On Nov. 19, 2021, two little boys – Benjamin and Rylee – understood just a few things. One was that their last name was finally going to be just like that of the two people they have been calling Mommy and Daddy for two years. Another was that there was one heckuva celebration with a lot of happy people.

For Irene and Paul Sell, that day was the culmination of their dreams and hopes as a couple. After years fighting fertility issues, then looking to adopt a baby, the two found their way through foster care to the family they had always wanted.

“I fell in love with them instantly,” Irene says of her 5- and 3-year-old sons, whom she met as foster children when they were about 17 months and 3 years old.

That love has only grown since the first meeting, and calling the boys truly their children give her that “pinch-me-is-it-really-true” kind of feeling, Irene said.

“We are over the moon.”

The boys were young when they came into care, so it was difficult to know what experiences they had in their birth family and how those might impact them.

The Sells consider themselves blessed that they have close ties with the boys’ maternal biological family.

“We’re all family. We do Christmas and Thanksgiving and birthdays together, so the boys have that maternal side connection,” she said. “They were able to join us in court and my family, and my mom and my husband’s mom, all got to participate and take pictures.”

For the boys, the day was mostly about the party and Rylee, especially, was excited to have the same last name as his parents.

“The Judge asked them if they knew what their name was,” Irene said. “The little one is shy and didn’t talk much. But the older one proudly got on the microphone and let the Judge know his new name and even shared his brother’s new name.”

Picture of Beth Cormack
Beth Cormack

Beth is the project manager for the Saint Francis Ministries Marketing and Communications team.

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