JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Aaliyah Gonzalez started teaching at DLC Nurse & Learn in Jacksonville two years ago.
It’s where she met Zander. He was in foster care at the time, and one day his case worker told Gonzalez he was moving out of state.
“She was like, ‘This is going to be the last time I’m coming because we have a potential family in another state,’” Gonzalez said. “My heart just kind of fell. I was like ‘I’ll do it. Tell me what I have to do, whatever it is I’ll do it. I want him.’”
That’s when the case worker told Gonzalez about Chance, Zander’s little brother. Gonzalez was adopted when she was a little girl.
“My mother kept my brother and I together and that was the best thing to happen to us,” she said. “I didn't even know his name or what he looked like until right before he moved in.”
She went through background checks, a 9-week course and an apartment upgrade. Her team at DLC Nurse & Learn surprised her at the adoption ceremony in February.
After 1,055 days in foster care, the boys finally had a permanent home.
“They just want something that’s theirs and someone that is going to love them unconditionally,” she said.
As they get ready for their first official Christmas as the Gonzalez family, she is encouraging other families to consider fostering or adopting.
“We are privileged to have family and there are people out there that don’t,” she said. “And they’ve been the most monumental thing to happen to me in my life.”
You can learn more about becoming a foster or adoptive parent at http://www.fssjax.org/