Georgetown family celebrating first Christmas as forever family

AJ and Jay Lamaak run around the playground in Georgetown like young should do. 

"It feels good. It feels like I'm free," said six-year-old AJ. 

"It's delightful to see them be kids and not worry about where their next meal or where they are going to sleep," explained Cheryl Lamaak. 

Lamaak couldn't ask for more this Christmas. Hearing the word Mom will never get old. 

"It always lifts my spirits but my heart swells. I wasn't sure when I'd become a Mom. These two are the lights of my life," she said smiling. 

In 2014, CPS took the brothers from their home. The boys were placed in foster care and ended up in Lamaak's home. 

They spent two years in foster care and were placed in Lamaak's home through Upbring. Upbring is the state's largest 

provider of foster care and adoption services and was formally known as Lutheran Social Services of the South. 

Earlier this year in the eyes of the state AJ and Jay officially became Cheryl's sons. 

"It feels really special to me when me and my brother got adopted," said AJ. 

"It's really special because we got adopted on that day," said Jay. 

The new forever family celebrated with a trip to Disney World. 

"For me it's permanence. Before I never knew if they were going to be moved within a few days, weeks, months.

This time we know we have a Christmas that's not overshadowed we know we are going to be together forever," said Cheryl. 

"Texas is growing so fast along with the cases of neglect and abuse. The need is greater than ever and it's our hope to see every child treated the way they deserve to be treated," said Donna Palmer, the Chief External Relations Officer for Upbring. 

Palmer is working to help more children like AJ and Jay find loving home. 

Last year in Texas there were more than 66,000 victims of child abuse. 

"It's the greatest joy to be able to provide that support for families. There's nothing better to see a family with a child and the child is thriving," added Palmer. 

Palmer knows the feeling. She adopted her daughter Ellie when she was just 12 months old.

"I wasn't born in her stomach but she always says I was born in heart," said Ellie Palmer. 

"Every child has potential they just need to feel loved and accepted and just need to belong to someone," said Palmer.

Lamaak is grateful for Upbring and the organization's continued support. 

"There are a lot of kids out there in need of homes. They are delightful children but have circumstances that are difficult, but they all deserve a permanent home," said Lamaak. 

She hopes to see more kids smiling and more kids playing like her sons, two gifts that keep on giving. 

"When they laugh, it brings a smile to my face. It's a joy to be their mom. 

Lamaak and Palmer know adoption isn't for everyone. They encourage people who are interested to learn more about the process and for others to support those who do. 

You can learn more about adoption and foster care through Upbring

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