PLANO, Texas — A Collin County couple officially adopted four children on Tuesday via Zoom.
As technology specialists by profession, Yves and Khalila Hughes hope to use their IT skills to help more children find forever homes.
"I started to hear about the great need," Yves Hughes Jr. said from his home in Plano, recalling discussions with his wife Khalila about the estimated 30,000 children in foster homes in Texas and the near half-million across the U.S.
"We always talked about adoption," said Khalila. "It's something very important to us."
So important that back in 2018, they became licensed to be foster parents with the intent to offer their home to an older child.
"I get a phone call," Yves said of the call that came while he was shopping in a home improvement store. "Are you ready. We have four."
Four siblings who had been removed from a neglectful home: Nyla is 15, Marcus is 14, Aaliyah is 8, and Zayden is 6.
"We had no idea what we were getting ourselves into at all," Khalila said.
"God just prepared us and got us in the right place to be ready," Yves answered.
"And then it became something where we were like this is us, this is our family," Khalila said.
Adoptions go virtual during pandemic
And in 2020, how do you officially become an adoptive family?
Like everything else, you do it by Zoom.
Judge Cyndi Wheless presiding from a Collin County courtroom, the Hughes family in their living room, and members of their extended families joined to watch the proceedings from across the country.
"This series of events made it possible for everybody to spend this time together and be with us on this day," Khalila Hughes said.
"Congratulations, forever Mom and Dad," Wheless said as the assembled Zoom crowd broke into applause and the Hughes children sang along to "All I Want for Christmas is You."
"I just wanted them to know that we love them, they're safe, we have a home and we're a family," Yves Hughes said.
Nyla proved that to be true with just one word. I asked her what this day really means.
"Everything," she said.
Everything. The best answer you'll ever get - even by Zoom - with the Hughes family truly enjoying the most wonderful time of their year.
As IT professionals, Yves and Khalila admit they are not fond of paperwork.
And, because they fear the obstacle of applications, training, and all that paperwork might prove a barrier for some prospective parents, they started their own technology support system to help guide families through the process.