 6-year-old Michael, 5-year-old Jess and 3-year-old Camden into her family and soon after learned they had a fourth brother, Elijah.
Houston got word of the situation and took Elijah into foster care on Sept. 15, 2015, finalizing his adoption on March 4.
“It was immediate,” she told ABC News. “His former foster mom sent us video of him laughing, smiling, crawling and I knew he'd fit right in." Houston said Elijah’s former foster mother had all four siblings in her care before Washington and her husband adopted three of them.
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Washington said that when she heard Elijah needed a family, she immediately thought of Houston.
“When I found out about Elijah we were still in the process of bringing our boys home,” she said. “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."
After 389 days in foster care, Elijah was adopted and reunited with his siblings.
“They all know they're brothers and get to grow up together,” Houston said. “They don't live in same house but live in same town ... Knowing I get to be his mom forever, it's an awesome gift and I'm really thankful for it."
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On the day of Elijah’s adoption, Houston arranged for a photoshoot with all four brothers, who now had the chance to grow up together in the same neighborhood.
"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."
The amazing story of Elijah and his siblings quickly went viral, with readers reacting all across the Internet.
“May god bless you and the neighbor over and over again. You chose to accept with your heart and that counts for something. I wish you all nothing but an abundance of happiness and financial gain,” one reader commented on Little Things.
“What wonderful people! I love that a friend adopted the 17 month old and that he'll know his brothers! Sounds like those two families are just one blended family! Precious…” another added.
Watch more about Elijah’s story below.