None of us remembers what happened during our first birthday parties, but Abraham Walker remembers his clearly. In fact, he’d say it’s one of the best days of his life.
Abraham is originally from Sierra Leone in West Africa and was adopted by Jamie Walker and Joe Walker in October 2021. He’s never had a birthday celebration, so his family decided to hold one for him.
On May 19, Jamie Walker walked out carrying an extra special cake for Abraham’s first birthday since they adopted him and brought him to America.
In a video Jamie shared on Facebook, the family is seen gathered in the kitchen as they start singing Abraham a happy birthday.
The camera pans to Abraham, who was clearly in awe upon seeing the very first birthday cake he’d had in his life. Covering his mouth with his hands, he broke down in sobs as his sisters record his reaction with their phones.
“We never knew about something called a birthday,” he said. “It just feels like God is showing all the blessings in you. Everybody in the whole world is giving you their best love that they have ever given. That is what it feels like to have that cake.”
As Jamie set down the cake, the sixth-grader suddenly got up and ran over to his dad and gave him a hug. Everyone asked him to make a wish, but the celebrant was just overcome with emotion. He also gave Jamie a long embrace, still crying happy tears over the sweet gesture, before finally blowing out the candles.
“What a gift He is,” Jamie wrote on Facebook. “What a gift this moment was. Incredibly simple yet wholly significant. As it unfolded it dawned on me that Abraham would have no idea what ‘make a wish’ meant so we let him have a redo.”
The Walkers adopted Abraham and his older brother, James, in October 2021. Joe first met them when he took a trip to Sierra Leone with a friend who opened an orphanage there.
“It was their 10-year anniversary. And I wanted to go play with the kids. I wanted to see what was all about,” Joe said.
During his stay there, the now-father-of-six spent his time reading books and playing soccer with the local kids. That’s where he first met James, whom he formed a really close bond with.
The couple soon began sponsoring James and communicated with him over Skype every month. Unfortunately, six months later, James was forced out of the orphanage.
Joe wanted to keep in touch with him, so he got him a phone. They were able to meet Abraham when James returned to his village.
For a month, the Walkers FaceTimed the brothers every day.
“We knew that if they didn’t get back to the orphanage they were going to be put back on the streets, and so we put a team together,” Joe said.
With their team’s efforts, Joe was able to get the brothers reunited and sent back to the Raining Season Orphanage. He then hopped on a plane to Sierra Leone to visit Abraham and James.
“And by then we had formed this really special connected bond,” Joe said. “And I came home from that trip and said to my wife, ‘I just feel like there’s more being asked of us.’”
Jamie and Joe sat down with their four kids and discussed the possibility of them adopting Abraham and James. After receiving a quick and unanimous yes from their children, they asked the brothers if they would be interested in being a part of their family.
“And we told them that they weren’t allowed to answer us that day,” Joe explained. “We asked him to think of all of the positive things and then to think of the things that would be really challenging and hard… They were really excited and they wanted to be a part of the family and know what a family was.”
The pandemic delayed the Walkers’ travel plans amid the adoption process. But as soon as the restrictions were lifted, Joe was on a plane to see the boys.
“I got back over there and was visiting with them and that’s when we got the notice from USCIS that it was time to actually go back and pick them up,” he said.
When asked what he likes most about America, Abraham said, “everything.”
“It’s really, really fun,” he said. “And getting used to the weather, the food and some of this stuff. It’s kind of a new experience for me. And it’s also nice.”
The couple also loves seeing the brothers enjoy their “firsts,” including haircuts, school, and even their first car wash.
“It’s absolutely magical and amazing because you think about the first time you take a toddler through, and they’re like in awe. And some kids hate it. It’s the same, only they’re old enough to verbalize how crazy this experience is,” Jamie told WJZY.
Abraham has nothing but love and gratitude for his adoptive parents.
“I love them more than they can ever imagine in the world. They’re the ones that showed me to the world, and showed me what happiness is, and showed me what love is, and showed me what it means to have a family around you. I really, really want to say thank you to them for that,” he said.
The Walkers said that paperwork isn’t taken very seriously in Sierra Leone, so they believe the siblings’ birth certificates have them a little older than they actually are but said that Abraham is in sixth grade and James is in ninth grade.
Watch Abraham’s touching reaction to his very first birthday cake in the video below.