There's a reason they call Disney "The Most Magical Place on Earth." For some people it's the characters, for others it's the rides, and for some people it's just being at the park that fills their hearts with joy.
For Janielle, age 12, and Elijah, age 10, however, Disney will forever and always be the place their lives changed forever.
Courtney and Tom Gilmour from Portland, Pennsylvania have been fostering the brother and sister for 3 years. They needed a home and the Gilmours were more than happy to give them one. In April, the little family was headed to Disney World on a vacation when Courtney and Tom received some incredible news.
The Gilmours received confirmation of a court date that would finally allow them to adopt Janielle and Elijah into their family. They had been waiting for this day for so long, so Courtney and Tom knew they wanted to make it special.
When they arrived at the park, they were given buttons to write down what they were there to celebrate. Courtney wrote "adopting our kids" on her button and tweeted a picture to the Disney World Twitter account. Within the day, a representative contacted her to ask how they could help.
“I thought that they were going to give us free dessert!” Courtney said.
Instead, Disney enlisted the help of Mickey Mouse to let Janielle and Elijah know they finally had a forever family.
Continue reading to watch their reaction and see what Courtney saw in Janielle at the adoption ceremony that made her melt.
Janielle and Elijah were surprised with a meet and greet with Mickey Mouse, where they thought they'd just be getting their autograph books signed.
“The kids have never been there before, so it didn’t set off any flags that something was happening, we didn’t make it a big deal,” Courtney says.
Instead, it was Mickey who shared the good news that they had a family for good.
Fair warning about the video: you WILL cry.
Courtney called this moment "Pure Disney Magic" and we have to agree with her.
Janielle and Elijah were officially adopted on May 24th, 2016. Courtney says Janielle was probably the most excited out of everyone, because she no longer had to be the sole protector of her little brother.
"When the adoption happened, you saw all of that roll off of her,” Courtney says. “She knew she did not have to have that role anymore and it just came out in tears.”
Since posting the video on July 6th, the Gilmours have had more than 1.9 million people view their special moment.
"That's a million more people who know about adoption and see what love and nurturing can do for children! 1 million reasons to love. But if we only got 1 more person willing to step up, we served our purpose!!!" Courtney shared in a Facebook status.
The family is not permanently connected, even though it may have been a long road to get there.
“Whatever hoops we had to jump through, we jumped through because Janielle and Elijah are worth it,” Courtney says. “There was a lot of crying and laughing and screaming in those three years, but we got to the end goal. We got the happy ending.”