The moment I first laid eyes on Gabe, I knew he was going to change my life. Little did I know that a few years later he would become a very important part of my family, and my life.

I met Gabe when he was four years old; he was under the care of Whittier Hospital in Whittier, CA because he was born with numerous health conditions. It was now time for him to attend pre-school, but to do so special arrangements had to be made. I have not left his side since.

As his nurse, I assisted Gabe everyday in class and naturally became very close with him. I introduced him to my family and welcomed him in any way possible. His drawings had a special place on our refrigerator and his picture sits on our mantle. Gabe even became friendly with our family dog and frequently joined our walks.

In 2003, when Gabe turned seven years old, the hospital began to search for a permanent home for him. The past few years my family and I had become so attached to Gabe that we were thrilled to have the opportunity to invite him into our home. We couldn’t imagine him going anywhere else.

Under our roof, Gabe’s life has flourished; his days are full of activities and boundless opportunities. He has made many friends, often having them over for pool parties. He has had the opportunity to take school trips to Sacramento; family vacations to Yellowstone and Las Vegas, Gabe got to see his all-time favorite person, Barry Manilow.

In the past five years, Gabe has learned how to be a child, how to live in a house, and what it is like to have family and friends love him unconditionally. Now he is a typical teenager with many friends and school activities. Gabe enjoys listening to his iPod, watching movies and playing video games. More than anything, Gabe loves animals, especially his yellow Labrador, Sunshine, which sleeps at the foot of his bed every night.

Gabe continues to surprise us all with his constant positivity and drive to live a life full of happiness and joy. I am so grateful to be a part of his personal growth.

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