Phoenix Elementary School Teacher Adopts Student from Her Reading Class: ‘This Is Meant to Be’

alexheigl
People

“I used to always tell my husband, ‘There’s a kid at school and if I could adopt, I would adopt a kid just like him,’ ” Jodi Kacz told KGW8.

The elementary school teacher was talking about Orlando, a fourth grader at Manuel Pena Jr. School in Phoenix, Arizona. Kacz, 45, has a heart condition that’s prevented her from having children with her husband for the past 16 years, but she took a shine to Orlando when he first appeared in her reading-intervention classes in 2014.

It was Orlando’s best friend who made the decisive move, pulling the teacher aside during her lunch hour and telling her that Orlando was a foster child.

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“I had no idea this beautiful child I fell in love with was up for adoption,” Jodi told KGW8. “Eventually I said, ‘This is meant to be. This connection I feel is from above.’ ”

For two years, Jodi and her husband Scott, also a teacher, worked to adopt Orlando, who was born in Tucson but spent years living in an orphanage in Mexico, before winding up in foster care in Phoenix.

Now 11, Orlando was officially adopted by Jodi and Scott on November 19 — National Adoption Day. And his good fortune extended to his sister, as well: She’s been adopted by a local family.

Orlando “is so overjoyed he’s with my husband and I that he finally found his forever home,” Jodi said. “He tells me I’m the mom he always wished for.”