Toddler best friends Hannah and Dawson were reunited at the Dallas Fort Worth International Airport on Thursday after spending almost a year apart from each other – and their reactions were priceless.
The dynamic duo became inseparable in the Changsha, China, orphanage they grew up in – but when a Plano, Texas, family adopted Hannah, 4, last year, she didn’t know if she’d get to see her best friend again.
Until last week.
Hannah and her parents, Sharon and Andy Sykes, greeted Dawson, 3, when he touched down in the U.S. on Thursday with his new family, who also live in Plano.
“They call each other brother and sister because they have this amazing connection,” Dawson’s mother, Amy Clary, tells PEOPLE. “They have this crazy bond. And we live so close to Hannah, now they can always lean on each other as they figure out their lives in this unfamiliar world!
“It was meant to be.”
When Sharon and Andy decided to adopt Hannah, they were heartbroken to hear that their daughter would be leaving behind her best friend. So they made it their mission to find Dawson a forever family of his own nearby.
“A friend showed me photos of Hannah and Dawson together in that orphanage and told me about Sharon’s quest, and I knew this was meant to be,” says Amy. “I saw Dawson’s sweet smile and you could see his personality in the pictures, I fell in love and I said, ‘Let’s do it!’ to my husband.”
Amy and her husband, Chris, were able to bring Dawson into their family through an agency called Gladney.
“He just wanted to be loved,” she adds. “And we were able to give that to him. We love him so much.”
“Dawson and Hannah were likely abandoned in China for medical reasons,” says Amy.
Dawson suffers from a condition called hydrocephalus, which causes a build-up of fluid within the brain, and can lead to behavioral and cognitive complications later on in life. And Hannah was born with a cleft lip and palate.
“Everybody has a special need.” adds Amy. “We don’t see it as a ‘special need,’ just part of who are child is.”
Hannah and Dawson have spent every day together since Dawson landed in the U.S. as their families live only five minutes away from each other.
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“Sharon and I have become best friends and our families have become best friends because of Dawson and Hannah,” explains Amy. “The photos and video of them from Thursday – that’s what it’s like every single time they get together.”
“When I tell Dawson that Hannah is coming over, he runs to the window and yells her name. It’s adorable.”
Both families say Hannah and Dawson will be “friends for life.”
“Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were wedding bells in the future!” says Amy with a laugh. “I’ve never seen a bond like this one these two have – and they’re only toddlers!”
And for any couples considering adopting, Amy says her choice to add Dawson to her family was “the most rewarding thing” she’s ever done.
“What’s more important than saving babies?” she says. “Everyone needs love in this world.”