The Moody family fell in love with little Isla the moment they set their eyes on her. Ultimately, she was a foster fail - they decided to adopt her almost immediately.
Two-year-old Isla was officially adopted by her foster parents Evan and Cayela Moody on April 30 via a Zoom call. She had spent nearly all her life with the Moodys, the formal adoption process took way longer than they expected it to. Due to the ongoing pandemic, the adoption ceremony had to take place over a Zoom call, but that didn't stop the family from throwing the little girl the adoption party she deserved. A parade of a dozen decorated cars drove past the family's home; everyone in the neighborhood wanted to celebrate the long-awaited occasion, Good Morning America reports.
Isla entered the Moodys' lives a month after the parents of four biological children received their foster care license in 2018. They received a call about a four-pound, eight-ounce premature baby in need of a home. Cayela immediately drove to the hospital - which was 90 minutes away - with her two daughters in order to pick up the newborn. In the meantime, Evan stayed at home with their two sons in order to build the newest addition to their family a crib. The couple didn't spend a long time thinking about whether they wanted to adopt Isla; they fell in love with her almost immediately.
Cayela shared, "We'd had Isla for 48 hours and somebody asked if she needed us for adoption, would we want to? I brought it up to Evan and he said, 'You won't need to ask me again. If she needs us for adoption I'm all in.' I fell in love with Isla the first time I saw her." They spent the next two years on a rollercoaster ride of adoption. After many ups and downs, the parents finally discovered that they would be able to adopt the girl in February. Sadly, as they waited for a court date to make things official, the outbreak hit the United States, stalling the process. "They basically stopped all operations for a while at least," Evan stated. "We knew in February that it was pretty much a certainty that she was going to be with us forever, but the actual adoption ceremony itself and decree was on hold indefinitely at that point."
Eventually, however, courts began moving procedures online and with more than two dozen families watching on during a Zoom call, the adoption was finalized. Later that day, the community came together to celebrate the "articulate, beautiful, and easygoing" two-year-old's adoption. Her newly-adoptive father said, "Whether or not she had understanding at all, or to what degree she understood what was going on, we'll be able to look back at that day and say you were really loved by a lot of people. And yeah, you were adopted during a pandemic and that was super weird, but that being said, you didn't just have a party, you had a parade."
The Moodys had help organizing the parade. Fostering Hope, the foster care support organization that helped the family with Isla's adoption (which Cayela now helps run), orchestrated the celebration. "Everybody wanted to be part of Isla's adoption, but I thought I can't do this right now, we'll throw a party later," revealed Cayela. "A friend asked if it would be okay to throw a parade and I said that'd be fine. I wanted people who supported us and Isla to be able to celebrate because they've been part of this, too." Though Isla was ultimately a foster fail - she became a part of the Moody family very quickly - Evan and Cayela encourage everyone who can to foster.
"Isla was the very first placement that we had and it was a learning process for us, emotionally, for the entire family quite honestly," the father stated. "We had a group of people around us who loved us and encouraged us, people who had been through this forever to help guide us... It's kind of cliché, but it really does take a village to make it work." Newly-adoptive mom Cayela added, "There's a place for everybody to care for and love foster children. Maybe it's just delivering a meal or helping throw birthday parties or providing Christmas gifts, just meeting needs where they arise."