IRENE AURORA NOVOA DE LOPEZ FOUNDATION

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About Irene

IRENE AURORA NOVOA DE LOPEZ

 

IRENE AURORA NOVOA DE LOPEZ IRENE WAS BORN IN HAVANA CUBA ON AUGUST 13, 1939. HER MOTHER WAS A NATURAL BORN CUBAN. HER NAME WAS ROSA LOPEZ, AND HER FATHER WAS A SPANISH IMMIGRANT- HIS NAME WAS FRANCISCO NOVOA.

IRENE GREW UP AND WENT TO SCHOOL IN THE SAME NEIGHBORHOOD IN LA SIERRA- A SUBDIVISION OF THE CITY OF MARIANAO NEXT TO HAVANA.

SHE ATTENDED A CATHOLIC SCHOOL SINCE KINDERGARTEN, UNTIL SHE GRADUATED HIGH SCHOOL IN 1958 FROM THE INMACULATE HEART OF MARY, WHERE SHE RECEIVED THE BEST POSSIBLE EDUCATION.

MY NAME IS RAUL C. LOPEZ, I MET IRENE IN EARLY 1957, AND IT WAS LOVE AT FIRST SIGHT. ON FEBRUARY 7, 1959, WE WERE MARRIED IN HAVANA WHERE I LIVED FOR SEVERAL YEARS, AND WORKED IN A JEWELRY STORE BELONGING TO OUR FAMILY. I WAS BORN IN HAVANA, BUT MY FATHER WAS IN THE MILITARY AND WAS TRANSFERED TO AN ISLAND SOUTH OF CUBA WHERE THE BIG PRISON WAS.

I WAS BORN ON AUGUST 12, 1939, ONE DAY OLDER THAN IRENE. AND I WAS TWO YEARS OLD WHEN WE MOVED TO ISLE OF PINES IN 1941. WE MOVED BACK TO HAVANA IN 1953

MY DEAR WIFE IRENE DID NOT LIKE HER FIRST NAME, SO SHE USED AURORA. I ALWAYS CALLED HER CUQUI -THAT WAS HER NICKNAME.

IN MARCH, 1960 OUR FIRST DAUGHTER, WAS BORN, FILLING OUR LIVES WITH LOVE AND HAPPINESS. BEAUTIFUL BLOND HAIR WITH BLUE EYES LIKE THE SEA. WE WERE BLESSED BY THE LORD HAVING SUCH BEAUTIFUL CHILD.

ON NOVEMBER 21, 1960, DUE TO THE POLITICAL SITUATION IN CUBA I LEFT FOR CENTRAL AMERICA LEAVING MY LIFE BEHIND- MY DEAR WIFE AND OUR LITTLE DAUGHTER,

WITH THE COMUNISTS TAKING OVER OUR COUNTRY IT WAS EITHER LEAVE CUBA AND TRY TO SURVIVE OR DIE IN FRONT OF A FIRING SQUAD. IT WASN'T EASY FOR ME IN HONDURAS WHERE I WORKED IN A LUMBER MILL IN THE MOUNTAINS ABOUT 120 MILES FROM TEGUCIGALPA, THE CAPITAL CITY, AND WHERE I CONTRACTED MALARIA. IT WAS A MIRACLE THAT I SURVIVED.

AT THE SAME TIME, MY WIFE DESPITE HER PARENTS HELP, WAS HAVING A HARD TIME SURVIVING BECAUSE THEY WERE LOSING EVERYTHING THEY HAD TO CONFISCATION BY THE COMMUNISTS-INCLUDING A DRY CLEANING BUSINESS THAT TOOK MANY YEARS FOR HER FATHER TO BUILD UP.

I WAS INVOLVED IN A WAY WITH THE BAY OF PIGS INVASION AND AFTER ITS FAILURE WAS ABLE TO ENTER THE U.S. ON APRIL 19, 1961. SOON AFTER I WAS ABLE TO APPLY FOR MY WIFE AND DAUGHTER TO COME TO THE U.S. AFTER 11 AGONIZING MONTHS, THEY ARRIVED AT THE MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT IN A PAN AMERICAN FLIGHT FROM HAVANA. IT WAS ONE OF THE MOST WONDERFUL DAYS OF MY LIFE WHEN I WAS ABLE TO HUG MY WIFE AND DAUGHTER AGAIN, AND FROM THAT DAY WE WERE TOGETHER FOR MANY YEARS- FREE LIKE OUR DEAR FRIENDS IN AMERICA.

