A couple in Holiday, Florida, was unable to turn away when they encountered two homeless children outside their church.
Pastor Ronnie Stewart and his wife Krystal started Refuge Church to help those in the community.
When they saw a boy looking into the church through glass doors, they were shocked.
While working on a project with Metropolitan Ministries to give hot meals to the homeless, they saw the boy and his younger brother in a car seat.
Bay 9 News reported that Mark Purcell, executive chef at Metropolitan Ministries, saw the boys and their parents first.
“The mother was shy and timid and hiding in the corner," Purcell said.
He invited them to Refuge Church for a hot meal the next day, when the Stewarts saw them.
“We noticed right outside the glass doors that a family with two small children was sitting outside the awning of the church," Krystal Stewart said.
After encountering the family multiple times, the Stewarts offered to take the children in one cold night to clean them up, and the parents accepted.
"They were covered in bug bites, head to toe. They were so filthy that we actually had to bathe and drain and bathe again, two different times," Krystal Stewart told WITI. "The toddler who did have shoes on didn’t have any socks on. When we took his shoes off, the little skin on the top of his feet actually came off."
The couple wanted to work with the parents to get them into housing too, but they rejected the offer.
"Because of their lifestyle of substance abuse and drugs, they wanted to live out with their homeless population," Krystal Stewart said.
After awhile, a social worker met with the parents, who asked the Stewarts if they could take in their children.
The boys stayed with the Stewarts for five months.
The parents asked the Stewarts in March if they would adopt the children.
The boys, which Today.com reported are 2 years old and 11 months, are now part of the family and have three siblings: Ronnie, 15, Riley, 13, and Selah, 8.
The couple set up a GoFundMe page to help with legal costs and the process of finalizing the adoption of the two boys.
Donors have raised over $22,000, surpassing the $10,000 goal.
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