Shannon and Josh Newton - along with their biological children, 6-year-old Nash and 4-year-old Nyla - made up the picture perfect family of four.
But things changed about a year ago, when Shannon saw a news story about foreign adoptions. Her curiosity peaked as she wondered if there was a need in Arkansas. Her computer research took her straight to Arkansas' DHS Heart Gallery.
"As I scrolled through the images of the thumbnails and paragraphs about their favorite colors and what they like to eat and what they wanna be when they grow up, I completely lost it," Shannon remembered.
She began a conversation with her husband and after months of discussion, they decided to begin the adoption process. They wanted a boy aged 9-13.
"We hypothetically selected six boys we would begin praying for and perhaps would lead to them joining our family and David was one of those 6 boys."
David was a 16-year-old who THV11 featured in August during our "A Place to Call Home" series. Back then, David said he desperately wanted a family, but at his age, he wasn't sure it would ever happen.
- PREVIOUS STORY ON DAVID: http://on.kthv.com/JohF0L
Meantime, at the Newton household, the process to adopt was well underway. The family had met David at non-profit adoption gatherings. They'd seen THV11's story. But David didn't know they were interested in him.
"He was a little older than what we thought we wanted or would be a good fit," the Newtons admitted. "But after meeting him, we were convinced it would be a good fit even though he was 16."
"All of the things - the good spirit, good attitude, the want to, the willingness and all of those attributes we thought we could work with - he had," they said.
In November, the family was approved to adopt. And on a rainy afternoon, David was pulled from school, told only that DHS needed to meet with him - and that it would be a day he'd never forget.
"I saw this book that had my picture on it," David said. "I thought - what is that? Had it in their bag, eyes kept going back to it and they said there's a family that wants to adopt you - really? Gave me the book- hey I know these people! I met these people, yeah!"
The next weekend, the family took David to a Razorback football game at War Memorial stadium; the Newton's younger children loved their new big brother.
"They were super excited. David can do cannonballs, David can push 'em on the swingset, David can play Mario Kart," they said. "He's wonderful with [the] children. I cannot overstate that he was meant to be their big brother. It's been completely emotionally amazing."
At the Newtons, David has his own room for the first time, but he still remembers his past. He hadn't had a family in 10 years and lived in a group home for six years.
"I was really happy, really excited to leave but on the other hand, I had been there for so long, it was a second home to me," David said. "I was used to the unknown but this is one of the best changes in my life ever."
He now treasures the book his adoptive family made for him - In one of the photos they snipped their family photo in half and placed David right in the center.
"This is a loving family," he says. "I really love them"
And as for the Newtons, "It feels like that's the way it's supposed to be. We are Newton family of 5 now."