Lubbock, TX (KCBD) – Almost a quarter-century ago, Child Protective Services took three children away from their mother in Brownfield and after all this time part of the family was reunited in Abernathy.
The youngest of the three was in pre-school when he was taken away, now he wants to share his story. Jose Amstutz drove nine hours from the Houston area Wednesday for closure and to start a new chapter.
"Nervous and I'm also happy at the same time. I don't hold any grudge or resentment about those decisions," Amstutz says about his feelings towards his birth mother. Texas took Amstutz, then Joe Cavazos, away from a woman named Maria – a complete stranger he prepared to meet for the first time Wednesday afternoon.
"She abandoned us. She left us home alone. She didn't provide food or water," lists Amstutz as he recalls the reasons he was taken away from his mother.
The 29-year-old Montgomery County Sheriff's Deputy keeps the good and the bad memories. A stack of CPS papers full of neglect and abuse and a scrapbook of memories made at the Lubbock Children's Home including a picture with his birth mother.
"She gave birth to me, it is what it is, but my adoptive parents are my true mom and dad," he adds. The hunt to find her started on his 18th birthday when he was old enough to request his records. After searching both his soul and the state for years, Amstutz picked up the phone and called his birth mother who lives in Harlingen on February 25, 2010.
"She called me little Joe and said she had been looking for me for a longtime. She cried and so did I," he recalls about that first phone call.
"I'm excited and anxious to see my kids," says Amilia Cavazos as she waited on her father's front lawn in Abernathy to meet two of her grown children. She says she never forgot about her children, and never had any more.
"Sad when Christmas and Thanksgiving came around," she said with tears in her eyes. "I hoped I could find them some day and tell them I'm sorry," Cavazos said who got that chance on Wednesday.
Their face to face meeting was full of hugs and tears. Church bells rang in the background as generations of strangers met for the first time. Amstutz brought his two children and he met his grandfather.
"It's been a long time. I have a lot of questions," says Amstutz about the healing process. Throughout this journey, he's walked with a constant reminder of where he came from on his shoulder, a tattoo, with both names Cavazos and Amstutz. For eleven years, he has waited to complete his tattoo. He added the day he first spoke with his birth mother and filled in the broken heart above Cavazos.
"I'm really glad I found her," he said while embracing his birth mom.
Amstutz was in such a hurry to get to Abernathy, he got pulled over for speeding. The DPS trooper gave him a warning. While in town he hopes to visit some of the foster children at the Lubbock Children's home and speak with them about not giving up on finding a family.
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