Harold and Carolyn Lichty didn't choose adoption — adoption chose them.
The Glen Allan couple, who had just begun fostering two years ago, are now the proud parents of Benjamin and Joshua, two blond-headed bundles of energy.
It wasn't their original plan.
The Lichtys — who already have four daughters, Yolanda, Christalyn, Bethanie and Sonya — had decided to foster children, helping out where needed most, as a way of giving back.
Instead, they fell in love with Benjamin, 2, and Joshua, 4, after taking them in during an emergency placement.
"We don't know how it happened," said Carolyn. "I guess we were overcome with love."
"When they came, we weren't into (fostering) for a year yet," added Carolyn.
While foster care has as its focus returning the children to their birth parents, sometimes that cannot happen, as in the case of these young boys.
Teresa Trofymowych, foster/adopt recruitment worker with Family & Children's Services of Waterloo Region, said that children who are placed in emergency care are done so because it is not safe for them to remain at home.
And while the agency works with parents to try and help them get to the point where they are able to care for their children, that doesn't always happen.
"Sometimes, it doesn't work out; therefore, the children need a permanent home."
As foster parents, the Lichtys had the first chance to adopt the young brothers.
It didn't take long for them to say yes.
That was in spite of the fact that they took the young boys into their home when they were already fostering a five-month-old baby — and Benjamin and Joshua were only a year and two-and-a-half at the time.
"It felt impossible, because it is impossible for a natural mother to have children that close in age," said Carolyn.
It was fairly chaotic, as the boys were quite needy at the time of their placement, and didn't readily take to Harold.
"They wouldn't come to me at all," said Harold.
"For Harold, in the process of capturing their hearts, he got his own heart captured, too."
Adoption through Family & Children's Services can take place in two main ways — through fostering, as it happened for the Lichty family, or by simply pursuing adoption.
Both processes require that home studies be completed, which includes police background checks, a driver's abstract, and a one-on-one interview with the prospective adoptive family.
Those interested in adoption also take a course offered by Family & Children's Services, and are able to participate in a matching process.
Trofymowych said that adoptive families can indicate whether they are willing to take on a child with special needs, and what age and sex of child they would prefer.
But, ultimately, the matching is designed "to find the best family for the child, a family who can meet the needs of the child," said Trofymowych.
For the Lichtys, it seems as if the match was one made in heaven.
"We think it was divine, because we have had lots of people comment on how the boys look like Harold, or the other children, but there was no time for matching," said Carolyn.
The Lichtys were hoping to have a Christmas celebration welcoming the boys to their family, but the busyness of the season, along with a few seasonal illnesses, made that impossible. Instead, they have sent out cards with a family photo, announcing the adoption of Benjamin and Joshua — which just became official last month.
The Lichtys would recommend this experience to anyone.
"It's been just amazing," said Carolyn.
Currently, Family & Children's Services has 24 children available for adoption, ranging in age from babies to 15-year-olds. There are children with special needs, as well as siblings that the agency would like to keep together. For more information, visit www.adoptingkids.ca.