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Couple Embraces Siblings with Love in ‘Forever Family’

Ben and Patty Valdez really weren’t planning to adopt children ​when they decided to become Boys Town Texas Foster Parents in 2013.

But when 3-year-old Sunny and 18-month-old Robert — siblings who were victims of severe neglect — arrived at the couple’s home as their first foster children, there was an immediate bond.

“It was almost like they had belonged in our family forever,” Patty said. “Sunny walked into our house and she covered her little mouth. She was crying; she was so happy to be here. It didn’t even take a few days before they began calling us Mom and Dad.”

Eventually, the siblings’ birth parents surrendered their parental rights and the Valdezes were able to move forward with adoption proceedings. In January 2014, six months after that emotional first meeting, Ben and Patty welcomed Sunny and Robert home for good.

Patty said she and Ben couldn’t believe how quickly the adoption occurred, especially since they had originally only planned to be Foster Parents. Even making that commitment had required a lot of thought and prayer, she said.

But there had been earlier signs that pointed to a larger Valdez family.

When Ben and Patty were house-hunting after moving to San Antonio in 2011, they inexplicably ended up buying a four-bedroom home, even though they had no children of their own.

“At the time, we looked at each other and said ‘How are we going to fill this big old house?’” Patty said.

Then there was the night Ben and Patty went out to eat at a Chinese restaurant. It was right around the time they were exploring the idea of becoming foster parents.

“My fortune cookie said, ‘Open your doors, you have new people coming,’ and Ben’s said, ‘Your house is going to be full of laughter and joy very soon,’” Patty recalled.

A short time later, Patty visited a local library and was told by a staff member that some books were on sale for a dollar each. All of the books were about adopting kids.

And when the couple made the decision to become Boys Town Foster Parents, they went through the site’s foster-to-adopt training rather than the regular foster care training.

Patty said all of these events helped her and Ben warm up to the idea of adopting. But, she said, they both already had what children who were looking for a forever family needed.

“We had a love for kids in our hearts.”

Today, the Valdez house is a busy, active place where a brother and sister are safe and happy, and their mom is familiar with every children’s cartoon character that appears on TV.

Both Sunny and Robert have grown and thrived over the past year and a half. Sunny is 5 now and attends pre-kindergarten. Ben, who owns a scrap metal recycling business, takes his daughter to school every morning. Ben and Robert are “best friends,” and Robert cries when Dad has to leave for work. (Sometimes, Ben is able to take Robert to work with him.)

Patty is a stay-at-home mom and loves every minute of it.

“A lot of my free time is not free anymore and it doesn’t bother me one bit,” Patty said. “Before, my house was really quiet. Now it’s full of laughter.”

But as busy as they are, Ben and Patty still have room in their home and their hearts for more children.

Since adopting Sunny and Robert, the couple has continued to serve as Boys Town Texas Foster Parents. In fact, they are now fostering twin baby girls with thoughts of possibly growing their family again.

Patty said that from the beginning, Boys Town Texas has been there for her and Ben, both as Foster Parents and adoptive parents.

“Boys Town opened this door to our hearts and then filled it with beautiful colors,” Patty said. “They’ve been very helpful and supportive, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.”

Patty also has a message for others who might be thinking about being Boys Town Foster Parents. She has already shared it with a family member and friends who are now fostering for the site.

“You don’t know what you’re missing,” she said. “If you think you can open your home and be loving parents, you should do it.”