people and community
an adopted boy’s new home for the holidays
2 min read | december 22, 2023
Ten-year-old Wilguens is celebrating a flurry of new traditions this holiday season. In addition to building his first snowman, he’ll soon have a stocking on the mantle, plenty of presents underneath the tree and a family surrounding him with love.
Ryan Antonio, surface land manager at Chevron, and his wife, Christy, adopted Wilguens from Haiti earlier this year. Since then, they’ve been busy helping their son acclimate to his new life in Frederick, Colorado, while building the bonds of trust together.
“He’s adjusted very well given some of the challenges he’s been through,” said Antonio. “Now, he’s curious and asking a ton of questions about how Christmas celebrations in the U.S. work.”
the more the merrier
The Antonios began their adoption journey in 2016. After five years of waiting, the family matched with Wilguens, who was living at an orphanage at the time. However, the process to bring him home was delayed another two years due to unsafe conditions and instability in Haiti.
At last, in the summer of 2023, Wilguens officially joined the family.
To ensure the transition was as smooth as possible, Antonio used Chevron’s Bonding Benefit. The benefit offers eligible Chevron U.S.-payroll employees up to eight weeks of paid time off to spend quality time with their new child within one year of birth, adoption, placement for adoption or foster care.
the gift of time
Antonio’s primary goal was to ensure Wilguens was healthy, strong and comfortable. That included taking multiple trips to the pediatrician, establishing a bedtime routine and helping his son feel safe sleeping in his own room. But it was also about building trust.
“That time was critical for our family,” Antonio said. “When Wilguens initially came home, he didn’t trust us and thought he would be moved to another family. We constantly reinforced that he’s here to stay.”
surface land manager
why it matters
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, only about 1 in 4 employees working in the private sector have access to paid family leave.
That can force parents—especially those looking to adopt—to choose between a paycheck and time to help establish positive physical, emotional and mental health for their child.
“The Bonding Benefit recognizes that there are many ways to build a family,” said Brian Walker, manager of Chevron’s Employee Assistance and WorkLife Services. “The program generously allows employees to have paid time off when welcoming a new family member into their household.”
As Wilguens’ critical needs were settling into place, so were a series of other important—and fun—firsts. Wilguens learned how to ride a bike, went camping in the Colorado outdoors and learned to wakesurf from his older sister Raleigh, 13, during summer visits to the lake.
Now, Wilguens is a curious fourth grader who enjoys playing soccer, basketball and taekwondo. As for what’s on Wilguens’ Christmas wish list this year? His dad has been taking notes.
“Video games, a foosball table and soccer gear. He’s also very musically inclined, so there might be some drums in our future.”
leadership diversity program elevates Black talent
people and communityfebruary 14, 2024
HBCU students shine at national innovation summit
people and communityfebruary 07, 2024
chevron exec: california policy would deter energy production
our operationsjanuary 08, 2024
pawsitive results: super sniffing dogs find tiny pipeline leaks
people and communityjanuary 03, 2024
chevron email updates
Subscribe to our newsletter to receive news and updates.