All of Bobby and Ray's children hold a special place in their hearts, but their journey with Pablo has been unique.
Before Bobby and Ray started fostering Pablo at 10 years old, he had been through numerous homes. Pablo has autism, and he displayed behavioral issues that he needed help overcoming. They had a long road ahead but with patience, time and medical care, Pablo would make progress.
Comprehensive care makes a difference
His progress took off after visiting the Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence at Children's Health℠. It was there that Bobby and Ray discovered Pablo had multiple health conditions including restrictive lung disease, scoliosis and seizures. Since Pablo is non-verbal, he could not voice that he was in pain and would, in turn, misbehave by throwing tantrums. As soon as he started receiving treatment for his health conditions, his tantrums decreased dramatically.
When referring to his tantrum progress, Pablo's mom, Bobby, says, "They're not like ten or fifteen per day, they’re more like four or five a week, and that's wonderful. We can manage that."
Due to the positive experience Bobby had when taking Pablo for care, she now serves on the Rees-Jones Center's Foster Care Advisory Board. "The purpose of the board is to make things better for other foster parents," says Bobby. The group just spearheaded a book drive for the children, and Bobby looks forward to working on other ways the group can make a difference for other foster children.
Pablo makes leaps of progress
Fast forward a few years, Pablo has learned how to hug, show joy and affection. “He just laughs,” says Bobby. “He did not laugh the first two years that we had him. It was like he didn't know how – and now all he does is laugh.”
He even learned how to say, 'I love you' by signing to his parents. He points to his eyes, crosses his arms at his chest and then points at them enthusiastically. This is something they do not take for granted.
"He is finally getting the things that he needed," says Bobby. "He needed affection, he needed a mom, he needed a dad, and he's got all of that now."
An exciting new chapter
On November 17, 2018, which is National Adoption Day, Pablo's story entered a new chapter. Five years after they started fostering Pablo, Bobby and Ray became his forever parents.
When asked how she felt about being able to make Pablo part of her family permanently, Bobby says excitedly, "It's like having a baby! I'm due to have a baby."
They are looking forward to having a big BBQ celebration for Pablo and celebrating the holidays as a family. Pablo will continue to need care and therapy for his medical conditions. They hope he can eventually have his feeding tube removed and plan to get corrective scoliosis surgery.
Throughout it all, Bobby and Ray will be by Pablo's side. "We hope he continues to grow and learn life skills," Bobby says. "He's going to have a great future and he’s going to be taken care of."
The Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care Excellence brings together foster care experts in pediatrics, behavioral health, research and child welfare and provides primary care for children currently in the Texas foster care system. The Rees-Jones Center is also working to train future health care professionals in the best methods of caring for children facing these unique circumstances to help raise foster care practice standards across the state. Learn more about our services.
Stay current on the health insights that make a difference to your children. Sign up for the Children's Health newsletter and have more tips sent directly to your inbox.