LIFE WENT ON, AND IN 1962 OUR SON WAS BORN IN MIAMI, ALSO FILLING OUR HEARTS WITH LOVE AND HAPPINESS. OUR FIRST AMERICAN CHILD, WE WERE SO PROUD.

ON DECEMBER 1962, I ENLISTED IN THE U.S. ARMY IN ORDER TO BE ABLE TO GO TO CUBA AND FIGHT AGAINST CASTRO AND THE COMUNISTS, BUT IT DIDN'T HAPPEN, SO I BECAME A VIETNAM VETERAN.

WHILE I WAS IN THE SERVICE I TOOK MY WIFE AND KIDS TO COLOMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA, TO LIVE SINCE I WAS STATIONED IN FORT JACKSON- NEXT TO THE CITY. WHEN I FINISHED MY TRAINNING, I DECIDED TO GET OUT OF THE ARMY TO BE WITH MY FAMILY AND GAVE UP MY MILITARY CAREER, AND WE WENT BACK TO MIAMI TO CONTINUE OUR LIVES.

MY DEAR CUQUI AND I HAD THE OPORTUNITY FOR CONTINUING EDUCATION, SHE BECAME A COMPUTER EXPERT AND I BECAME A FIBERGLASS BOAT BUILDER- THAT FASCINATED ME.

ON NOVEMBER 1964, OUR THIRD CHILD WAS BORN ALSO IN MIAMI. A VERY BEATIFUL BLOND GIRL WITH BLUE EYES, ALSO FILLING OUR LIVES WITH MORE LOVE AND HAPPINESS,

ACROSS THE YEARS WE WERE ABLE TO STAY TOGETHER AND DO OUR VERY BEST FOR OUR CHILDREN AND FOR EACH OTHER. WE LOVED THEM DEARLY; THEY NEVER WENT TO BED WITH AN EMPTY STOMACH. ON THE CONTRARY MY WIFE AND I WENT TO BED MANY TIMES WITH AN EMPTY STOMACH BECAUSE OUR KIDS ALWAYS CAME FIRST. THEY WENT TO PUBLIC SCHOOL AND RECEIVED THE BEST POSSIBLE EDUCATION AND ALL GRADUATED FROM HIGH SCHOOL. THEY NEVER GAVE ANY PROBLEMS TO US. THEY ALWAYS WERE GOOD.

ON THREE OCCASIONS CUQUI AND I STARTED FIBERGLASS BUSINESSES, AND EVERY TIME WE HAD TO GIVE THEM UP BECAUSE OF THE ECONOMY.

MY WIFE DEDICATED MUCH OF HER LIFE RAISING OUR KIDS AT HOME, FOR WHICH I WAS PROUD. SHE SACRIFICED THE OPORTUNITY TO BE WORKING TO STAY AT HOME TO TAKE CARE OF THEM. THEN OUR OLDEST DOUGHTER LEFT HOME CREATING A TREMENDOUS VACUUM IN OUR LIVES, SHE WAS 19, LATER OUR SON LEFT FOR THE MARINES, WHICH ALSO WAS HARD FOR US, AND FINALLY THE YOUNGEST ONE MARRIED, AND WE WERE TOTALLY ALONE.

WHILE IN THE MARINES OUR SON MARRIED HIS HIGH SCHOOL SWEETHEART. ON FEBRUARY 17, 1984, THEIR FIRST BABY WAS BORN AT CAMP LEJUNE, NORTH CAROLINA. ANOTHER BLOND WITH BEATIFUL BLUE EYES, ABOUT ONE YEAR LATER THEIR MARRIAGE WAS DESTROYED AND OUR FIRST GRANDDAUGHTER CAME TO LIVE WITH US, BECAUSE HER MOTHER RAN AWAY WITH HER LOVER- LEAVING HER BEHIND. OUR SON WAS DEVASTATED FOR THIS SITUATION AND WE TOOK OVER OUR GRANDDOUGHTER.SHE HAD LOVE AND CARE LIVING WITH US.

