A fourth grade foster child has finally found his forever-home – with his teacher.
Orlando, who attended Manuel Pena Jr. School in west Phoenix’s Cartwright School District, began taking reading-intervention classes with teacher Jodi Kacz, in 2014.
Jodi was incredibly impressed by Orlando’s improvement, and his character in general. She says that she always used to gush about the boy to her husband, and would tell him:
‘There’s a kid at school and if I could adopt, I would adopt a kid just like him.”
Sadly, a heart condition meant that Jodi would never be able to go on to have her own children, but was determined to one day foster a child with her husband of 16 years.
At one point, Orlando’s best friend made Jodi aware that Orlando was in fact in foster care, and it was then she knew adopting the boy was the way to go.
“Eventually I said, ‘This is meant to be. This connection I feel is from above.’” Says Jodi.
Orlando, who was born in Tuscon but spent a number of years living in a Mexican orphanage before eventually being brought back to Arizona, continued to be taught by Jodi – all whilst she and her husband carried out the process of adopting him.
It was on November the 19th 2016 that the adoption was completed and the three of them were officially a family.
Jodi says that Orlando, who is a keen artist and has recently won an Arizona state English Language Learning (ELL) honorable mention award, is overjoyed to have found his permanent home and that “He tells me I’m the mom he always wished for.”
Orlando also describes his new mum as an “inspiration” and “very loving and kind.”
Not only has Orlando found the perfect home, but his real sister has also been adopted by a local family, so the two siblings will never be far apart.