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'We needed him and he needed us': Teacher adopts student to become part of the family

Susana Dominguez and her adopted son Jessie have a heartwarming story of becoming a family.
Posted at 10:43 AM, May 22, 2024

WACO, Texas (KXXV) — Susana Dominguez teaches at Provident Heights Elementary. She and her husband adopted 8-year-old Jessie to make their family complete.


This Provident Heights Elementary second grader and his bilingual teacher have a special relationship.

“He needed a loving family and we were able to do it,” said Susana Dominguez, a bilingual teacher at Provident Heights.

In April 2022, Jessie and his half sister were in an unsafe situation with his biological mother and were handed over to Child Protective Services.

The couple only planned on taking Jessie's sister, but fate had another idea.

“We were getting ready to go and then I asked him [CPS], what about him? What’s going to happen with him? And he said 'well, we’re finding the family,' and 'I said, well can I take him?' And they were all like 'no, we have to go with the family first,'” Susana said.

Fast forward to October, when something just didn't seem right to Susana.

“It was getting difficult for the caretaker, he was six at that time. It was difficult for her age that he was behaving a little off. He would cry a lot, he wouldn’t want to do homework. We proceeded to say 'I’ll take him. I told y’all from the very beginning that I want him. I’ll take him!'” Susana said.

A week later, Jessie was living with the Dominguez family.

“Whenever we told our babies about him, we did tell them ‘you will be getting a brother. We never did say we are just getting a kid,” Susana said.

And did this brother flourish!

“They told me he was in counseling and I proceeded to do counseling visits. We got him October 26th, and he was removed from counseling in December. He said that he was in perfect hands and he wasn’t showing anything to be moving forward with counseling,” Susana said.

Fast forward to the 8th of May of this year, Jessie is officially a Dominguez.

“They said what makes you happy today? And he said 'I am now Jessie Dominguez.' Like, that’s it! We are done, he is mine he is ours!” Susana said.

A day of celebration his classmates got to witness. One of Susana’s special co-workers was also on hand to see it.

“Being in the courtroom I felt so honored #1 that they invited me, and #2 it just warms my heart. Being an educator, it’s not just about teaching kids reading, writing and math, it’s about supporting them through their life milestones,” said Courtney Whitaker, Principal at Provident Heights Elementary.

A milestone that has the Dominguez family complete.

“We needed him and he needed us,” Susana said.