5 siblings' plea to be adopted together, sparks tremendous response
TOPEKA, Kan. (KTVU) - They range in age from two to 11, and all they want is to be together in a permanent, loving home.
Some are calling them the "Fab 5:" Bradley, 11, Preston, 10, Layla, 8, Landon, 6, and Olive, 2, are five siblings from Central Kansas, who have been in foster care for a little more than year a now, separated and placed in different homes and looking for one family that will adopt them all.
State caseworkers say it is very likely that the kids will have their hopes fulfilled, after the children were profiled earlier this month in the Kansas City Star, as part of a "Family Wanted" feature article, that received a viral response.
Their story has since been shared around the world and led to some 3,000 inquiries, one from as far as Ireland, according to Theresa Freed, the communications director for the Kansas Dept. for Children and Families.
Caseworkers have now narrowed the list to a pool of seven families, Freed tells KTVU.
Information on how the siblings ended up in the state's care is not being released to protect the children's privacy, according to Freed.
When asked about their desire to stay together, oldest brother Bradley's response is a simple one: "I need them!" he said.
Landon's response is just as touching, commenting that he wants "to live like a family."
The children's desire and vision for the kind of family they want to end up with are very basic.
Preston says he wants a "regular family that is nice to them."
Bradley says he wants a loving, caring, respectful family. He and young brother Landon say they want to be a part of an active household with parents who will let them play sports and go on vacations.
Layla says she wants to be a part of a Christian home and wants a family "that will let her be in gymnastics," adding that she can do the splits!
Their story has touched many far and wide.
In fact, the BBC is set to feature the kids in an upcoming story, according to Freed.
She says beyond the adoption inquiries, her agency has received letters, words of support and even offers of gifts from people who have been moved by the children's story and their desire to be reunited as one family.
Tracy Petrykowski, from Pewaukee, Wisconsin reached out to the agency in an email, saying her church makes special quilts for children in foster care and that the congregation wants to donate five quilts for the siblings "so they each have a warm, soft quilt of their own."
Petrykowski described how they place their handmade quilts on pews and members of the congregation lay their hands on the patchwork and offer blessings and a prayer.
She said the act is in hopes that it will make a "difference in the lives of these children when they are really going through a very rough time in their lives."
Freed notes that as far as the agency can remember, there has been no other case that has received this much attention.
When asked what it is about these children in particular that garnered the intense interest, Freed says, "people were able to instantly see these children in their family," and that the desire to adopt them grew after they learned more about the kids.
Bradley, 11, is a music lover who is a little shy and quiet. He's known as being a respectful, sweet and kind boy.
Preston, 10, is energetic and loves animals and the outdoors. Fishing and exploring are some of his favorite things to do.
Layla, 8, enjoys hip-hop dance. She is described as being kind and caring. When she grows up, she wants to help sick and injured animals. She works hard at school and makes friends easily.
Landon, 6, wants to teach physical education when he grows up. He considers himself a fast runner and a hard worker and enjoys racing his brothers.
Little Olive, 2, is a "champion" in all toddler activities. When she finally slows down, she loves to cuddle and be held.
The children's case is currently in the court system and it could take one to three months before they are united with their new family.
Freed says first and foremost officials always keep the best interest of the children in mind when choosing a family.
She calls the Fab 5 "a special group of children who will be a blessing to a special family."
But she adds that there are many other wonderful children who are also looking for a good home and the wish is that this case will bring light to all of their cases.
"It is our sincere hope that the tremendous outpouring of love and hope for five unknown children will carry over to the hundreds of other children in Kansas who are currently waiting to be adopted," Freed says.