This week marked an extra special birthday for Roman Nehemiah of Clay County, Florida.
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Just hours before he turned 18 — when he would have aged out of the foster care system — his parents, Renee and Brad Balassaitis, officially adopted him, changing his name to Roman Nehamiah Balassaitis.
“Today was a race to the finish line for Roman, a day before he turns 18,” Renee Balassaitis told WTLV-TV. “And, once he turns 18, there’s no adoption through the state as a minor. We’d have to go about it a whole different way.”
“A lot of people worked really hard at the end to get it all done in the nick of time,” he added.
The Balassaitises have fostered around 20 kids over the course of their marriage, several of whom they have adopted.
“Now we know we have nine kids, officially,” Brad Balassaitis said. “It’s incredible. I mean, we’re hours away from him turning 18. And we started this process months and months ago, trying to make sure that, you know, that he wouldn’t age out and become a statistic.”
While certainly excited, Roman Balassaitis was also pretty nervous about getting down to the wire.
“I was sweating bad,” he told the local news outlet. “My heart was beating. I was very happy. It means I have someone to go to. It means, if I need someone to talk to, I have people to talk to now.”
The newly adopted teen is grateful to God it worked out.
He said, “Thank God! I want to say, ‘Thank God, it happened!'”
Renee Balassaitis said she knows her son is “very relieved” to officially be part of the family, adding, “He just needed to know people believed in him, and he was wanted, and chosen. That’s a big deal for kids in care at any age, but especially older kids.”
“I want other kids who are aging out of the system to know that you might not be adopted in the nick of time,” she continued, “but there are people that will choose to love you if you can dare to trust us.”
Brad Balassaitis said he’s glad Roman “doesn’t have to worry about bouncing around anymore.
“He knows that we’re here for him,” he said.
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