Brayden's Success Story - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Brayden's Success Story

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There was a concern at one point that the little boy profiled in this Adopt 8 might be autistic. It was almost as if Brayden was mute when he was first matched with his forever family. But as you'll see, all Brayden needed to thrive was love, stability and a place to call home.

Four-year-old Brayden is an imaginative and playful little boy.

Seeing him now, it's difficult to believe that just two short years ago, Brayden barely spoke a word. His father Scott, Navy Captain, says Brayden had almost no expression - like a rag doll.

"When he first came to me, there were lots of concerns. He had failure to thrive, there was concern about autism spectrum disorder and he was severely language delayed," explained Scott.

But not anymore. Brayden is now right on target with his verbal skills and development. The progress he's made has amazed his doctors.

"Well it just shows what a loving, supportive, stimulating environment will do, because I think he just had that lack of stimulation and he had a whole bunch of labels put on him that just weren't actually true," continued Scott. "I initially thought more about the nature side of the equation, but as I've seen Brayden develop so much in the last two years, I believe much more in the nurture, where we can really have an impact and it shows just the power of love."

Brayden was 22-months-old when he first came to live with his dad and the two have been busy exploring over the past two years.

"We do enjoy traveling, and we spent some time in Thailand, and Hawaii and we spent some time traveling around," said Scott. "And it does take a lot more planning and foresight when you have a little toddler with you. But it makes it so much more fun because you get to see the excitement of seeing these new places through their eyes and see them smile and giggle and laugh and see these wonderful new places and people."

Captain Johnston is a clinical psychologist:

"I have a subspecialty in pediatric psychology so some of the training comes in handy, but it's very different when you see patients in the office than when it's your own son. You're like ‘oh, I see. Now I get it."

He'd always wanted to be a father, but had been deployed five times. Then, a couple years ago, when he was finally at a place in his life and career to adopt, he chose to go through San Diego County and thanks his social worker for being such an instrumental part of his support network.

"From day one I was supported, I have to give lots of appreciation to Valerie Hills my social worker who's there and supported me every step of the way," added Scott.

As a single dad, he relies on Brayden's wonderful daycare, help from their friends, the great support from the military, and of course, the love from their family.

"It's my mom's first grandson, so she's very excited and she lives here in La Jolla. So it's wonderful for her to be able to come down and share quality time with Brayden," continued Scott.

And Brayden's dad has this encouragement for anyone considering adoption:

"I would say just do it, if you have love in your heart, that's what important. He's made me a much better person. He's tapped into parts of my life and made me realize parts of the world that I didn't appreciate before and I've been lucky, I've been very blessed to have a wonderful life and this really completes it."

If you're interested in adopting or becoming a foster family, call 1-877-I-ADOPT-U.

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