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Family forever

Pilot Point couple finalizes adoption through Zoom

A year and a half after opening their homes to Daymian and Adriel, Matt and Ashley McIlravy got to experience a moment of “a closure and a new beginning” on Aug. 21, Matt said.

During an adoption hearing conducted via Zoom, the biological brothers legally became part of the McIlravy family.

“Getting ready for adoption day was a little different this year, because we knew it wasn’t going to be in a courtroom where we could have our friends with us and family with us,” Matt said.

Loved ones watched as the hearing was streamed on YouTube, which meant the four of them didn’t see the reactions they had.

“[Daymian] turned around and gave my wife, Ashley, a hug,” Matt said.

He cried happy tears, Matt said, and that meant a lot to him as a father, “just seeing him understand what was going on and that he was happy about it.”

Because Ashley and Matt were not able to have children biologically, they researched the best way for them to become parents.

They opted to foster to adopt, partially because that option was less cost-prohibitive, and they had help navigating the process from Buckner Foster Care and Adoption.

The process of becoming licensed began in August 2018. Ashley and Matt had their first foster placement the following January, he said, which lasted four weeks.

There was a week-long gap, and the couple received the call about Adriel, who was about a year old at the time.

“You usually get about 10 minutes to make a decision,” Matt said.

As they made the decision for Adriel to come to their home, Matt and Ashley found out he had an older brother who was placed with a different family.

“When we opened, we wanted 5 years old and younger,” he said.

They wanted the brothers to be raised together, though.

A week and a half later, Daymian came home to what would become his forever family.

The boys’ biological relatives were fighting to get them back, Matt said, until they saw for themselves that the boys were thriving in their new home with their new family.

“Once I actually met them, they realized and started seeing how far the kids had come, especially Adriel,” Matt said.

A lot of Adriel’s progress has to do with his cerebral palsy, which the Mayo Clinic describes as “a group of disorders that affect movement and muscle tone or posture.”

“He’s already showed us that he’s come a long way, and he’ll go a long way,” Matt said.

When asked whether he would recommend the process to other people who wish to become parents through adoption, he readily said yes while also giving a bit of a warning about the emotional impact it can have.

“It’s an amazing process to be parents,” Matt said. “It’s an awesome feeling. It’s going to be a rollercoaster of feelings as you go through the processes, too.”

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