Thankful for Our Boys
Then and Now - Read both stories below.
October 15, 2009, our lives changed forever. That was the day David and Elvis came to live with us. David was 6 and Elvis was almost 2. In the past four years, the boys have grown and developed to become two of the most amazing people Xavier and I have ever known. We may be raising the boys, but honesty, they are the ones who have helped us to grow!
David is now in the fifth grade and has done very well academically. He scored high on the state tests last year and is excelling at his participation in sports. Every morning David and Elvis run a mile in their school's running club and so far this year they have run over 30 miles!
Elvis is in first grade now and is continuing in his bilingual program where he is learning to master Spanish. The other day he was having a conversation with his grandmother who only speaks Spanish! We were so happy for both of them.
The best moments with our sons are the ones that happen unexpectedly. It’s those moments when they start talking about abstract thoughts or feelings. The moments when they are so overcome with joy and excitement they literally cannot contain themselves! These are the moments that are entirely free, yet entirely priceless.
We have an ever growing group of friends with kids and we know there will be challenges ahead as our children become young adults. We also know every challenge with our sons teaches them something about growing up, but it also teaches us how to be better parents. We have learned to always listen first, but listen in a way we could not do four years ago. We listen with our hearts to what our kids are trying to tell us, not merely what they are telling us.
Over the past four years Xavi and I have also found time to start a parenting group in Long Beach called Families Like Us. It meets once a month and has a great mix of families. If anyone within the Five community would like to learn more about Families Like Us I can be reached at, Tedgottis@gmail.
We are all very excited about the upcoming holidays and love spending time with Xavier's very large family! The boys have their lists for Santa ready and we are reporting to Santa who is naughty and who is nice! As we get ready for Thanksgiving, Xavier and I will know the two things we will always be most thankful for, our boys.
BEST DAY OF OUR LIFE
Ted and Xavi adopted their two sons through the Five Acres Foster Care and Adoptions program on May 16, 2011. Ted tells us, “The best day of my life was when we went to court to finalize the adoption. When we went into the courtroom and I sat down in front of the judge, I just started crying. Then everyone who came with us started crying. So many tears of joy!
Ted and Xavi’s decision to adopt evolved over time, yet they remember always having the desire in their heart to have children. Ted and Xavi were waiting for the “right” time to add to their family but as they focused on their careers and started to get a little older, they decided there was never going to be a “right” time. They stated, “We decided to let life unfold and face it together as a family.” Ted and Xavi were initially working with another agency but after the 4th class they felt the agency was not being transparent and upfront with them. After feeling a little disillusioned, they waited a few years before finding Five Acres. Through friends who worked at Five Acres, which Ted and Xavi experienced as honest and forthright about the fostering to adopt process, this couple was connected to our agency to begin the certification process. Ted and Xavi said of the agency, “We soon found out the entire agency works on the same principle of honest and open communication.” The couple went on to say their experience with Five Acres has been “extremely positive. Five Acres changed our lives. The genuine affection and support we felt from each person we worked with made the adoption a beautiful journey.”
Since becoming parents Ted and Xavi don’t take the small things for granted any longer. Sheer joy exudes all around when in this family’s presence. Ted and Xavi parent with an ease that is to be admired and the children reflect the security, peace and humor their parents embody. They each came to the role of parenting with fond memories of their childhoods and are excited to bring similar experiences and traditions to their children. Even though they are embracing and loving their time parenting they are able to express, “there are practical aspects of parenting such as not getting any sleep! We’ve decided when the kids go off to college we are going to sleep for a week!
” Ted and Xavi rode a roller coaster of court dates and did their best to forge a good working relationship with their son’s birth family members. Through numerous court “continuations” this couple kept their sense of humor and relied on friends within their community who also had the shared experience of adding to their family through adoption. They say, “These friends were a great source of comfort as we went through the adoption process and remain dear to us today. It is important to have people who understand what you are going through.” Five Acres continues to attempt to connect adoptive families through the APSS program so they can feel part of a larger community, for parents as well as children.
Ted and Xavi were active participants in their children’s mental health treatment, court hearings and visitation. They asked questions and did their best to not let the unknown get the best of them. Advice they offer other foster to adopt families, “understand the process in order to control your anxiety. Five Acres was very good about answering the questions we had about the process and that helped keep us engaged and calm. There were some nerve-wracking moments, but by getting information we were able to understand more and appreciate where the process was taking us.
” We honor the Gottis-Quinonez family, not only during National Adoption Awareness Month, but every month! Ted and Xavi pass this wisdom on to those who are joining the adoption community, “…embrace today. Once you’ve committed yourself to the process enjoy each step of it. Whether you are going through your certification classes or in court finalizing your child’s adoption-celebrate each moment. In good times and in bad, make every day spectacular in some big or some small way for both yourself and your children.”
If you have room in your heart and are considering adoption or becoming a foster parent, please contact us at (909) 293-7855.