Placing your child is a very selfless and very hard decision to make. Many mothers make the decision to place their child independently, without outside forces. But that was not the case for Marietta Sandoval. Marietta was 14 years old when she gave birth to her son, Jesus, and because of her young age and other circumstances, he was placed into foster care.   

According to a local news article, Marietta did everything she could to keep him in her care, but without a positive family support system she was not successful.

Unfortunately, the foster care system was not able to provide the stability young Chase needed. Chase was placed in 6 different foster care homes in the first couple years of his life. Without a stable environment, children have a harder time to form and develop attachment with others. After being placed in many foster care homes, Jesus found a good fit with the Sallinen family.  Marietta realized that the best thing for her son would be to get out of foster care, and she consented to his adoption.  In 2003, Bonnie and Patrick Sallinen adopted Jesus and named him Chase. They have two other children, Max, 21, and Mia, 13, who was also adopted.

In 2003, when Chase was adopted, most adoptions were closed; the concept of open adoptions had not yet become popular. However, the Sallinen family decided to seek out his mother and let her know how her son was doing today. “I can’t imagine not seeing your kids for this long,” Bonnie Salinen told the Journal Sentinel.

So recently, Bonnie reached out on Facebook and was able to find Marietta. They began talking, and Chase began talking with Marietta as well. As the discussions grew and their relationship deepened, Bonnie extended an invitation to Marietta to come over for a visit with Chase. They chose Chase’s 18th birthday for the day of their visit. On that day, Marietta was able to put her arms around Chase, whom she hadn’t seen since he was a toddler.

Following the visit, Marietta was able to take Chase to meet his two half siblings.  Marietta wrote in Chase’s birthday card regarding the enormity of the day, “So much to say, not enough paper.”