After being adopted himself, 9-year-old NC boy spends his birthday finding forever homes for other kids

ABERDEEN, N.C. (WTVD) -- It's a Christmas memory that will live on for years to come: A teen girl from Ukraine finds her forever home in the United States.

But the story actually starts with a 9-year-old North Carolina boy named Grady Bartholf.

For his birthday, he wanted to raise money to help families complete their adoption dreams.

And being adopted himself, Grady knew how special that would be.

"Family has always been so important to Grady," his mother, Bhavana Bartholf, said. "This year, leading up to his birthday, he came to us and said that moving forward, his only wish is to make sure that he helps at least one kid get adopted each year for his birthday."

Stay on top of breaking news stories with the ABC11 News App

So, he set out to raise $4,000 in donations. His efforts actually raked in more than $12,000.

He gave the money to the North Carolina Gift of Adoption charity, an organization that provides financial assistance to families to help them complete adoptions.

The organization then gave the money to the Hicks family in Aberdeen.

Just before midnight on Wednesday, the family piled in their car and headed to RDU to meet their newest member: 16-year-old Anastasia.

A sea of hugs and tears erupted as the family reunited in the terminal.

EMBED More News Videos

Raw footage of Anastasia reuniting with her family at RDU

"I'm sure excited," Anastasia's adopted sister said. "When we first met her I always felt like she wasn't leaving."

This time she won't have to.

After the teen visited her host family, they knew it was a perfect fit.

Bartholf's fundraiser also helped two other children find their forever homes.
Copyright © 2022 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.