Paul and Vanessa's success stories - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

Paul and Vanessa's success stories

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One year ago, a little boy named Paul moved in with his forever family. After living in nine different foster homes, Paul's last move, was his final one. This is Paul's success story, which was heavily influenced by his sister Vanessa's adoption success story.

When we met Paul two years ago, he was a kindergartener with some speech delays, who at his young age of five, had already been placed in nine different foster homes.

Paul, who's now seven, remembers our first meeting. And now, he has parents to help him, every day and a sister who adores him.

Eleven-year-old Vanessa was adopted five years ago. She says never knew what unconditional love was until she was adopted by her two dads.

"It was really different because they were the ones who really cared for me. They were the ones who helped me when I needed it," Vanessa said.

And she doesn't mind sharing her parents at all, now that Paul is part of their family.

"I have someone to play with more now. Sometimes I don't get to play outside with my friends all the time and now I have someone to play with inside," Vanessa continued.

Jim and Santiago, who have been together for 12 years, first adopted Vanessa, who is Jim's biological niece. They had no idea she had been in nine different foster homes over three years.

"In the beginning when they first took her, we asked to adopt her at that time and the County told us no, that they had someone else who was going to take her," said Jim. "We thought she was adopted, then all of a sudden three years later, we get a phone call out of the blue saying she hasn't been adopted, are you interested, and we said yes!"

They decided to expand their family once again., when they saw Paul featured on Adopt 8 last year and he immediately captured their heart.

"Oh yes, with that face, he's adorable. As soon as we saw him, we looked at each other and said ‘let's do it,'" noted Santiago.

Paul's heartbreaking experience in foster care also reminded them of Vanessa's.

"How many homes he had been in. It was about the same as her, and we thought, he needs a home, he needs help," said Jim. "Next thing we know, we're meeting Paul and he's moving in two weeks later. It's been great ever since."

And Paul thinks so too – he says he's 118 percent happy.

A year after joining this family, Paul has made big strides in his speech development.

"In the beginning, it was quite hard to understand him. He used to get frustrated. So now that is not there anymore," Santiago added.

Jim and Santiago say they have cherished watching their children learn and grow and Vanessa now knows what unconditional love is - something she'd not experienced before

"It just changes life completely. Your values are completely turned upside down in a good way, things you didn't think were important now are, things you thought were important now aren't." Santiago said.

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

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