New Port Richey, FL -- A year ago, Brandy Brodie and her husband were looking to adopt a child.
"It just warms your heart," she said.
A year ago, 11-year-old Asaitu and 17-year-old Eric were wishing for a family to call their own. Eric had lost hope that it would ever happen.
But in a Pasco County courtroom on Friday, right around National Adoption Day, they and two dozen other children were legally reunited with their forever families.
"We love Eric and Asaitu," Brodie said. "And we just want to give them some stability."
The siblings have faced a lot of instability. They came to Florida as African refugees, and have spent the last six years in the state's foster care system. Earlier this year, their biological mother passed away. After that, Eric questioned whether he was ready for an adoptive mother.
But in two months, Eric would have turned 18. That meant he would have aged out of the foster care system and potentially been separated from his sister. Each year in Pasco and Pinellas counties, about a hundred children become too old for the foster care system.
"I saw Asaitu and fell in love with her," Brodie said. "And then her case worker said, 'She has a brother.' I was a little adamant at first because of his age."
But she said she changed her mind immediately upon meeting Eric. Now, his birthday is something to celebrate, not dread.
"I've never had a birthday party before," he said. "I feel very excited because I never knew this moment would happen in my life. And I'm very grateful for that."
The Brodies look forward to celebrating holidays together and sharing life experiences with their two adoptive children and four biological children.
"I have a family now that I can call mom and dad. I have a brother and sister that I can take care of," Eric said. "I want them to be there for my wedding and stuff."