Francisco Santiago watched from Africa as his two foster children officially became a part of his Texas family

By Rose Minutaglio
Updated October 10, 2016 11:43 AM
Credit: Ana Santiago

Francisco Santiago wasn’t going to miss the adoption ceremony of his two children for anything – even if he was halfway around the world!

On October 5, Francisco and his wife, Ana, officially adopted Ian, 4, and his sister, Asia, 3, after fostering the pair for a year in their El Paso, Texas, home.

Francisco, a 39-year-old supply technician for a company contracted by the U.S. Army, was deployed in Africa when he received the good news.

“It was a long time coming for that moment,” Ana, 37, tells PEOPLE. “And having my husband there, over FaceTime, to see it, made it so special.”

It was hard for Francisco, who was joined on the video conference call by his extended family, to hold back tears as he watched Ian and Asia “smiling and running around” during the ceremony.

“It was 2:00 a.m. over there,” says Ana. “But you could tell he was so, so happy to finally get to this point!”

sibling skype adoptionAna Santiago

Ana says she and Francisco decided to become foster parents after learning of a medical condition that causes her not to ovulate correctly.

“I would have needed fertility medication to have a child, which my insurance doesn’t cover,” Ana, a coordinator for a children’s ministry, says.” I said to Francisco, ‘We have room in our home and I want to give love to a child.’ God hadn’t opened those doors for us, but why not, if we can provide love?”

The Texas couple became foster parents in December 2014 and welcomed Ian and Asia into their home seven months later.

Sibling skype adoptionAna Santiago

But Ana says she didn’t initially plan on falling in love with her foster kids.

Need a little inspiration? Click here to subscribe to the Daily Smile Newsletter for uplifting, feel-good stories that brighten up your inbox.

“I was afraid to get too attached because I knew they could leave, but after a few weeks getting to know them, I couldn’t help it,” she says. “We signed up to foster, we knew what it entailed, but our goal was just to make them as safe and as happy as possible.”

“But I did fall in love with them,” she adds. “And when we found out they would be available for adoption a few months after becoming their foster parents, we were overjoyed, because it just felt right.”

Ana Santiago
| Credit: Ana Santiago

Ana says her husband, who comes home on December 15, can’t wait to be reunited with his children.

“We’re officially a family!” she says. “The moment we are all together again will be so special, Asia keeps asking for daddy and saying she misses him.

“Soon we’ll all be together!”