Phoenix teacher Jodi Kacz was excited to go home to Buffalo, New York to finally introduce her adopted son, Orlando, to the rest of their family. Their story was featured in the news in 2016. Once Orlando got to meet everyone in New York, they all went to Kacz’s favorite restaurant, Ted’s Hot Dogs on Niagara Boulevard.

Jodi Kacz had one message to share of her adoption journey, “I would 100% encourage people to consider adopting an older child because they are looked over so many times and they need the most love and they would be 100% loyal to you for everything you’ve done for them. He is a blessing in my life and like I said before, I couldn’t imagine life without him.”

Kacz had been trying unsuccessfully for ten years to conceive a child with her husband. Doctors found a tumor on her uterus in 2007; in 2013 she was diagnosed with heart disease. At that point, she and her husband began to pray for a different path to parenthood.

Orlando was born in Tucson, Arizona. By the time he was four, he was living in an orphanage in Mexico. His aunt picked him up from the orphanage and drove him to Phoenix where she left him at a shelter. Several years later he met Kacz. She was his teacher in his fourth grade reading intervention class. The two hit it off immediately. At the beginning of his fifth-grade year, Orlando’s best friend confided in Mrs. Kacz that he was fearful he would never be adopted.

Kacz was quite surprised that he was even available for adoption. She knew right away that she wanted to adopt him. She started the paperwork, and Orlando moved in with her and her husband a few months later. A judge finalized the adoption on National Adoption Day, November 19, 2016.