Every year, Christmas is about being with the ones you love: your family. For one group of siblings, that has never been more true.
Like millions of Americans, the five Dotie siblings are flying home for Christmas.
However, this is not a yearly trip back to see familiar faces. They're going home for the first time.
"We're going to Georgia," says 9-year-old Stacey Dotie, the oldest. "[We're going] because somebody adopted us."
Stacey, Ladarrius, Jonas, Shaybrell, and Ivery will fly more than 800 miles to Valdosta, Georgia.
The Doties range in age from five to nine years old and say this is not only their first Christmas in a new home but also their first flight. The excitement has 6-year-old Shaybrell literally jumping for joy all morning long.
"We've been waiting for this day for a very long time and it has finally come," says the children's case worker, Linda Pickens. "It kinda feels like the kids are getting a Christmas present - a family. And the family's getting a Christmas gift because they're getting all five siblings."
Pickens knows how special this day is. The Doties beat the odds. Such large groups are rarely adopted together.
"It's very rare because sometimes they want only one or two or they'll take the boys and not the girls," Pickens says. "But we are really, really elated that they wanted all five because they believe in family, and they believe in keeping family together."
The children's adoptive parents, Bruce and Roselyn Gipson, have already adopted seven other children- all now adults.
Because the foster care system separates siblings into different houses- essentially removing them from the family they have left- this is also a reunion for the kids. It is the first time all the children will live under one roof since their parents lost custody.
"When the kids found out that they were going what they wanted to know was 'Can we all be together? Can we all go to the same school?' When I told them, 'yes,' they were really excited about it. They can't hardly wait," Pickens says.
As the Doties leave Louisiana behind, these five siblings look forward to a new future and new memories with a forever family.
For more information on adoption, call the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services at (318) 676-7100.