TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Sydni and Emery Engle have welcomed nine children into their home as foster parents.
"We were looking as a couple to do something, volunteer work, something to help our community here in Tucson," Sydni said.
The couple started fostering as a way to give back to the community.
Their intention was not to adopt, at least not right away.
That was until they met their third foster child, 2-year-old Natalia, who bounced between homes after her mom died shortly after giving birth.
"The first time of saw her, a thought came into my head… we're gonna adopt this kid, I knew right away," Sydni said. "She was placed in our home as a foster child after being in four different placements before us."
The couple had Natalia for six months until she was placed in a relative's home for five weeks. During that time, the couple knew they wanted to keep Natalia for good.
Her biological father's rights were severed in 2016. Soon after, the couple began the adoption process.
"I didn't expect it to happen this fast and I'm glad it did," Emery said. "It's still sinking in, I didn't think it was gonna be possible."
Emery said he always hoped to adopt a child, but as a transgender man, he thought there might be some challenges along the way.
That's why the couple chose the organization Devereux Arizona. The organization prides itself in helping people from the LGBTQ community adopt and foster children.
Emery said he hopes his case inspires others in the transgender community looking to adopt.
"People like me need advocates and they need to see successes like this," he said. "They need to see stuff like this being achieved by people from marginalized communities."
This Christmas, Natalia has a place to call home and the Engle's a child to call their own.
"Having our first Christmas together as a legal family is just really important," Sydni said.
"Last Christmas, I wrote down my wish was to adopt this baby… and it happened," Emery said.