"It was just an emptiness," he said. "I couldn't talk to anybody about it because nobody was there. I couldn't call somebody; there was just a void in me."
Griffin said that he acted out every chance he got in hopes the state would reunite him with the people he considered to be family.
He bounced from one foster home to another, never finding what he lost.
"I didn't let anybody get close to me again," Griffin said, holding back tears. "I hurt a lot of people. It was a rough road."
Searching for each other
Despite several obstacles, Griffin and Godbold never stopped searching for one another.
Godbold's husband died in 1998. She remarried and changed her last name, and moved.
But six years ago, Godbold found Griffin on social media. They communicated online and then one day she called him.
"She said, 'hey baby,' and I said I got to call you back," Griffin said, trying to explain how overwhelmed he was by the reunion.
As she entered the courtroom Friday, Godbold harbored fear that a surprise would halt the proceeding.
"I was actually really nervous before walking in, even though signing on the line was a formality," Godbold said. "I thought something might happen to keep it from becoming official today."
Griffin is an example of triumph in foster care.
"I'm a living example of it, that I have been through it," Griffin said. "I just never stopped. It will all work out."