Five Kansas siblings who were removed from their mother’s custody a year ago and sent to separate foster homes will most likely have their wish fulfilled to be adopted together after a viral response to their plea.
Since the children, ages 2 to 11, were featured in a weekly “Family Wanted” appeal last weekend in the Kansas City Star, more than 4 million people have clicked on their profile and more than 3,000 requests have been received to adopt the siblings, says Theresa Freed, communications director for the Kansas Department for Children and Families.
“So many people were able to instantly see these children in their family, and after learning more about the kids by reading their bios, that desire to adopt them grew,” Freed tells PEOPLE. “This is a special group of children that will be a blessing to a special family, someday soon.”
“We’re excited for their future,” she adds, “and it’s our hope the tremendous outpouring of love for five unknown children will carry over to the hundreds of other children in Kansas who are currently waiting to be adopted.”
Caseworkers have now narrowed applications to seven families hoping to adopt Bradley, 11, Preston, 10, Layla, 8, Landon, 6, and Olive, 2, says Freed.
Bradley loves music, math, science and playing soccer, she says, while Preston is an animal lover who enjoys fishing and exploring the outdoors. Layla is a hip-hop dance enthusiast who also likes baseball, and Landon collects Pokeman cards and “running as fast as he can.”
Olive, the youngest, is a typical toddler who likes toys and board books, but mostly just “wants to be cuddled and held,” says Freed.
The children tell PEOPLE that they’ve dreamed of living together again since they were separated last year.
“I want to live like a family and do sports and go on vacations,” says Landon.
“It would be nice to have my own bedroom and my own space,” says Layla, “and I would like to do gymnastics. See, I can do the splits.”
Although adoption caseworkers try to keep siblings together whenever possible, they are often separated because there aren’t enough foster families willing or able to take in more than one or two children at a time, says Freed.
“Unfortunately, this case isn’t unusual,” she tells PEOPLE. “We have always wanted the children to remain together, but it’s often difficult to find foster homes that take in large sibling groups.” Although requests to adopt the children have come in from as far away as Ireland, “we’re hoping to find a family that will keep them in Kansas.”
In addition to their wish for “two loving parents,” the siblings say they’d appreciate a donkey and a horse, although they’ll settle for a cat and a dog or two.
“The kids are very active and they’d like a family with a house large enough for them to run and play and be kids,” Freed tells PEOPLE. “We’re going to do our very best to make that happen.”