SAGAMORE HILLS, OH (WOIO) - For most of us, there's no time of the year when family is more important than the holidays, which is exactly why one local family can call this their best Christmas ever, thanks to adoption.
You can catch the new Gorby gang running the streets near their Sagamore Hills home often. The four of them use that time to not only get in some exercise, but to catch up on quality time, since this is their first Christmas as an "official" family.
"Oh boy. I think about this whole thing as, like, a wonderful thing," says 14-year-old Odin Amador-Gorby, as his eyes light up.
Same with his sister, 16-year-old Eden Amador-Gorby.
"I guess you can say it was kind of like a dream," says Eden.
They're a family not even a year in the making, after Kevin and Karen Gorby adopted the siblings this summer. You can see Karen's excitement to share their story.
"It's so much more amazing than I would ever imagine," she says.
"Truly, they feel like they've been my kids all my life," adds Kevin.
The whole thing was his idea.
As a teacher at Akron's Springfield High School, and the kids' track coach, he got to know them well, especially their heartache spending most of their lives in foster care, never knowing where they'd be placed next, and always worrying about being separated.
One day at track practice, Kevin saw Eden roll her ankle. The defeat and frustration on her face was too much for him.
That's when he called Karen.
"I just basically told her there's no reason these kids should be having a hard time. I used to pick them up, take them home, hear them tell stories. Basically, what I did was I called Karen and said, 'Hey! Got two kids. Guess we're going to have to adopt them,'" he says, tearing up.
With no hesitation, he says Karen said "okay."
They started the ball rolling and couldn't take them in fast enough, with some help from the kids' court-appointed special advocate, Vicki Porter. She's kept an eye on the kids for the last couple of years and was happy to see this happen. She says this is a dream come true for her, too.
"They hadn't felt like someone could really love them because of their situation," explains Vicki.
The kids moved in last November and the adoption was finalized this past summer.
Each of them has their own bedroom for the first time in their lives.
"I'm actually in a home now, not in a foster home, or dumped somewhere, so to speak," says Odin.
Karen stresses that the kids give them just as much as they give the kids. She calls it a blessing to watch them experience good things in life for the first time.
"If you're thinking about adopting, you don't have to be perfect, you don't have to give them everything, just what they need the most," says Karen. "Just someone to show up at their school events when they receive an award, someone to cheer for them on the sidelines."
As great as it is, they say there are some bumps along the way, just like any other family. But the new mom and dad make it clear their priority is to set the kids up to succeed, which means a lot of focus on education, responsibility and accountability.
They promise the kids they will always have a place to call home, no matter where their roads take them.
While they hope their story will encourage anyone considering adoption to take the next step, they say they are certainly considering the idea of adopting more in the future.
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