Abraham Walker clearly recalls his first birthday party. None of us can remember what happened. In fact, he’d say it’s one of the best days of his life.
Abraham is originally from Sierra Leone, West Africa. He was adopted by Joe Walker and Jamie Walker in October 2021. He’s never had a birthday celebration, so his family decided to hold one for him.
On May 19, Jamie Walker walked out carrying an extra special cake for Abraham’s first birthday since they adopted him and brought him to America.
Jamie shared a Facebook video of the family gathered in the kitchen singing Abraham happy birthday.
The camera pans to Abraham, who was clearly in awe upon seeing the very first birthday cake he’d had in his life. As his sisters took their photos, Abraham broke down in tears as he covered his mouth with his hands.
“We never knew about something called a birthday,” he said. “It just feels like God is showing all the blessings in you. Everyone on the planet is giving you their most sincere love. That is what it feels like to have that cake.”
Jamie was putting the cake down when the sixth-grader suddenly jumped up and ran to his dad, giving him a hug. Everyone asked him to make one wish, but the celebrant was overwhelmed with emotion. He also gave Jamie an extended embrace, still in happy tears, before finally blowing out all the candles.
“What a gift He is,” Jamie wrote on Facebook. “What a gift this moment was. It was so simple, yet so profound. As it unfolded it dawned on me that Abraham would have no idea what ‘make a wish’ meant so we let him have a redo.”
Abraham and James were adopted by the Walkers in October 2021. Joe first met them while he was on a trip to Sierra Leone along with a friend who had opened an orphanage there.
“It was their 10-year anniversary. I wanted to spend time with the kids. I wanted to see what was all about,” Joe said.
The father-of-six spent time reading and playing soccer while he was there. That’s where he first met James, whom he formed a really close bond with.
Soon after, the couple began sponsoring James. They communicated via Skype every month with him. Six months later, James was forced to leave the orphanage.
Joe wanted to stay in touch with him so he bought him a telephone. They were able meet Abraham after James returned to his village.
The Walkers FaceTimed their brothers every day for a month.
“We knew that if they didn’t get back to the orphanage they were going to be put back on the streets, and so we put a team together,” Joe said.
With their team’s efforts, Joe was able to get the brothers reunited and sent back to the Raining Season Orphanage. He then flew to Sierra Leone in order to visit Abraham, James, and others.
“And by then we had formed this really special connected bond,” Joe said. “And I came home from that trip and said to my wife, ‘I just feel like there’s more being asked of us.’”
Jamie and Joe met with their four children and discussed the possibility that they might adopt Abraham and James. After getting a quick, unanimous yes from their four children, they asked their brothers if they would consider being part of their family.
“And we told them that they weren’t allowed to answer us that day,” Joe explained. “We asked him to think of all of the positive things and then to think of the things that would be really challenging and hard… They were really excited and they wanted to be a part of the family and know what a family was.”
The pandemic delayed the Walkers’ travel plans amid the adoption process. Joe was able to fly to the boys as soon as the restrictions were lifted.
“I got back over there and was visiting with them and that’s when we got the notice from USCIS that it was time to actually go back and pick them up,” he said.
When asked what he likes most about America, Abraham said, “everything.”
“It’s really, really fun,” he said. “And getting used to the weather, the food and some of this stuff. It’s kind of a new experience for me. And it’s also nice.”
The couple also loves seeing the brothers enjoy their “firsts,” including haircuts, school, and even their first car wash.
“It’s absolutely magical and amazing because you think about the first time you take a toddler through, and they’re like in awe. Some children hate it. It’s the same, only they’re old enough to verbalize how crazy this experience is,” Jamie told WJZY.
Abraham feels nothing but love and gratitude towards his adoptive parents.
“I love them more than they can ever imagine in the world. They’re the ones that showed me to the world, and showed me what happiness is, and showed me what love is, and showed me what it means to have a family around you. I really, really want to say thank you to them for that,” he said.
The Walkers said that paperwork isn’t taken very seriously in Sierra Leone, so they believe the siblings’ birth certificates have them a little older than they actually are but said that Abraham is in sixth grade and James is in ninth grade.
Watch Abraham’s touching reaction to his very first birthday cake in the video below.
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