Janielle and Elijah had been dreaming about being adopted for years, so when Mickey Mouse told them their adoption date, they broke down in tears.
“I gave my parents a big hug because I was so excited to finally find out when the adoption date was going to be,” Janielle, 12, told ABC News. “It was amazing. They said it was going to be a magical day and it really was a magical day. I started to cry because I was so happy that we were getting adopted.”
Janielle and Elijah have been living with Tom and Courtney Gilmour from Portland, Pennsylvania for nearly three years. The children knew the couple wanted to adopt them, but the date when they’d officially become their children was still up in the air.
“They were thinking they would get adopted after school got out at the end of the school year, but once we got the actual date I thought, ‘How awesome would it be to tell them there?’” shared Courtney Gilmour of their April trip to Disney World. “We were planning a trip to the Star Wars Celebration. It was in Orlando and as we were looking at the kids’ school calendar and we saw there was an additional 24 hours we could spend down there. And the kids had never been to Disney before.”
Her husband, Tom, added in a Facebook post, “As foster parents it's been Courtney and my greatest joy to be able to shine a light into our two special kids lives in the hopes of providing them the hope and love they deserve. When the time came to let these our kiddos know that they had been given a date for their adoption, a day they had been fighting for for a long time, we knew it was a big deal.”
When the family checked into their hotel, they received Star Wars Celebration buttons to write what they were celebrating while at the park. Courtney says she and her husband wrote, “adopting our kids” and the kids wrote, “being adopted.” She then posted a picture of the pins on Twitter, and she tagged #WaltDisneyWorld
“Within minutes they had gotten back to me asking if they could do something to make our trip a little more special. I thought honestly they were going to add dessert onto our meal.”
But Disney had something bigger in mind. They arranged for the children to have a special meet and greet with Mickey Mouse to get their picture taken and autograph books signed. Little did they know that Mickey also held a sign with the date they’d finally be adopted.
The minute they saw the sign, both of the kids started crying tears of joy. Courtney says she didn’t expect that strong of a reaction from her kids, but she does say that closure on their adoption date was something the children “desperately wanted.”
Janielle adds, “It feels amazing… I’ve been going through a lot and it’s amazing to be adopted.”
Since Courtney posted the video on Facebook on July 6th, it’s gotten more than 1.4 million views. Tom says of the video going viral, “In the somewhat dark world we live in, where ofttimes people are looking to take each other down, it makes me smile to see our light spread a little bit further. It makes me very happy that the joy our family felt on this day is more universal.”
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