Despite its quiet exterior in a small, rural West Texas town, the inside of the Gonzales house is full of the happy laughter of two boys doing what brothers do best—wrestling, building with Legos, riding bikes and playing cars. Zane, 5, and Tristyn, 3, don’t share blood, but it’s as if they were always meant to be brothers.
Licensed to foster-to-adopt through Buckner Foster Care and Adoption in April 2014, Dave and Jennifer Gonzales, both 8th grade teachers in Friona, Texas, immediately fell in love with gregarious and active Zane when he came to stay the weekend for a visit.
“By that following Thursday, he was with us. That was July 3, 2014. And we haven’t let him go,” Dave says.
Despite knowing Zane was meant to be part of their forever family, the process included several hurdles and challenges, as many foster care and foster-to-adopt cases do, but Zane’s adoption was finalized on May 31, 2016.
“[Adoption] helped us understand it’s not about our timing; it’s about God’s timing,” Jen says.
So when Dave and Jen felt like Zane need a brother or sister last summer, they trusted God’s timing and called Buckner again. In October 2015, the family met the energetic and charming Tristyn. He fit right in, and the Gonzales family finalized Tristyn’s adoption in August 2016.
“The only kid who could have come into this house and handled Zane is Tristyn. They’ve both been beneficial for each other,” Dave says as the boys embrace in a perfectly-timed hug.
While the boys have certainly helped each other grow, the Gonzales’ involvement in their community has also proven helpful in the boy’s maturation, and according to Dave, “the whole town has kind of adopted them.”
Students love saying hello to the boys at Friday night football games and athletic Zane often gets running coaching from the high school track stars. The family is very involved in their church where the boys are Sunday school rock stars as evidenced by Zane’s impressive recall.
“Zane, what do you talk about at Sunday school?” Jen asks.
“We talk about God, and the one where Hannah wanted a baby, Samuel,” Zane answers. “Then we got to the part where he got old.”
Buckner also has offered support and community for the Gonzales family. The family attended Camp Buckner last year and loved the experience so much that anytime the family loads up in the car to go somewhere, Zane asks if they’re headed to camp.
“[Camp Buckner] is such a wonderful place. Every kid was there for the same reason,” Dave says. “This was the first time they didn’t feel like they were the only ones that were going through [what they’ve experienced].”
Dave and Jen encourage other foster and adoptive parents to build a community support system, too, and a network of other families who empathize with the ups and the downs inherent in adoption.
“It’s been trying for us. We’ve dealt with a lot. But I wouldn’t trade these two guys for anything,” Dave says. “They fit in well with us. I like to think we’re perfect for them.”