The Story of a Single Gay Dad Who Adopted an Autistic Kid and Raised an Honor Student
Adoption is a wonderful way to make a meaningful impact on a child’s life by giving them the care, protection, and happy environment that all kids deserve. While many foster parents consider adoption as their only option for creating a family, many others do it because it has always seemed natural to them, as if it was meant to be.
This is the story of Ruben, a Mexican man who overcame multiple challenges in his life to achieve the priceless, love-filled joy of becoming a father to a boy named Hector.
Bright Side is always on the lookout for stories to warm our hearts and prove that, despite the hardships that life throws our way, there is always a happy ending.
Ruben’s tumultuous past
Ruben was born in Mexico and immigrated to the United States with his family at the age of 7. They had to cross a cold and filthy river to get there, a journey that he recalls being very arduous. He spent his entire childhood in Waco, Texas, where he was raised in a low-income family of 4.
His life had been challenging for several reasons, the most notable of which was the fact that he was gay and Mexican. Ruben claims he was mistreated for years. Despite this, he earned a bachelor’s degree and rose to the position of marketing director at 29, constantly celebrating his achievements with his family at his side.
The adoption dream and their first encounter
Adoption has always been a possibility in Ruben’s life. When he was younger, he had the opportunity to visit and interact with kids in children’s advocacy centers. He realized that adoption would provide him with a sense of purpose in life, as well as the chance to make a meaningful difference in the lives of children and teach them about the world.
Ruben began his adoption journey at the age of 33, fully aware of the hurdles he would face along the way, particularly balancing his job with the duty of always placing a child’s needs and interests ahead of his own.
He first met Hector a year later, after beginning the adoption process and obtaining US citizenship. He was upset and stressed at the moment because of the lengthy application and approval processes. Since he was single, working full time, and had no close relatives to assist him, his profile did not appear to be a good fit to adopt a child.
When Ruben stumbled into Hector in June 2017, things changed. This gorgeous 7-year-old Mexican youngster snatched his heart from the very beginning. Their bond was instantaneous — they spent the day eating and playing games together. Hector was not talking, but just pointing out things at that moment, however, everyone was taken aback by how wonderfully he connected with Ruben.
After a harsh time, they eventually reconciled.
“I don’t know what happened, I just want to take care of him,” Ruben recalls of their initial meeting, cherishing that day they had together. Sadly, he was not picked.
After obtaining his foster-to-adopt license, Ruben found himself absolutely overwhelmed and engulfed by the circumstances. He sought to give his love to a child, but there were too many roadblocks, and everything was draining him.
While mentally contemplating the idea of giving up, he remembered telling himself that he would have said yes right away to that little 7-year-old boy he had met a year earlier.
Ruben got the phone call that would change his life just as he was ready to end his foster care license. He was called with the offer of taking care of the little Mexican child who had captured his heart and who had failed to find a suitable family for him. Ruben met Hector 3 days after that phone call, ecstatic to finally start creating his own family.
The official adoption
Their journey has not been easy. Hector was non-verbal and had some major behavioral problems. Ruben had tried from the beginning to sustain him, seeking programs and ABA training. The number of responsibilities was heavy, and surely Ruben was not ready for it, especially with a full-time job and dogs to take care of.
Not everything is effortless, and while it may appear so on the surface, Ruben has no qualms about admitting that he feared not being able to care for Hector. But one night, as he sat crying on the kitchen floor, Hector approached him and consoled him with all the sympathy he could muster. He uttered something that will stay with Ruben for the rest of his life: “Don’t give up, you can do this.”
When they had finally found some peace, Ruben had to deal with many other awful events in his life, including the loss of his dog and a breakup, and he even had to give up the career that he had worked hard to pursue in order to devote himself totally to Hector.
After a tough time, the sun rose for them too. And despite not having the celebration they’d hoped for, Ruben could finally adopt Hector on August 14, 2020, and they finally could become the actual family they had dreamed of.
Their emotional journey keeps going strong.
Although they don’t share the same genes, Ruben and Hector share all the same love and unique moments as any other family. They met at the right time in their lives, and through faith and hard work, they are now able to rally as one strong and loyal family.
Their bond has been beneficial to them both; Hector is now an AB honor student, a loud talker, and a compassionate and affectionate child. Ruben, who has faced numerous challenges throughout his youth and beyond, can now be himself and is rewarded for his efforts.
Love attracts love, and Ruben had worked hard to make his love for Hector triumph above all else. “I committed myself to him and made him a promise. I promised I would never give up on him. I promised I would care for him and be his teacher to guide him through life.”
What would you have done in Ruben’s situation, give up or fight for your dream?