Compassion for Children in Need
During their 16 years together, Matt and Jaime have played integral parts in the lives of children. They bought a house on the same block as their young nieces and nephews, and they raised Jaime's son. When all the youngsters had grown and gone to college, Matt and Jaime decided to focus their compassion for children in need, along with their parenting and teaching experience, on helping another youngster.
Now 11, James first met Matt and Jaime when he was 8 and living in a therapeutic residential facility. Prior to that placement, he had lived in foster care for 4 years—half his life. A carefully planned transition helped James adjust gradually to his new family. Short visits evolved into overnight stays, which continued until James moved in for good in June 2009. Due to some legal delays, the adoption was not finalized until October 2010.
James enjoys many activities: video games, school, bike riding, and dance class. He travels, hikes, and bikes with his parents on weekends and vacations. During the week the three are "homebodies." With Matt and Jaime working in a high school and a university, all three have schoolwork to do nearly every night.
Postadoption financial support and services enabled Matt and Jaime to meet James's special needs. A program called Bridges to Health helped James transition into his new school. An eclectic team of doctors, therapists, dance teachers, college basketball players, family, and tutors have helped James experience successes.
James has flourished with the love of a family. Matt boasts, "James has really grown mentally, physically, and behaviorally since he found us. He has learned to read and write, ride a bike, and so much more! James has an overall zest for life."
When asked what adoption means to him, James responded, "I have a family—a Dad and a Papi that love me. I was tired of moving all the time. Now I have one home."
Adapted from Voice for Adoption's Adoptive Family Portrait Project for National Foster Care Month.