San Diego, California - 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 on Friday afternoon. Nineteen families finalized the adoptions of a total 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.”

Hector said today makes things “normal,” but Aranda quickly added that “I don’t know what normal is.

“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,” she 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 you are interested in giving a loving child or a set of siblings a forever family, please visit, call 1-877-I-ADOPT-U (877-423-6788) or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..