SAN ANTONIO – Bexar County and CPS recognized the hard work of the parents Thursday celebrating the reunification of their families.
Time spent with family over the holiday is usually cherished, and this holiday, 11 local families have new reason to do so. This year, they are getting to spend it with their children.
For these families, 2016 will be a year is one they will treasure forever.
"I don’t think there are really words that can describe that -- not at all. It’s a million things at once -- love, being grateful. Knowing that there’s a higher power that was definitely there with you during all the trials and tribulations,” said Travis Allen, a single father of two, who says he spent a year and half trying to win custody of his 2-year-old daughter.
Bexar County 225th District Court Judge Peter Sakai said while every case is different, the top three reasons CPS removes a child from home is due to drug or alcohol addiction, mental health issues and domestic violence.
Parents told KSAT that trying to win custody was no easy feat, but having their kids back home is worth it.
"Step up our game and do everything we had to do from counseling to different classes to evaluations to visits every week. We just did what we had to do in order to make sure we were going to get them back. There was no question about it," said Monique Gonzalez, mother of six.
Gonzalez describes the nine months without her children as the toughest time in her life. She said her family is ready to move on to the next chapter of their lives and are looking forward to creating new memories and cherishing every little moment.
"Christmas was amazing especially when you look back and remember how last Christmas was -- you look back how last New Year’s was (just) no comparison this is 150 percent better,” Gonzalez said.
"I got my kids now and you know that’s all I could ask for. That’s the best thing in life -- this is the most rewarding thing in life,” Allen said, as he hugged his two young children.