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32-year-old man adopted by former foster mother

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Nearly 20 years after being ripped apart from his foster parents, a 32-year-old man was officially adopted Friday in San Diego, Calif., by the woman he has always considered to be his mother.

Maurice Griffin was abandoned as a baby. At age three, he found a loving family in foster parents Lisa Godbold and her husband, Charles.

“The whole reason we got into foster care in the first place is because we wanted to adopt Maurice,” recalled Godbold.

Over the next 10 years, Godbold and her husband eventually became Griffin’s foster parents, giving him the stable, happy home he had always dreamed of.

“It was a great, loving family,” said Griffin, remembering the trips to Sunday school and brunch with his foster family.

But Griffin’s happy family life didn’t last long.

Griffin says the foster system failed him, and he was abruptly taken away from the family at age 13. He and Godbold didn’t want to get into specifics about why Griffin was taken from the family, but both of them agreed it was a very painful and difficult time.

“It’s like being abducted from your family and being told to deal with it,” said Griffin.

“It was torture; it broke our hearts,” added Godbold. “Not knowing where he was and not being able to have contact with him was like having a child abducted.”

From there, Griffin bounced from other foster homes to group homes, where he says he was abused and mistreated.

Through the years and tough times, Griffin held on to his fond family memories.

Meanwhile, Godbold tried time and time again to find her long lost foster son – never giving up.

In 2009, Godbold tracked Griffin down on the internet using social media. From that point on, they vowed never to lose each other again.

Their enduring mother-son bond led them to a San Diego courtroom Friday, where Godbold officially adopted Griffin as her son.

”I’m excited – this is 20 years overdue,” said Griffin minutes before heading into the courthouse with his soon-to-be mother.

Though the adoption proceeding was short, Griffin said it was the moment he’s been waiting for all his life.

“This is probably the happiest moment in my life. I love my family and I’m happy to be home,” said Griffin, adoption paperwork in hand.

Godbold was also overwhelmed with emotion and said adopting Griffin – even at 32 years old – was a privilege.

“This completes the circle. He’s always been my son, but this just completes the circle,” she added.

Griffin now joins Godbold and her two biological children to form a happy family once again. Sadly, Godbold’s husband passed away during the time they lost contact with Griffin.

Griffin said he would have loved to be adopted by Charles Friday too, as he was a man he always admired and loved. Both Godbold and Griffin believe Charles was proudly watching over them on this special day.

Their story of family, love, loss, struggle and perseverance is something they hope will impact other foster children and foster families out there.

Godbold says the message is simple: don’t give up.

“Don’t give up – persevere. Keep looking for that love, that family connection, whether it’s with an infant or your 32-year-old child,” she added.

Griffin lives in San Diego and Godbold lives in San Jose, Calif., but now that they’re mother and son, they’ll be getting together often.

“She’s my mother,” said Griffin. “She has always been my mother.”