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The Birmingham’s wanted to make a difference but weren’t sure how deeply they wanted to get involved.  For a few days, they cared for two brothers, Matthew and Jamie, whose current foster parents were on vacation.  At the end of their stay, the boys were told that they would always be welcome if they ever needed help in the future.

The two boys went back to their previous foster family, then eventually were returned to their extended family. They were able to reunite with an aunt and uncle. Matthew and Jamie were excited to finally be with family again. Their case was closed, and everyone who was involved considered their placement a success.

Two years passed but, unfortunately, that wasn’t their happy ending. The challenges started as soon as the boys moved. They didn’t report the problems immediately, but their aunt and uncle were training Matthew and Jamie to steal for them. They were emotionally and verbally abused while being forced to commit crimes. When their uncle started to hit them as well, and they finally called for help.

Jamie, the youngest of the two, remembered the Birmingham’s, the couple who had made them feel safe and welcome. After all that time, he still had their phone number. Despite the years that had passed and the short time that they had known the family, the Birmingham home was the one place they wanted to go.

That phone call started the ball rolling. The Birmingham’s called the social worker who was previously on the case. She took the report and reopened the case.  A formal child abuse investigation was filed immediately, and the children were detained the next day.

The Birmingham’s had only intended to provide short-term foster care, but knowing that they had been remembered and requested, the family agreed to take the boys, this time on a long-term basis.

That was several years ago. Today, they are a permanent family—Matthew and Jamie have been adopted and they are thriving. They never wanted to travel the criminal path of their aunt and uncle, a life of theft and grift. Instead, they are doing well in school, have a happy home, and the only thing these two adorable little boys have stolen is two hearts that will love them forever.