A little girl in Jacksonville, Florida, got a huge surprise recently after spending almost her entire life in the foster care system.
When foster parents Evan and Cayela Moody got a phone call in 2018 about a four-pound premature baby girl in need of a home, they immediately said yes, according to Good Morning America.
“I fell in love with Isla the first time I saw her,” Cayela recalled.
“We’d had Isla for 48 hours and somebody asked if she needed us for adoption, would we want to? I brought it up to Evan and he said, ‘You won’t need to ask me again. If she needs us for adoption I’m all in,’” she continued.
The Moodys, who already had four biological children, began the legal process and learned in February that they would be allowed to adopt the now two-year-old.
However, when the coronavirus pandemic forced the Jacksonville courthouse to shutter its doors, the family was disappointed.
“They basically stopped all operations for a while at least,” Evan said. “We knew in February that it was pretty much a certainty that she was going to be with us forever, but the actual adoption ceremony itself and decree was on hold indefinitely at that point.”
Thankfully, the courthouse moved its proceedings online and Isla’s adoption was finalized during a Zoom video call on April 30 while her family gathered around on their couch.
Later that day, the organization that supported the Moodys on their foster care journey, Fostering Hope, threw a parade outside the family’s home to celebrate Isla’s big day.
A line of cars decorated with balloons, signs, and colorful streamers honked as they drove past their house.
“A friend asked if it would be OK to throw a parade and I said that’d be fine. I wanted people who supported us and Isla to be able to celebrate because they’ve been part of this, too,” Cayela explained.
Even though little Isla might not understand everything about her adoption, her dad said he just wanted her to know how much she was loved.
“And yeah, you were adopted during a pandemic and that was super weird, but that being said, you didn’t just have a party, you had a parade,” he concluded.