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On paper, it appeared to be a boring Christmas present. But upon closer look, it actually turned out to be the most precious gift for one Oregon family.
Sarah and Michael Perks officially welcomed their three foster children to the family with formal adoption papers, tucked into a box beneath the Christmas tree last year.
“You’re officially a Perks,” Michael told Corbin, the oldest of the siblings, after he opened the present and gave his dad a hug.
“You’re one of us now,” one of his new sisters can be heard saying.
The couple had received the adoption documents just two days before Christmas, Michael, 35, told TODAY.com.
“We thought, what better gift could you get than a forever family? That’s why we put the adoption papers under the tree, a kind of symbolism,” he said.
The couple recorded the moment and posted the video last year on Facebook and YouTube to share with family, but the clip only recently has making the social media rounds after Facebook asked the couple for permission to share it.
Sarah said she knew Corbin, now 13, would especially be moved by seeing the adoption papers.
“He had been asking all year when it would be final, and when can he change his name to Perks at school, when could he could say he wasn't in foster care anymore,” she said. “I knew it would be emotional for him, and that made us so happy to give them to him on such a special day!”
Corbin and his sister, Kierra, 8, arrived at the Perks home about five years ago, a year after they were placed into the foster care system.
Their younger brother, Damien, 4, joined them after he was born.
“All foster children come with the intent to return home, and that was plan for Corbin, Kierra, and Damien when he was born later,” said Sarah, 33. “Unfortunately, that was not able to happen and we were given the option of being considered for their adoption plan. We said yes — they were already a part of our family and we loved them.”
The siblings joined four other Perks children: Isaac, 16; Caleb, 14; Isabella, 12; and Juvanna, 9. It was the second time the Perks adopted a foster child.
“We’ve been doing foster care for the better part of a decade so the kiddos are well acclimated to the ever changing situations,” Michael said. All the children get along extremely well, but he noted that Corbin and Caleb, in particular, “are a modern day Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn.”
The couple, who celebrate their 15th anniversary at the end of the month, said they’ve been overwhelmed by the response to the video.
“If nothing else it feels so amazing that our video is making people feel happy, and our kids feel so loved by total strangers,” Sarah said.
She's grateful for all the affection being showered on the family.
“We didn't do anything so extraordinary, just loved a child,” Sarah said. “I hope it inspires others to consider not just adopting a child or children who are waiting, but an older child. Even if they don't show it as easily as Corbin was able to. It means more to them than you can imagine.”
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