SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — Many people turn to adoption after struggling with infertility or having biological children first.
But for one local couple, adoption was their first and only choice, when it came time to start a family.
It was on a vacation to Europe in the fall of 2015, when Gabriel, and his wife Denise, received a birthday gift of a lifetime.
"It was actually on my birthday that our social worker emailed my wife and told her, 'I know you guys are out of town, but I found this perfect girl for you.'" said Gabriel.
Days after returning from the "city of love" - Paris, France - they met Dyana, who would soon bring them an abundance of love. And as fate would have it, that first visit took place on another extra special day.
"The great part, it was actually her second birthday when we met her," said Gabriel. "So, we actually got to celebrate her birthday on the day that we met her, which is just a great way to start."
"When I saw her, it was a pretty out-of-body experience," said Denise. "You walk inside someone else's house, you come and sit down to this child that you didn't know existed, but you knew that this was the child that was for you."
Even before Denise and Gabriel met, they both knew they wanted to adopt. And after getting married, the couple didn't even consider trying to have biological kids.
"This was actually our first choice. We decided from the beginning we were going to adopt, so it was actually our first choice," said Gabriel. "And I couldn't imagine life without her. I think life would be boring without her, really. She adds so much more life to our house, to our lives."
So, what was it exactly that inspired them to start their family through adoption?
"We get asked that question a lot," said Denise.
And while neither of them can pinpoint the moment or the specific reason, Denise sees it this way:
"It's such a blessing to be able to give a child an opportunity of a good life," she said. "Why not adopt? Why not San Diego county? They provide so many resources, a lot of classes and great people, a great community."
"Sometimes I forget... I sometimes totally forget that I didn't give birth to this child," said Denise. "You don't think about that when you're taking care. In the good days, and the bad days, you don't think about 'oh, she's not my bio child."
"You know, she did more for us, than I feel like we've done for her," said Gabriel. "She's really blessed our lives more than I feel like we blessed her. She's been just a joy for us.
Dyana is now four years old.
"We talk about adoption all the time," said Denise. "She knows she's adopted and she knows she was chosen by us and we love her."
And if they decide to have another child one day, they say they will choose to adopt again.
"I had a great experience, totally great experience with it," said Denise.
If you are interested in adopting or becoming a foster family, please call 1-877-I-ADOPT-U.
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