Lisa Godbold said she and her husband spotted Maurice Griffin at an orphanage near their Sacramento home in the early 1980s and decided to make him a part of their family, CNN reported Friday.
"Interracial relationships weren't as common or accepted as they are today and the fact that Maurice was biracial, and we were a biracial family, made us a great profile, so to speak," Godbold said.
Griffin quickly connected with the couple and their two boys, who were younger than Griffin.
"We were best friends," Griffin said. "We'd run around, we did mischievous things and fun things. It was a good time."
However, a few years later, when the couple was two months away from officially adopting the then-13-year-old Griffin, he was taken away by foster care officials during a dispute about spanking.
"You can't spank foster children. Maurice very much wanted that," Godbold said. "We wanted him to feel like the rest of our kids. And there was a difference of opinion with some of the [child welfare] supervisors."
Godbold, whose husband died in 1998, reconnected with Griffin about six years ago via social media.
The pair are headed to a juvenile courtroom in San Diego Friday to allow Godbold to finally adopt Griffin.
"I just feel like this makes it official," Godbold said. "And we don't have to keep explaining it now."