Four siblings embraced their newest adopted brother in a tight hug as they prepare to take him to his forever home in California.
Sebastian, 11, once an orphan growing up in Colombia, is now preparing to spend the holidays as a new member of the Barkey family despite having no clue he would be adopted at all until after it was all finalized.
Sebastian spent the summer with JoBen and Amanda Barkey and their three sons and daughter, Asher, Judah, Jameis and Mishayla, as a part of a hosting program.
“It was bittersweet for him,” said JoBen, in an interview with T&T Creative Media. “He has always wanted to live in a home with a family that had a lot of boys and a sister. We were his dream family come true."
According to Colombian law, the Barkey family was not allowed to tell Sebastian they intended on adopting him while they were hosting him.
“When he left, flight crew had to peel his hands off the entrance of the plane,” he said. “It's been really hard being separated and always thinking about him and wishing we could be there to give him a kiss and tuck him in at night.”
But when they got the approval and worked on securing his immigration visa, the Barkeys broke the news to Sebastian and his reaction, captured on video, went viral.
“He could barely believe what he was seeing and hearing because he had accepted the fact that our family was too big to ever adopt another child,” JoBen said. “He was overcome with surprise and happiness at the same time.”
The family originally told Sebastian they wouldn't be able to collect him until February since they were unsure how long the adoption process might take, but surprised him earlier this month, just in time to take him home for the holidays.
“The moment we saw him, a flood of emotions came over all of us as we knew that we were together forever,” JoBen said.