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Christmas has come early for one Florida family that recently expanded — by seven.
This holiday season, the previously-childless Sofia and DaShoan Olds are now parents to siblings Necia, Eric and Erica, Zavian, Dava, Keyon and Gentry.
“There was no question asked. If they allow us to adopt these children, we will do it,” Sofia remembered thinking earlier in the year. “We would do whatever it takes to make sure that we can care for them."
While the Olds always thought adoption would be an option, they never anticipated having so many children at once. But that changed once the couple learned about the seven siblings in a news story posted on Facebook. The kids had been living in three separate foster homes and dreamed of finding “a forever home” together. That's when Sofia knew “it was all or none.”
“I like to say I felt like it was a calling, honestly,” she said. “When I saw that picture, it was automatic.”
Sofia and Dashoan, both veterans who served overseas in Iraq, make their home in Marianna, Florida. DaShoan is a high school teacher and coach. Sofia is a social worker.
And despite the considerable routine changes for this previously-childless couple, the transition to becoming a family of nine has been remarkably smooth.
There have been adjustments to their finances, and the couple admit they don't indulge in themselves anymore. But their focus now rests on the children and getting them into routines. Homework always comes first, as soon as they get home from school. Then the kids get to play sports and have some fun before sitting down to dinner.
“They know the drill, they know the schedule, and they like the structure,” Sofia said. “And they like the discipline and they help each other out. They help us out.”
The children have definitely embraced the family rhythm they craved before adoption.
“I never actually had a mom and dad under the same roof, but it feels great,” said Eric. “It's like they're both half of something, like peanut butter and jelly.”
Eric said he and some of his siblings had been separated for so long that his memories of some of them had started to slip.
Now back together, it’s hard to imagine anything more to want for Christmas, said Necia, the oldest of the bunch.
“I was hoping that it could happen, so it’s like a dream come true,” she said.