LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - On this National Adoption Day, many children across the country will be adopted. And today marks the end of that journey for one family here in Deep East Texas.
Felicia and Jason Arnold just finalized the adoption of Ariana but they say the love for her came long before the paperwork.
"It was just amazing how you could fall in love that you've never physically met before," said Felicia Arnold.
Typically it's harder for children over six to be adopted, many spending at least four years in foster care. But thanks to the Arnold's, that won't be the case for 12-year-old Ariana, making this love story truly unique.
"It was one of those things where we didn't know we were looking for an older child, but when we found her we were like 'well yeah, that's who it's supposed to be'. And that's why we didn't want a younger child," said Jason Arnold.
She joins 6 year old Noah...
"She's so fun, she lets us jump high," said Noah Arnold.
…and 3 year old Landry.
Although the newest member of the family…
"They're pretty cool…they're hyper," said Ariana Arnold.
…you can't tell by just looking.
"She looks like me, it's the strangest thing. We saw her and fell in love with her instantly," Felicia said.
Ariana and The Arnolds first met face-to-face in March, but a lengthy vetting process didn't allow her to come home until June. The Arnolds used that time as a teaching moment for the boys.
"We would pray for their new brother or sister every night and we just continued that and when we found out that we were chosen for Ariana, we changed it to sister kind of subtlety," Felicia said.
She's lived the last two years of her life in foster care, now she sits in this room, not among strangers, but family.
"She has a forever home and a forever family and there's a lot of things that she's going to have to worry about, just life in general, but having us isn't going to be one of them," Jason said.