Early Christmas gift for local family


GILLIAN SHERIDAN, Children Are a Gift

Christmas for the Gonzalez family is going to be just a little bit merrier this year. They just received an early gift, and now their family has grown by two.

“We wanted to have a large family when we got married and we always knew we were going to adopt,” said Jeana Gonzalez.

But their plan of adoption was moved up after the birth of their first child, Ethan, 14 years ago. He was diagnosed with Cushing Syndrome and a Pituitary Tumor, and Jeana learned she would be unable to have more children.

“We felt God calling us to foster and to adopt,” said Jeana.

This couple, from Jacksonville, fostered several children before the opportunity arose to expand their family permanently.

“You truly need to be strong, knowing that the possibility of heart break is real, because there were several children that we fell in love with and, unfortunately, we weren’t able to keep them. … They ended up going back to their families,” Rafael Gonzalez said.

But they did adopt Josh, 9; Eli, 6; and Andrew 5. And just a few weeks ago they added Mia, 2, and her 1-year-old brother, Isaiah.

Jeana and Rafael now split their time between 6 children.

“I don’t mind sharing them,” said Ethan, about his mom and dad. “I think it’s a blessing, because I really wanted to have somebody to play with, and I just felt like I wasn’t lonely anymore. I had somebody I could help guide.”

The large family they always wanted grew quickly.

Rafael said, “We started out as a little puddle and now it’s a pool, but it’s a great pool to be in!”

But they admit it comes with challenges. In addition to their biological son having health issues, most of their children have special needs.

“Eli, was born very premature and was exposed to drugs, so he has always had medical problems. Then at 3, he was diagnosed with leukemia.” Looking around at her children, Jeana goes on to say, “Joshua has autism and lots of behavioral issues, and Andrew was just diagnosed with selective mutism. Isaiah has cerebral palsy and seizure disorder and his sister, Mia, is just wild!”

Still, the Gonzalez family said they wouldn’t have it any other way and believe each child is a gift.

“I think God gives us the strength to go through all of this, so it’s never a burden,” said Rafael. “Yeah it is tough. I won’t say it’s not, but I think having faith in God will get us through all of this is!”

To learn more about the Gonzalez family and their adoption, join Gillian Sheridan for her Children are a Gift report next Tuesday night on CBS19 News at 6 p.m.. You can also get information on East Texas children waiting for a forever family by going to cbs19.tv or email gsheridan@cbs19.tv. You can also inquire about a foster child by calling 903-533-4242.


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