Last week, Las Vegas couple Michael Cordova and Kimberly Lee officially adopted their 10-year-old son, Michael, after nearly two years of waiting.
But their adoption story is far from common. On Christmas Eve 2015, young Michael was with his parents opening Christmas presents at the Plaza hotel-casino when police say his mom shot and killed his dad in front of him.
His mom is now in prison after being found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and child endangerment.
That very same day, Michael's uncle -- who shares his name -- and aunt Kimberly got a call.
"There was no question," Cordova said.
They say the rushed to fill out the paperwork to take in their nephew who was still shaken up.
"It was hard to see him so sad," Lee says. "It broke my heart."
But little by little, Michael opened up. He enjoys school, swimming and watching movies. And his aunt and uncle got him a new dog, Lucy.
"Believe me, I've seen his little boy blossom," Lee said.
Meanwhile, during that time, his aunt and uncle were taking classes and going through the process to become foster parents and ultimately officially adopt Michael.
And on Aug. 8, a judge made their family of three official, something Michael always knew would happen.
"It's just a feeling I always had," he says.
Both Cordova and Lee already have adult children of their own but say getting to raise a younger son at this stage in their life has been an unexpected blessing. "Open your home and your hearts."
But still, the family know many in the valley aren't as lucky. According to the Clark County Department of Family Services, there are currently more than 2,300 kids placed with either relatives or in foster care. Yet there have only been 262 finalized adoptions.
Although it can be a lengthy process to foster a child, the couple say it's worth it.
"He brings joy into our heart and light into our lives," Lee says.
Finally, to help children and families who have lost a close family member, check out In 12 Days.