Ricardo is a sociable boy from northern California who responds well to affection and praise. He interacts well with his peers, and makes friends easily. He loves playing outdoors, going to the park, and riding his bike. Ricardo was in care for six years due to domestic violence in his family. He has had both group home and foster home placements. When he was first listed on the California Kids Connection website in May 2006, Ricardo was diagnosed as having mild autism and being non-verbal, but was able to effectively communicate his needs through sounds and gestures.
As a gay couple, Erik and Paul Smith cannot legally adopt a child from the state where they reside, but they were motivated to adopt after they saw Ricardo listed on the California Kids Connection website. They asked for more information about adoption, and the California Kids Connection staff gave them information about the adoption process and how to find an agency to work with. This couple was highly motivated, and when their homestudy was complete they inquired again and submitted their homestudy to Ricardo's worker. Ricardo and the Smiths had a series of visitations both in California and where the Smiths live. While Ricardo was visiting the Smiths in July 2009, placement was approved and Ricardo got to stay with them.
The Smiths report that California Kids Connection "was their key to Ricardo, and helped us complete our family." Because Erik is a nurse and is able to stay at home with Ricardo, Ricardo has made an amazing amount of developmental progress. Ricardo now talks, and his adoption was finalized in early 2011.
All names used are aliases to protect the confidentiality of children and families. Some stories may be composites of multiple cases.