DUVAL COUNTY, Fla. -- One Florida family is celebrating the adoption of the 2-year-old girl who has lived with them in foster care since she was 7 days old.
As the local county courthouse remains closed during the coronavirus pandemic, the toddler’s adoption hearing commenced over Zoom and was followed by a sweet car parade by members of their foster care community.
Little Isla was recently, formally adopted by foster parents Cayela and Evan Moody, who have cared for the toddler for over 700 days, Action News Jax reports. Surrounded by her mom, dad, four older siblings and another foster child in the family’s care, Isla became a Moody during a virtual adoption hearing conducted via Zoom by a judge from the Duval County Courthouse, per CBS News.
Evan said that his family had “an immediate connection” to Isla after welcoming her into their home and life at just one week old. Though the Jacksonville couple submitted all the paperwork to adopt the little girl in February, the process was left in limbo when the coronavirus pandemic hit soon after.
Fortunately, judicial officials have been able to continue with some proceedings through video chat, according to Action News Jax.
On April 30, the family gathered in their living room for the exciting Zoom virtual adoption court. Then, the judge electronically signed the final judgment, declaring Isla’s adoption.
As if the happy moment couldn’t get any better, the Moody’s were then greeted by a spirited car parade by members of their foster care community group Fostering Hope and other friends, celebrating Isla’s adoption, CBS News reports.
"I thought we would plan a party to thank everyone who loved her after social distancing restrictions were limited," Cayela told the outlet. "But, I also knew that they truly wanted to be a part of the day."
"Because Evan is in the military, we sadly do not have family close,” she continued. “So, the parade consisted of a lot of Fostering Hope members, other foster families we have walked alongside, and some of our church members as well.”
As May is Foster Care Awareness Month, the proud mom hopes Isla’s story inspires others to open their hearts and minds to the opportunity.
“Foster children need people that are willing to raise their hands and say, 'I can be forever,’” she said.
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