SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — Some people looking to adopt, choose to become foster parents first in the hope that one of their foster children might end up needing a permanent home.
In this Adopt 8 success story, that's exactly how a little boy named James found his forever family.
Born almost two months premature, little James weighed just four pounds when his parents brought him home from the hospital.
"We walked into the NICU and he was just so teeny tiny," said mom Rachael. "Even in the car seat, we had to pad him in with blankets because he was so little."
Now, two years old, James is thriving.
"[He's] very smart, very bright, loves music, loves singing," said dad Tim. "He just gets a smile on our faces every day. He's a joy. "
Tim and Rachael turned to San Diego County Adoptions about three years ago.
"Well we struggled with infertility, and we always knew we wanted to have kids. said Rachael.
The couple decided to become a foster family first, so they could start taking in children right away.
"You bring these kids into your home and you're not sure what's going to happen to them," said Tim. "Our goal is to just make sure these kids have a happy place to be and to give them a better life."
Their first nine foster kids were reunited with their biological families, which was emotionally bittersweet for Tim and Rachael.
"Naturally, you fall in love with these kids, so it's really difficult to fall in love with a child and have them leave your home," said Rachael. "But you were there to do what you needed to do for the child while they were there."
The came their 10th and final foster child, James - the first to become available for adoption.
"I guess 10 is the lucky number for us," said Tim.
Tim and Rachael say their bond was strong from the start.
"We brought him home, and it was just like, from that very moment, I was like 'this is my baby," said Rachael. "I felt something different about him."
James' adoption was finalized this past November and his parents say he was most definitely worth the wait. James has touched their hearts in a way that is almost indescribable.
"I can't even say.. It's just...he's amazing," said Rachael. "Every day, when I come home, I see that little face look at me, and call me 'mamma.' And watching him grow... he's so smart. He's just a joy."
The couple has this message to anyone else thinking about fostering before adopting.
"I would say do it," said Rachael. "It's a tough road, but it's so worth it. I wouldn't have changed a thing."
If you are interested in adopting or becoming a foster family, please call 1-877-I-ADOPT-U.
View more incredible Adopt 8 stories at https://www.cbs8.com/adopt8