Florida Teen Gets Adopted Hours Before His 18th Birthday: 'A Huge Weight Has Been Lifted’

Brad and Renee Balassaitis adopted Roman Balassaitis last week, just one day shy of his 18th birthday

A teen found his forever home in the nick of time!

Brad and Renee Balassaitis adopted Roman Balassaitis just one day before he turned 18, according to First Coast News in Jacksonville, USA Today and Today.

“We started to put the wheels in motion and it took a while,” Brad Balassaitis, who has adopted seven children with his wife, told USA Today.

The couple, who are parents of nine, have been hard at work since the beginning of this year in order to adopt Roman, the outlet reported.

“It was kind of a race to the finish at the end but we really wanted to make sure it happened before his 18th birthday because we wanted to make sure he didn't age out of the system and then not have that same support," Brad told the newspaper.

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The teenager had stayed with the family in the past, once for about nine months when he was 13, but wasn’t ready to be adopted at the time, the couple said.

But after reconnecting with the Balassaitis family last year, Roman knew he'd found his home.

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And on Christmas morning last year, Roman received the ultimate present when Brad and Renee told him they were adopting him, per Today.

“We were all sobbing,” Renee, 47, told the outlet. “All Roman has ever wanted was to find his forever family.”

Related: N.Y. Girl, 5, Adopted by Family Who Fostered Her for Almost 2,000 Days: 'We're Very Blessed'

Last week, the family made the adoption official over Zoom and in the Clay County Historic Courthouse, about 40 miles outside of Jacksonville.

“I was sweating bad. My heart was beating. I was very happy,” Roman said, per First Coast News. “It means I have someone to go to. It means if I need someone to talk to, I have people to talk to now.”

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Renee agreed, and then added some motherly intuition about the outdoorsy teen who loves to fish and to go mudding with his friends.

“He’s going to do so well, he really is,” she told the station. “He needed to know people believed in him and that he was wanted, and chosen, that’s a big deal.”

“Ever since adoption day, Roman has been walking lighter,” she added while speaking with Today. “It’s like a huge weight has been lifted off his shoulders and you can see it in the way he moves. He's incredibly relieved."

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