03/15/2013 06:29 pm ET Updated Mar 17, 2013

Maurice Griffin, California Man, Adopted By Foster Mom At 32

Lisa Godbold never gave up hope that she would one day reunite with her foster child. And after nearly two decades, she’ll get to call the now 32-year-old her “son.”

When Maurice Griffin was just two months shy of getting adopted by Godbold and her now-deceased husband, he was removed from the home by his social worker because of an issue related to corporal punishment, FOX5 San Diego reports. Griffin says he explicitly asked his foster parents to spank him at the time because he didn’t want there to be a distinction between him and his foster parent's two biological kids.

“I wanted to be treated like a real son,” he told the news outlet. “Their sons got spanked and I didn’t.”

After Griffin was taken from Godbold’s home when he was 13, he weaved through the foster care system, never quite finding his place and always wishing to return to the only family he had ever known.

Godbold never stopped searching either.

Six years ago, the determined mother found her long-lost son on MySpace and messaged him, according to CNN affiliate KSWB.

After an emotional reunion, they talked about finally putting their relationship in writing. The two filed the official adoption papers on Valentine’s Day, FOX5 San Diego reported.

"I just feel like this makes it official," Godbold told CNN. "And we don't have to keep explaining it now."

The elated mother and son have been making their rounds at TV stations, but perhaps they'll consider spreading the good news in a creative way, as adoptive mother and photographer Kelli Higgins did.

After Higgins’ 13-year-old adopted son Latrell lamented that he didn’t have a set of newborn photos, the resourceful mom got to work, HuffPost Parents reported in February. She set up a photo shoot for her boy, whom she adopted when he was 10, that mimicked the poses she often arranges for newborns.

The unconventional “adoption birth announcement” featured a number of photos, including the quintessential close-up-foot shot, and it immediately went viral.

"It stirred up a lot of emotion about adopting older children,” Higgins told HuffPost. “And [the announcement] allowed people to see that these older children really are big babies who crave the love of parents and the security of a forever home."



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