Santos, Mrs. Cline and Denyce Skiff from Hearts that Care

Santos lived on the streets of Guatemala until he was five. At that time he was placed in a Foster Home in his country, and the Clines applied to adopt both Santos and his baby brother Caleb. The baby in the video was his biological brother Caleb. He died just after the adoption was final and they were waiting for the Embassy appointment to pick the boys up and bring them home. It was a devastating loss for everyone. The medical care in their country was poor. The Clines traveled back and forth to Guatemala for over a year while the adoption was processed and so they could bond with Santos and Caleb.


The Clines succeeded in their adoption about 7 years ago. Since then, Santos has learned to live in a family unit for the first time. Santos is now 13.  He’s has a great sense of humor and appreciates the simple things in life, like hot meals and shoes. Recently, he completed a Lego airplane following the directions astonishing everyone! His possibilities continue to grow.


Besides a chromosome abnormality doctors have never seen, Santos has a long list of other medical issues & threats to his health.  Mental retardation (cognitive function 4 ½ – 5 years old), Autism/Aspergers, brain cyst, cataracts, Sievers Disease (feet), Tourette’s and liver disease (he already has scarring).  The only treatment available is a liver transplant if he goes into liver failure. Santos was put on a very strict diet for insulin resistance. He is monitored frequently at UCSF.


The Clines have to be with Santos every minute when he’s awake because he really does act like a 5 year old. Santos has to eat every 2-3 hours because of insulin problems. He has a very high risk of both diabetes and seizures in the future.

Santos is about to receive his Service Dog, and everyone hopes that the dog will protect as well as comfort him. It is impossible to watch Santos every minute. Santos would walk out into the street just like a child and wanders away.


The amazing and miraculous side of this story is the improvement and development that Santos has exhibited through living with the Cline family. He has good manners and takes direction from his parents. Despite being almost 5 feet tall, Santos is just like all 5 year olds; he is spontaneous and impulsive. But best of all, Santos is loving and kind, a testimony to the wonderful care of his American family.


The two Cline biological children, Courtney who is now a senior at Del Oro High School, and Colby, who is currently attending Community College in Southern California accepted Santos as a little brother from day one. The love, devotion, acceptance and protection provided through being a part of the Cline family has enabled Santos to develop far more than doctors thought possible.


Recently, doctors reported the first ever dramatic improvement in Santos’ medical tests!!!


Hearts that Care is working to assist the Cline family with the costs required to travel to Ohio for two weeks in order to train with Santos’ new dog. They will take ownership upon graduation of the training. Santos asks about his dog every day, and he knows that this trip is coming up. This special dog will receive additional training tracking Santos.  The dog can also be sent back for more training if Santos develops diabetes or seizures. There are strict guidelines in the training and bonding process. While funds for this service dog have been raised, the cost of the trip is approximately $5,000.


Hearts that Care hoping that caring people in our community will reach out to aid in this wonderful goal.

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