A Student Needed Medical Care And A Home. His Teacher Adopted Him

February 6, 2023

A first-grade teacher in Connecticut has officially adopted her former student who was born with sickle cell anemia and was living in foster care.

teacher good news stories
Credit: Jenna Riccio

In 2019, Jenna Riccio found out her student, Nate, needed emergency surgery to prevent an infection. Complications led to the amputation of Nate's legs below the knees, his left arm and two and a half fingers on his right hand.

Jenna decided to visit him at the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.

"He was there by himself with no family. I wanted to cheer him up and have someone he knew there with him," she said.


At the hospital, Jenna learned that Nate had recently been removed from his family's home and was moved into foster care. The family he was staying with lived about an hour away from his school.

"It wasn't the ideal situation for him," Jenna said. "I worried about what was going to happen to him."

She turned to Nate's social worker and asked, "Can I foster him?"

teacher good news stories
Credit: Jenna Riccio

After leaving the hospital, Jenna told her then-boyfriend, Tim Riccio, about her spontaneous offer. Tim worked with Jenna at the same school and knew Nate as well.

He was all in.

Jenna passed all of the background checks and brought Nate home with her in October 2019.

It didn't take long for Jenna, Tim and Nate to feel like a family.

"When you're waking up with a kid in the middle of the night and helping him get dressed in the morning and giving him baths and doing all the stuff that parents do, it was only a couple months, and we were 'mom and dad'," Tim said.

teacher good news stories
Credit: Jenna Riccio

Two years later, Nate served as the ring bearer at Jenna and Tim's wedding.

Last February, Nate became a big brother.

Although Nate was already part of their family, it wasn't official until Nov. 18, 2022 when he legally became their son.

By all accounts, the boy — now in the 5th grade — is thriving.

"Every night I go to sleep thinking, 'I'm very lucky,' " he says.

But his parents say they are the lucky ones.

"I'm happy that I never have to imagine life without Nate," says Jenna.

Watch the video below.

Click Here For The Most Popular On Sunny Skyz