Family Connection: Virtual adoption gives 3 South Florida children a forever family

(WSVN) - We have seen virtual graduations and weddings, but there are also virtual adoptions because of the coronavirus pandemic, and three South Florida children now have a forever family, all of it happening on Zoom. 7’s Brian Entin has our special report, “Family Connection.”

Life in the Cruz-Sanders house can get a little crazy with five children, all under the age of 5.

Luis Cruz: “They are great kids. They drive me crazy every day but super great kids, can’t complain.”

Luis and his husband Anthony have been foster parents for years.

Anthony Sanders: “My goal was to have two. Then Chase came along, and we found out he had siblings, and we couldn’t separate them. That’s just not something we were willing to do, so they all came, they all fit it, and we’re a happy family.”

Happy, but Luis and Anthony said the family would not feel totally complete until they could formally adopt William, Ariana and Chase.

Anthony Sanders: “I think we started the process maybe a year ago, and it’s like every month, ‘What is happening? What is happening? When do we have a date? Is it going to happen?'”

Because of COVID-19, the dads were worried their adoption hearing would get postponed even longer, but ChildNet, the nonprofit that handles child welfare in Broward County, was determined to make it happen.

So the family gathered on their living room couch for a Zoom adoption hearing.

Children: “Hi!”

Luis Cruz: “You see Ms. Carol on the top?”

Children: “Yeah!”

The lawyers and the judge all appeared virtually.

Luis Cruz: “It was nice and comforting being at home. It wasn’t in a courthouse and having to worry about keeping them quiet and still. They got to run amok in the house, so that part was actually great.”

After a few quick formalities, the moment that this family has been waiting a year for was finally here.

Judge: “As the judge, I declare you to the fathers of these young, beautiful and highly energized children. Congratulations. I wish you nothing but the best.”

The family celebrated with cake, and then went outside for a surprise they were not expecting.

The social workers from ChildNet who helped them through the process were in a parade of cars, all thrilled for this happy family.

Luis Cruz: “Super excited. We have been waiting for over a year, and it just makes sense. They have been for so long, and they fit in so well.”

Anthony Sanders: “It was very exciting to finally get to put a period on the whole foster parent thing.”

The family is now excited to put the adoption process behind them. They hope to celebrate with a trip to Disney World once the theme parks reopen.

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