Being a mother was something Cheryl Estes strived to become and although doctors told her if would never happen in a million years, she found a way to do it anyway many times over.

Cheryl and Shane Estes, of Mauriceville, wanted children in their lives and thought about adoption, but they decided to try being a foster parent first.

When three-month-old Joseph arrived as a foster child they immediately fell in love with him. A month later, Estes found out she was pregnant in spite of what doctors has claimed.

A short time after Joseph’s arrival, the parents relinquished their rights making Joseph available for adoption. By the time he was 11 months old, he was officially theirs to keep.

“He was our little dream come true,” Estes said. ‘We knew when he came he was going to be part of the family.”

Soon after the adoption was final, their daughter, Grace was born.

“We were doubly blessed,” she said.

But, their lives would take a sad turn when they found out, Cheryl Estes’ father, Alton Godly, was diagnosed with cancer. He had waited so long for his daughter to have children of her own. He lived 18 months longer before cancer took him.

“He lived for that little boy,” Estes said.

Estes said he was always such a “good baby.” When Joseph was six months old, she was having photos taken when he began to cry. The photographer wanted to stop, but she told them to take them anyway, since this was not a face they usually got to see since he was always happy and smiling. The photos remain a treasured item.

As he grew, he was “100 percent boy. “ Estes laughs when she tells the story of a time when he came into the house with a pocket full of lizards. He pulled them out and as she shrieked, he chased her around the house with them.

A trip to the beach also brings back fond memories. Joseph has spent the day collecting sea shells. A few days later, there was a bad odor in his room. Estes thought it was perhaps a hermit crab that had died in one of the shells. She began to look around when a lizard suddenly leaped out at her. That quickly ended her search for the cause of the odor.

Later she asked Joseph about the smell and asked him about the lizard. He explained he had another lizard in his room and was playing hide and seek with it, when it disappeared. Eventually, the odor went away and the lizard was never found.

Now, Joseph is 10 years old and joyfully, still “all boy.”

The Estes’ waited for about five years before becoming foster parents again after their first time. They went through the certification classes without any regrets and eagerly awaited their newest addition to the family.

‘We love kids and always wanted a big family,” she said. “You know you are doing something wonderful when a kid hugs you and thanks you.”

Their most recent placement was three girls, ages three, seven and nine years old. They were part of the family for about 18 months. If they had become available for adoption, Cheryl Estes said she would have loved for them to become more permanent family members. However, they were returned to their parents.

‘If the right situation comes through the door, we would possibly adopt again,” she added.

Cheryl Estes said she would “absolutely” recommend foster parenting and adoption to others through the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services programs.

“My kids like it too,” she said. “It teaches them to give from their hearts.”

There is no doubt, they have learned this from their mother, not only on Mother’s Day, but everyday.

Alton Godly treasured every minute of the short time he had with his two grandchildren, Joseph and Grace Estes before he died of cancer.