SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - The family you're about to meet didn't have plans to adopt. But what started as a helping hand for a friend led to a lifetime of love in the form of two little boys.
Their adoption story is different from most in that Zach and Cassandra already had three older children, when a relative asked them to help a friend who was pregnant and in need. The woman was homeless and was suspected of using drugs.
When the baby was born, they visited him in the hospital, never imagining the newborn in their arms would become their son.
“We have the picture on our piano. We just sit there and look at it all the time, and go, ‘crazy’ because we just had no idea that he was going to be ours,” said Cassandra.
Ben was placed in their care the very next day, after his birth mother left him at her friend's house and disappeared for hours.
“The social worker came out and said ‘okay well we can't contact the mom, we can't get a hold of her, can we keep him here?’ And we said sure,” added Zach. “And then the next visit, they asked if we'd be willing to adopt. If it came to that we said absolutely.”
As Zach, Cassandra, and their three older kids welcomed Ben into their home and hearts, their social worker called with another unexpected surprise, 15 months later.
“We got a phone call that he had a little brother, who was born at home and when he got to the hospital he was almost, he had almost died,” explained Zach. “And he had meth and heroine in his system. So they immediately took him and called us.”
Eventually, the couple adopted both brothers and they encourage those considering adoption not to shy away from drug-exposed kids.
“It pains me and hurts me to know what they went through as babies. But see where they are now, they're healthy and they're happy and they're well-adjusted kids,” Zach continued.
The couple's older children agree, having two little ones around has changed them for the better, saying the experience has taught them about how to be understanding and caring.
They all say having Ben and Danny in their lives has brought them immeasurable happiness and love.
“We're actually talked about fostering again because we know there's a need and it's brought so much joy to us," Cassandra said.
“It definitely wasn't how we planned it, but I wouldn't change it for the world.” added Zach
If you are interested in adopting or becoming a foster family, please call 1-877-I-ADOPT-U.