While Americans were focused on the election Tuesday, the Scudder family from California was celebrating a special day. They officially welcomed 3-year-old Veronica and 1-year-old Preston into their family.
Autumn Scudder told BuzzFeed News that she and her husband have three teen girls. They had wanted to have more children but were unable to do so biologically because of health reasons.
In 2015, the family learned Veronica was in foster care and they expressed interest in possibly adopting her. They soon learned that not only she, but also her baby brother, needed a permanent home.
"I had always wished we had been able to have a son, too," Autumn said. "So when we found out Veronica and her new brother needed a home, there was no hesitation in our emphatic yes."
The siblings came to live with the Scudders in December 2015, and Autumn said their family and friends instantly rallied around them.
"As word got out into the community, and when everyone heard that we were approved a couple weeks later and just waiting for placement, the donations and gifts started pouring in, and then there was even a baby shower/welcome home party for us," she said.
Autumn said going from a mom of three teenagers to a mom of five was "incredible."
"Honestly, these kids have brought so much joy, love, happiness, fun, and adventure into our home... Any minor struggles we've had while learning how to function as a family of seven are completely eclipsed by the happiness they've brought to us," she said.
After a long process, the family was approved to have their adoption finalized on Tuesday. It was a happy and exciting day for their entire family, who all came out in support.
Autumn even made some signs for the kids to hold, showing how long they had waited for this special day.
"In the moment, it represented relief and joy about the finality of 'Adoption Day' after waiting so long, and now I feel like it also represents a need for a more streamlined system," she said.
Autumn's daughter Kylie loved the photos so much, she decided to share them on Twitter. They have since exploded online, and have been shared on Reddit and Facebook.
Many people were very touched by the moment.
Especially considering all the negativity surrounding the past week.
"I'm adopted from a rough life! I can't imagine how happy those kids are. You guys are amazing! Good luck with everything," one person said.
Autumn said the family has been "amazed" by the response.
"People are loving that such a beautiful moment was captured on the same day that a lot of Americans were stressed about the direction of the country, and with all the negativity in the media," she said.
She said she hopes the photos can inspire others to look into adoption, fostering, or even just helping out in any way they can.
"Everyone can do something," she said. "If everyone did one (or more) of these things, we would have a lot of kids in the world that live a little bit happier life, and they grow up to be adults that have a little bit happier story to tell."
Stephanie McNeal is a social news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Stephanie McNeal at email@example.com.
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