The phone began to ring and on the other end, it was child services. After they told her what her neighbor did she couldn’t help but start crying. She shouted for her husband who rushed to her side.
The couple felt that they were ready to start adopting. They just didn’t know what was in store for them when they tried.
Stories that involve children always capture the hearts of adults and this one was a rollercoaster of emotion. A family wanted to lend a helping hand to others that needed it. They would end up altering the lives of four siblings.
They never knew how things would go. This story begins with a lady named Julie Washington.
B.J. and Julie Washington lived in Georgia and had two kids. Julie worked night shifts as a nurse and B.J worked at the University of Georgia as a research assistant.
As well as having to deal with their taxing jobs, the couple also had to look after Ryan and Reid – their beautiful daughters.
Family was an important aspect of life for the Washingtons. The couple always wanted to have a bigger family and they were more than willing to have more children.
The couple thought about it for a long time and decided that instead of the conventional conception of a child, they would rather take a different road. And it was sure to be a less traveled one.
“We decided to grow our family through adoption,” Julie told the news in 2016. They caught wind of three children who’d been fostered for a few years. The couple didn’t delay.
They started the procedure of adopting the three young children and after bonding with the kids they fell in love with them. The boys were soon to be their own children.
They adopted 4-year-old Cameron, 5-year-old Jess, and 6-year-old Michael. The adoption process went smoothly and they felt everything was going more than well. The siblings were ecstatic.
The family was about to get a whole lot bigger, going from four members to seven members. Or that’s at least what they thought.
The couple was getting the house ready for their new children and they were overjoyed about it. Then they got a phone call from Children’s Protective Services and what they told them was unbelievable.
The couple had actually missed one crucial detail when they adopted the children. That crucial detail was going to change their lives forever.
Julie felt everything fall to pieces when they told her the unfortunate news. She had prepared for months for these angels and thought she was ready for anything.
The adoption service told the couple that the three siblings actually had a fourth sibling. There was a tiny toddler named Elijah who had been overlooked. How could they have not known about this?
The agency told the Washingtons that poor Elijah hadn’t been adopted by anyone yet and hoped that they would be willing to take him as well. Elijah shouldn’t be broken up from his real family. How would that be fair?
The Washingtons weren’t expecting this news and were astonished. With a moment of thought, they knew they couldn’t just let baby Elijah stay behind while his siblings got adopted.
Julie and B.J. couldn’t bear the thought of them being broken up. They needed to keep them together and make a wonderful home for all of the siblings. But issues would present themselves soon enough.
Going from seven family members to eight was something they weren’t prepared for. Already having five kids was a lot. What could the couple do to help?
“It broke my heart, but I just didn’t feel we could do it,” Julie told People in 2016. “We’d already gone from two kids to five – one with special needs. I felt we’d be overwhelmed and somebody wouldn’t get the attention they deserved.”
Julie was terribly broken up by the situation. The separation of these siblings was a terrible burden and she shared the story with everyone she met. The story made the rounds and eventually came full circle.
Julie was determined to do something about little Elijah. She sought advice from her family and friends.
The story eventually reached the ears of Julia’s neighbor, Jay Houston. But the way she reacted to the details about the Washingtons’ adopted children would ultimately surprise everyone in the neighborhood. She did something nobody saw coming.
Jay, who worked as a photographer, was also a very family-oriented woman. And, in a strange twist of fate, she had also adopted three of her five children. She also believed that it was a very tragic situation. Both women wanted to help the baby and find a way to keep him close to his other siblings.
However, neither of them had any clue how they could do that.
Julie explained her dilemma to Jay over the phone. She poured her heart out to her friend, expressing her concern that Elijah would end up far away from his biological siblings.
As much as Julie wanted to adopt little Elijah, it simply wasn’t practical. Not only did they already have a full house, but the sister, Jess, had cerebral palsy as well. Her condition meant that she needed a lot of special care. It seemed like an impossible situation.
While on the phone, Jay did her best to reassure the distraught mom. She told her that they would make a plan to ensure that Julie’s boys knew their little brother.
But when she got off the phone with Julie, she couldn’t stop thinking about how she could solve the seemingly insurmountable problem. She mulled over it for three days, but she still didn’t have an answer. Until one fateful night.
Jay was lying in her bed thinking about the situation when she suddenly sat bolt upright as an idea came to mind. She had spent a lot of time thinking of all the possibilities and how the siblings could be close together.
Now, she finally knew. She immediately dialed the 24-hour Child Care Services line.
“We’d like to adopt Elijah so that he can be close to his brothers and they can know each other growing up. We can all be one big family,” Jay explained.
And when Julie got that call from Child Care Services informing her that her neighbor had offered to adopt little Elijah, she couldn’t believe her ears.
When Julie learned what her neighbor had done, she didn’t know what to think. With tears of joy running down her face, she called her husband.
Jay figured that if she adopted little Elijah, the siblings might not be in the same house but they would be close together. This way, they could still be a family even though different families were raising them. Jay didn’t want to say anything to Julia because she was scared that she would think she was crazy.
“It was such a gift from Jay and [her husband] George,” Julie told People. “The love and gratitude that I felt was overpowering.”
Now, Julie could tell her three boys all about their little brother, who they hadn’t even known about. But Jay had another very personal reason for wanting to help Elijah and his three brothers…
You see, Jay’s parents had adopted her as a child. She had grown up in a loving family with six other siblings. But she couldn’t help but wonder about her biological brothers and sisters that she would never get to meet.
She didn’t want the same fate for the four adopted boys. She was prepared to do anything to ensure that they grew up together.
“I know what it feels like to look at your family and not see anybody who looks like you,” Jay explained to People.
“It’s true that love makes a family, but it’s undeniable that biology does, too. It shouldn’t be a privilege to grow up with your siblings, and I wanted to give Elijah that chance.”
So, in March 2016, Julie and Jay’s adoptions came through — on the very same day! Now, Elijah lives right around the corner from his three brothers.
And, as a result, the siblings of the Houston and Washington families have become closer than ever. The two clans even meet every week to play soccer and spend every birthday and Thanksgiving together.
“The adoption of all four boys has joined our two families for life,” B.J. told People. “Our main goal is to make sure they have the bond that brothers would have in a traditional family.”
“There was no way we could have known the way that everything would work out,” Jay said. “We just had faith that it would. We’re committed that our boys will grow up knowing and loving each other. Just like brothers should.”