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an adopted boy’s new home for the holidays

2 min read | december 22, 2023

Ryan and Christy Antonio and their daughter, Raleigh, are now a family of four with the addition of Wilguens, who was adopted earlier this year.

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.”

Christy and Wilguens Antonio
Antonio family welcomes Wilguens with flowers
Wilguens Antonio holds up a sign for the first day of fourth grade.

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.

Ryan Antonio, surface land manager at Chevron, and his son Wilguens.

During his bonding leave, Ryan Antonio introduced his newly adopted son, Wilguens, to new adventures across Colorado. Those first experiences helped establish trust and build strong family ties.

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.”

“Establishing a relationship with a 10-year-old was much different than bringing home my newborn daughter from the hospital. Things would be a lot different had I gone to work on Monday after I picked him up.”

ryan antonio

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.”

Wilguens Antonio in taekwondo outfit
Wilguens Antonio by the fire
Wilguens Antonio riding his bike

joyful celebrations

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.”

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