Meet the Family: Jessica and Silvio Sobalvarro

Here at AFS, we are lucky to work with some amazing Resource Parents. Today, we’re going to highlight two of them: Jessica and Silvio Sobalvarro.

The Sobalvarros started their fostering journey three years ago. Silvio’s best friend had been in foster care and was ultimately adopted. That positive experience is what influenced Jessica’s and Silvio’s motivation to foster-to- adopt (fost-adopt). However, the process of fostering children has changed their outlook.

After completing the resource parent training and home approval process, the Sobalvarros had two infants placed in their care. As sometimes the case with fost-adopt scenarios, the placements ended up being short-term as the babies were reunified with family.

After some time, Jessica and Silvio were provided the opportunity to foster a seven-month-old named Gavin*, who also had a brother, Michael*, who was seven. Initially, the Sobalvarros had intended to only foster babies or toddlers. But Jessica insisted the siblings stay together and the Sobalvarro’s agreed to foster both boys.

At first, the transition was difficult. Michael would have meltdowns and defy instructions. Silvio and Jessica turned to AFS-provided therapy alongside a whole lot of love and patience. Michael learned to trust Jessica and Silvio and began to realize the couple’s intentions were to love, not harm. Later on, Michael even helped other foster children transition into Jessica and Silvio’s home.

Over time, Gavin and Michael’s biological parents completed therapeutic visitation and the boys returned home. Jessica and Silvio actually became friends with the boy’s parents and even babysit Michael and Gavin on occasion. The Sobalvarros are grateful they are able to maintained close contact with the boys and their parents.

Since Gavin and Michael, the Sobalvarros have fostered many more children. Most recently, they were fostering a one-year-old, a kindergartener and a second grader when the COVID-19 pandemic first hit. The three kids were able to safely reunify. In July, even with the pandemic, Jessica and Silvio agreed to care for, Anna*, a six-year-old girl they describe as “resilient.”

Three years ago, the Sobalvarros intended to adopt a child from foster care; their fostering journey led them on a new path. They discovered their compassion and commitment can have a lasting positive impact on the kids they foster – perhaps even changing the trajectory of these kid’s lives. Eventually, even if Jessica and Silvio fost-adopt, they’ll likely continue to care for youth in foster care. They’re even looking into moving into a bigger home so they can care for more kids and possibly teens.

AFS staff, families and kids are grateful the Sobalvarros chose us to partner with to impact the lives of Northern California foster youth. Thank you, Jessica and Silvio for all your compassion, commitment and care!

*all names changed

Alternative Family Services

Alternative Family Services (AFS) provides thoughtful, informed foster care, adoption and mental health services throughout California’s San Francisco Bay Area and Greater Sacramento region. Since 1978, the mission of AFS has been – and continues to be – to support vulnerable children and families in need of stability, safety and well-being in communities through foster care, adoption and mental health services.

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