The friendship of two young men has survived from their harrowing childhood in Mozambique to their somehow being adopted by two different couples in Arizona who just happened to live a mere 2 miles apart, AZ Central Sports reports.
Kelvin Lewis and Afonso Slater were fast friends even before they were placed in an orphanage in their native country in 2002 after losing their parents.
“In my earliest memories, I’ve always known Kelvin,” Slater said. “I remember he had this type of monkey. I would go over to his house and we would play with his monkey.”
Tragedy struck both boys in early childhood. Lewis didn’t know his father, and his mother died of AIDS when he was just 4 years old. Slater lost both of his parents to AIDS before his 4th birthday.
“The only memory I have is crying the day one of them died,” Slater recalled. “I don’t know which one.”
In a twist of fate, both boys just happened to be adopted eight years ago by two separate Gilbert, Ariz., families who were aquaintances through their older children but didn’t know each other that well. The families lived 2 miles apart in the tight-knit community, allowing the boys to continue growing up together and nurturing their friendship.
The young men, to this day, marvel at the coincidence.
“It’s crazy,” Slater said. “Honestly, it didn’t really register how much of a miracle and how amazing this really was until we got here. It’s just wonderful.”
“We had found these children independently, and we hadn’t realized they were best friends,” Sharon Slater, Afonso’s adoptive mother, said. “Yes, I think it’s amazing, but I don’t believe in coincidences. I believe in God-incidences. I don’t think this all happened by chance.” The Slaters also adopted Afonso’s older siblings: Luis, 11 at the time, and Amelia, 9.
Together, Afonso Slater and Kelvin Lewis learned how to adapt to a new country and a new language, leaning on each other all the while.
“Having Kelvin around … he was someone I could relate to,” Slater said. “Gilbert is a very family-friendly place, and I was very welcomed, but sometimes I couldn’t really understand everything. But I could talk to Kelvin about it.”
The young men, grown up now, are bringing their high school years in Gilbert to a close. But that doesn’t mean they’ll be separated: Both have beeen accepted into Brigham Young University and will be roommates in the fall.
“The way I like to think about it is that God put me in his life. There’s no way this could be chance,” Slater said. “I feel like God is running my life and he wants me to stay with Kelvin for some reason.”
Read more at USA Today.