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By Tom Christensen
County of San Diego Communications Office 

A new home for the holidays welcomes through county adoptions


Last updated 12/6/2018 at 2:06pm

Family members, Superior Court Judge Kimberlee Lagotta and court staff all applaud after the adoption of Hector by his mother, Issis Aranda, right in black shirt, became official.

It was barely 5:30 a.m., and 10-year-old Hector was already out of bed and bound for the shower. Today was one of the most important days of his life, and he was up earlier than usual, taking no chances that he would miss anything.

Today was the day Hector's adoption became official. His "new" mother, Issis Aranda, and several other family members came with Hector to San Diego County Child Welfare Services' annual Court Adoption Party held at the San Diego County Juvenile Courthouse in the afternoon Nov. 16. Nineteen families finalized the adoptions of 22 children at the event.

The party is the culmination of a process through the county in which prospective adoptive parents attend orientations, undergo background checks and go through assessments and evaluations before an adoption is finalized.

Hector and Aranda were already related, and he has already lived with her family for the past three years. Now she's officially "mom."

"He's my cousin's son, and she asked if I could help out," Aranda said. "I went through the whole process of approval. He's been with me for three years, and this is where we are at now.

"If my kids were in a situation like that, I would want some family to step up and help," Aranda said. "When my cousin asked me, I knew she was having problems and I stepped up because staying with family is important."

Hector has learned a lot already and changed in good ways, she said. His family now includes three older brothers ages 18, 15 and 14.

"He's grown a lot, and he's in a good place," Aranda said.

Hector said today makes things "normal," but Aranda quickly added, "I don't know what normal is."

Arand said, "He just wants to get to be normal, which is what we're going to do."

Hector had already decided his first meal after the adoption ceremony was going to be fettuccini.

The adoption process was made easier by the social workers involved, according to Aranda.

"The process itself, when you do the home studies and the social workers are awesome and helping you, it was less than a year actually," Aranda said. "It was fast, they helped a lot and tell you exactly what's going to happen."

San Diego County is celebrating 70 years of providing adoption services. The county finalizes about 450 adoptions a year on average. If anyone is interested in giving a loving child or a set of siblings a forever family, visit, call (877) 423-6788 or email


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