Wildfire Sparks Heartbreak For New Adoptee

Hattie Kauffman interviews family in California fires
CBS/The Early Show
Every family losing a home to the Southern California wildfires has a story, but Patty, Patrick and Jordan Smith have one that's particularly gripping, and dripping with sad irony.

They lost their dream house as their dreams were just beginning.

The Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman accompanied them as they went through their gutted home in Ramona, Calif.

For Jordan, now 12, it was his first real home after living in ten foster homes.

Patrick and Patty first laid eyes on Jordan two years ago in a clip of foster kids looking for parents.

"I'm 10," Jordan said, "and I really hope I'm adopted by the time I'm 11."

It was, Kauffman says, love at first site.

The Smiths adopted Jordon, and bought the house for their new family.

Her voice shaking, Patty told Kauffman seeing the charred remnants of the house was tough.

"There's just memories, every direction you look," Patty said. "Dreams you've had. This was our dream home. Every single thing in here is something we've accomplished, or had since growing up ... and losing it all, I mean -- how do you replace some of that?

When the fire erupted, the Smith's were in the middle of an interview for a CBS adoption special. "A Home for the Holidays."

"It's ironic that now you need a home for the holidays," Kauffman observed.

"That's what I said," Patty agreed. "How ironic."

And Jordan, who has seen almost a dozen homes in his short life, is once again without one.

"We told him we'd never have to move again," a weepy Patty told Kauffman.

"That was a promise we made to him," Patrick said, "that we'd never move again."

In another irony, it's Jordan who's boosting his new parents' morale.

"He just keeps telling us, 'It'll be OK, Mom. It'll be OK.' He's been through this before."

"Jordan has been the best thing that's ever happened to us," Patrick said. "... He's been the world to us, and helped us out through a lot of stuff. He's holding us together through this."

Lost in the ashes was what the Smiths called "The Book of Jordan" -- documents from his years in foster care.

"He had his original birth certificate," Patrick says, "and then, after we adopted him, with his new name, with our name on it, that was in there, too."

The Smiths had only minutes to get out and, while they're grateful they're all alright, Patrick and Patty say they have one regret: They wish they'd let Jordan grab a few more of his belongings, because he's never really had things of his own.