National Adoption Month

7 Times People Were Totally Surprised By An Adoption Announcement, Giving Us All The Feels

Cue the happy tears and hugs.

November is National Adoption Month. In honor of the month, we will be bringing attention to the thousands of people in foster care awaiting forever homes, as well as those who provide and advocate for them. These stories emphasize the idea that families are bound together by the love they share, rather than their biological roots.  


When a family decides to adopt a child, it's a momentous occasion often celebrated with a big announcement. Even better, is when the family surprises the adoptee with the news, and captures their reaction on camera. The long-awaited moment is usually filled with hugs and happy tears. 

In honor of those families and National Adoption Month, we're celebrating 7 of our favorite radoption surprise moments. The reactions show us just how meaningful a forever home really is. 

1. The moment this 11-year-old was told her adoption process was complete.

Foster mom Jen Fisher and her husband had been trying to adopt Tannah, 11,  Teagun, 6, Tallie, 2, for more than two years when the courts finally granted them permission to do so. Knowing how stressed Tannah had been about the situation, Fisher wanted her to learn the good news as soon as possible

Because she was in school all day, her parents couldn't wait until she got home. So instead, they asked the school's office manager, Jackie Alexander, to deliver the news for them. In the above video, Alexander tells Tannah she is going to be adopted by her foster parents, and Tannah immediately leaps into Alexander's arms. "This is pure testament that in a world full of turmoil and strife, there is still light and joy to be found in little everyday moments," Alexander wrote on Instagram. 

2. The moment this family heard four Eastern European children would be joining them.

North Carolina-based couple Drew and Tammy Waltz decided to surprise their entire family with the news that they weren't adopting just one, but four children — all siblings from Eastern Europe. They captured each family member's reaction on video and combined them all into one heartwarming masterpiece.

The couple's adoption journey first began in 2016 when they hosted the three brothers and one sister for five weeks through Open Hearts and Homes for Children, a hosting program that aims to help orphans around the world find forever homes by staying with an American family. After their time together, the Waltzes knew they couldn't let the four siblings go and, in March 2017, made the official decision to adopt the siblings. Currently, the couple is awaiting a court date to finalize their adoption.

3. The moment these sisters got to meet the new addition to their family.

Because adoption can be a long arduous process, Kasi and Shane Pruitt decided to keep their adoption of a baby girl a secret from their two older daughters, Harper and Raygen until the minute they brought her home. According to their dad, the girls' reaction was "priceless." 

Shane posted a video to Twitter of the heartwarming moment their daughters finally got to meet the surprise addition to their growing family (the Pruitts had previously adopted two sons, Titus and Elliot). As the video shows, when the girls first laid eyes on their new sister, Harper said, "Are you kidding me?" and an emotional Raygen began to cry.

4. The moment he found out he could officially share a last name with his mom's husband.

Landon, an 11-year-old boy, only wanted one thing for Christmas: to be adopted by his mother, Janelle's, husband, Daniel Rice. He'd been dreaming of the moment since he was 5 years old. "He said he wanted to 'marry daddy' the way I did, so he could have the same last name," Janelle Rice told Mashable. The adoption process finished just in time for Christmas so Daniel and Janelle decided to wrap up the adoption certificate and place it under the tree to surprise Landon

In the video, when Landon read the certificate stating, "This is to certify that Landon Ryan Rice will be formally adopted by Daniel Rice February 2017. It's not flesh and blood, but the heart that makes us father and son," he was overcome with emotion. The only thing to do? Cry and hug his adoptive father, of course.

5. The moment those at Disney World helped two adoptive parents make a surprise announcement to the kids.

Courtney Gilmour and her husband, Tom worked with Disney World to create a magical surprise for their adoptive children-to-be Janielle, 12, and Elijah, 10. After learning their official adoption date, May 24, 2017, after booking tickets to the Magic Kingdom Courtney Gilmour told A Plus she thought it'd be cool for Mickey Mouse to deliver the life-changing news to the kids during a meet-and-greet at the park. 

As the video shows, Janielle and Elijah met Mickey, took photos together, and even watched him perform a card trick, before the real magic happened: He showed them a big sign with their adoption date. "Once the sign was revealed, I saw so many emotions on their faces at once," Gilmour explained. "After it settled down, they were beyond excited and immediately started counting down the days!" 

5. The moment she presented her stepdad with adoption papers.

Adoption annoucement videos are often taken to remember the surprise of children gaining new parents. But 17-year-old Sarah turned all that on its head when she presented her stepfather, Vincent VonTobel, with a wrapped gift box... containing her adoption papers.

In the video, Vincent immediately begins to cry upon seeing the papers. Sarah gets up to give him a big hug. "I love you so much," she says while they embrace. "He is honestly pretty strong both physically and emotionally. I didn't realize until he broke how significant and important it was to him," Sarah's mother Jessica VonTobel told Inside Edition at the time. "It was like everything in our family was complete."

6. The moment this foster parent decided to become this toddler's forever parent.

When Michael Brown (now 3) was just 18 months old, he was put into the foster home of Tara Montgomery.  She and her two daughters were his third foster family. After his time with the Montgomerys, Brown was supposed to be reunited with his biological mother, however, after 832 days in foster care, that plan fell through. Instead, Montgomery was able to officially adopt the toddler on December 20, and the photo of his triumphant reaction subsequently went viral. 

While Montgomery didn't initially plan on adopting Brown, she had a change of heart after spending so much time with the little boy. "As a single parent, I was not looking to adopt, just to help kids during transition," she told HuffPost. "But that changed with Michael. It felt like he was a part of our family right from the start."

7. The moment these three siblings realized their Christmas present was an official adoption.

In 2015, two days before Christmas, Sarah and Michael Perks received finalized adoption papers for their three foster children, 13-year-old Corbin, 8-year-old Kierra, and 4-year-old Damien. "We thought it would be a good idea to put their adoption papers under the tree," Michael Perks told PEOPLE. "We thought it would be a great surprise. It would be the best present that we could give them."

In a Facebook video, the Perks captured the moment Corbin, Kierra, and Damien, each received their first Christmas present – finalized adoption papers. The three adopted siblings had been in foster care with the Perks for about six years before the family was able to make it official. In the above video, Corbin appears to be the most affected by the news, crying and hugging his new parents. However, Perks noted, "It was really, really emotional for everybody. Everybody was hugging and kissing, smiles all around." 


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