Kelvin Lewis and his best friend Afonso Slater, now both 18, have endured a lot during their longtime friendship – including the loss of their respective parents to HIV/AIDS, international adoptions and being accepted into the same American colleges.
The teens, who gave each other support in a Mozambique orphanage after their mothers passed away, were adopted – unknowingly – by two Gilbert, Arizona, families in 2008.
According to PEOPLE Magazine and PEOPLE.com, the Lewis and Slater families didn’t know one another and had no idea the boys were best friends when they signed the adoption papers.
“The only way this makes sense to me is that there was a higher plan for our friendship to last,” Afonso tells PEOPLE. “I needed Kelvin back in Mozambique, because we relied on each other for comfort. And I can’t explain it, but it just made sense that he would end up in Arizona too.”
The friends loved growing up in Arizona and found life with their adoptive families to be a natural fit.
Afonso and Kelvin both attended Gilbert High School, played on the varsity soccer team together and hung out on the weekends – planning out their futures and talking “girls and sports.”
The two will attend Brigham Young University together in the fall of 2016. Afonso plans on obtaining a degree in international studies so he can “better the international adoption system,” and Kelvin would like to study medicine to become a doctor in Mozambique.
“We talk about growing old, like sitting on our porches in a rocking chair, and living next door to each other, having our kids be best friends,” says Kelvin with a laugh. “We’re definitely more than friends, we’re brothers.”
“Brothers forever,” adds Afonso.