EL PASO, Texas - As Americans prepare to celebrate mom on May 14, ABC-7 profiled one woman who became a mother through fostering.
Ruby, who asked ABC-7 to not use her last name or the name of her children for privacy concerns, said she and her husband were married in their mid-30s and immediately tried to have children.
"I found out after two miscarriages that I wasn't able to have children," Ruby said. "I had always told myself if I wasn't married or didn't have children by a certain age, I was going to adopt."
Ruby said her husband, Ruben, was on board with the idea. After exploring private adoption agencies, they opted to work through Child Protective Services to become foster parents and look to adopt children through that avenue.
"I have a tremendous amount of love that I need to give somebody, and this is the way that we're going to be able to do it," Ruby said.
Ruby said the process of going to classes, working with social workers and opening their homes and their lives to thorough inspections put a strain on their lives.
"We would have a discussion every night after class. We'd be like, 'Are we going to do this? Is this what we want?'" she said. "Every time, we had the same answer. It's going to be worth it. We're going to be able to have what we couldn't have biologically."
The need for foster families in El Paso is so great that Ruby and Ruben were fostering children within hours of getting licensed. Ruby told ABC-7 they were doubtful it would happen even after being forewarned about the possible scenario.
"We thought, 'They're going to give us at least a week or a couple days.' No. Exactly they way they warned us in class is exactly the way it happened," Ruby said, laughing.
But they weren't prepared to parent two children. They were expecting a baby boy but also received his sister, who is a year and a half older.
"I remember the foster care worker came and brought him in his carrier and I broke down," Ruby said, "I was like, 'Oh my gosh. These children belong with us. Even if it was for a little while, these children belong with us.'"
And while the goal was to reunite them with their mother, Ruby and Ruben were able to adopt the kids almost exactly a year ago.
As the kids bicker occasionally over toys and clamor into Ruby's lap for kisses and hugs, Ruby choked up as she remarked how the fostering and adoption have changed their lives.
"This has been the best thing that I have ever done in my life, next to getting married," Ruby said. "I was longing for it. And now that I have it, I'm completely happy."
May is Foster Care Month. Oscar Millan, the director of the foster care agency A World For Children, told ABC-7 that there are only five local agencies helping find temporary homes for 400 kids.
"There is a huge crisis," Millan said. "We have about 60 or 70 beds that we are lacking in El Paso. And so these kids are being sent out of the region."
Millan emphasized the kinds of children who are in need of help.
"These kids have been through trauma. And they've been rejected," he said. "They've been removed from their families. They've been abused."
Millan said those interested in fostering are provided training and the support necessary to help them succeed.
Find information on The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services website, as well as the website for A World For Children.
Watch Stephanie Valle's report on Good Morning El Paso Friday.