(KYTX) – For most siblings waiting in foster care their one wish is to stay together. In their minds, it's all they have left of their family. One group of East Texas brothers ended up being split-up, but a unique adoption is allowing them the opportunity to still see each other often.
We introduced you Markel, Elijah and Samadrey a couple of years ago in CBS 19's Children are a Gift segment. These brothers were very close and played well together. They had spent several years in foster care and were ready for a forever family.
When prospective adoptive families would meet the boys, they all felt they could handle the two younger ones, but didn't want to take on the challenges of the older brother, Markel. So they remained in foster care until two East Texas families, who didn't know each other very well, decided to open their hearts and homes.
"We all sat down and decided we were going to do this and we just decided we were going to be like in-laws and we were going to be one big family and that we were going to do our best to keep the brothers as siblings," said Toni Pontius.
"I love my brothers," said Sammy, who is 5-years-old.
These two families, live just a few miles down the road from each other in East Texas. At least once a week, they get together so the brothers can play.
"They can keep that bond and they can feel secure that they have their brother and their family. They have all been real good and they know that we love them," said Emily Punches.
Emily and Christian Punches adopted 7-year-old Elijah and 5-year-old Samadrey, who they now call Sammy. They had already adopted four other children and, despite a full house, began praying about adding two more. They felt lead to give these boys a home too.
"There is just something special about children who have been fatherless. There is just a special love in our heart for children who come from difficult circumstances," said Christian.
Elijah said, "i love my new home."
After much prayer, Toni and Tyler Pontius adopted the oldest brother, 8-year-old Markel.
"From the very beginning Tyler and I were like absolutely. That's the one that we would love. You know, if God put him in our family we would love that," said Toni.
Tyler added, "The challenges with Markel are nothing compared to the progress he's made. He's obviously grieving being put in a different place than his brothers but we see them often so we think he's doing well. He's still in the same school as his brothers too."
Sitting beside his new parents Markel said, "I love my new home and my family."
Watching the boys interact and play it's easy to see how much they love each other, and the two families who have now joined as one say they are very blessed.
With tears welling up in eyes Tyler said, "I couldn't imagine it a different way. We love him like our own. The feeling I get is it's a shame we didn't know him sooner, but cherish all the time we have now."
Also with tears in her eyes Toni said, "He means the world to me. He's amazing. He's so incredible and I tell him everyday I'm so lucky that I get to be his mom. I'm so lucky that God picked me for him because he's amazing."
For the first time in their lives, the needs of these brothers are being met, and they are thriving.
"All they need is love, security and safety," said Toni.
Christian added, "They love to soak up love. We love to hold them and play around with them and they just laugh."
"Markel has started soccer and he's loving that. His grades have also come up consistently," explained Tyler.
Emily said "They make life really fun, just the gifting and uniqueness in each of them."
A new beginning for these brothers with forever families who truly believe Children are a Gift.
Christian said, "It's a faith walk, but adoption is an amazing beautiful thing. It's just unbelievable!"
It's a story with a happy ending. "I love my mom and dad!" said Markel.?