AT THIS POINT OUR LIVES STARTED TAKING A DIFFERENT DIRECTION, SINCE OUR FAMILY STARTED TO DISINTEGRATE. TRAGEDY TOOK PLACE, BECAUSE SOME OF OUR CHILDREN NEVER FORGAVE US FOR THE WAY THEY WERE RAISED[STRAIT AND RELIGIOUS]. IT WAS VERY HARD TO SEE OUR SON DESTROYED BY THE FAILURE OF HIS MARRIAGE, IT GOT SO BAD THAT WE HAD TO TAKE LEGAL CUSTODY OF OUR GRANDDAUGHTER IN ORDER TO PROTECT HER FROM THE CIRCUMSTANCES. THIS WAS A VERY DIFFICULT SITUATION FOR MY WIFE IRENE AND FOR ME, TO TAKE OUR GRANDDOUGHTER FROM OUR OWN SON. WE SPENT MANY NIGHTS AWAKE TRYING TO REACH A FINAL DECISION, AND IT WAS NO OTHER SOLUTION THAN TO TAKE HER AWAY FROM HER FATHER, KNOWING THAT THIS ACTION WAS GOING TO DESTROY OUR FAMILY RELATIONS FOREVER.

SOON AFTER THE INCOMPETENT STATE OF FLORIDA CHILD PROTECTION DEPARTMENT STARTED TO LOOK FOR HER MOTHER BECAUSE THEY’RE GOAL WAS TO REUNITE THE BIOLOGICAL PARENTS WITH THEIR CHILD NO MATTER WHAT. THEY FOUND HER WORKING IN A BAR. SHE WAS GIVEN A 3 MONTHS PARENTING CLASS, AND ACCORDING TO THE CHILD PROTECTION DEPARTMENT WAS FIT TO TAKE HER DAUGHTER BACK DESPITE THE FACTS. WE STARTED A LEGAL BATTLE AGAINST THE STATE OF FLORIDA CHILD PROTECTION DEPARTMENT AND HER MOTHER WHO WAS REPRESENTED BY A PUBLIC DEFFENDER. WE HIRED A GOOD LAWYER AND A GOOD CHILD PSYCOLOGIST IN ORDER TO REPRESENT OUR GRANDDOUGHTER. THIS WAS NOT POSSIBLE BECAUSE THE COURT APPOINTED A GUARDIAN AD LITEM, THAT WAS ALL THE REPRESENTATION SHE HAD. THE GUARDIAN AD LITEM WAS A JOKE, A TOTAL FAILURE. AS A FAVOR FROM THE COURT, THE JUDGE ALLOWED US TO BE REPRESENTED BY A LAWYER AND THE CHILD PSYCOLOGIST, WE ONLY COULD BE THERE TO WATCH, BECAUSE WE WERE ONLY THE GRANDPARENTS. WE FOUGHT IN COURT FOR OVER 3 YEARS, AND FINALLY ON MAY 25, 1989, AFTER THE STATE OF FLORIDA CHILD PROTECTION DEPARTMENT ARRANGED TO SWITCH JUDGES FOR ONE THEY COULD MANIPULATE, OUR GRANDDAUGHTER WAS PLACED UNDER THE CUSTODY OF HER MOTHER AND HER LOVER, WHO WERE THE ONES THAT BRUTALLY ABUSED HERTO CONTINUE THE ABUSE. DESPITE THE COURT ORDER GRANTING MY WIFE IRENE AND ME LIBERAL VISITATIONS THEY KEPT US FROM SEEING OUR GRANDDOUGHTER AND THIS WAS DEVASTATING FOR AND FOR US. THE SEXUAL, PHYSICAL AND PSYCOLOGICAL ABUSE ON HER CONTINUED.

SHE WAS BRUTALLY ABUSED BY THESE TWO MONSTERS AND NO ONE CARED ABOUT IT. SO WE MADE A VERY SERIOUS DECISION THAT WAS TO RESCUE OUR GRANDDAUGHTER FROM ALL THAT MISERY. IT TOOK US TWO AGONIZING MONTHS TO SELL EVERYTHING WE HAD AND DISMANTLE EVERYTHING WE BUILT IN 30 YEARS. ON AUGUST 11 89 IN A SPECIAL VISITATION THAT MY WIFE IRENE WAS ABLE TO ARRANGE AFTER CRAWLING AND BEGGING WE TOOK OFF WITH OUR GRANDDAUGHTER, AND FINALLY OUR RESCUE MISSION WAS IN EFFECT. WE RAN FOR 13 1/2 YEARS, THE F.B.I. WAS NOT ABLE TO FIND US. IT WASN'T EASY, BUT THANKS TO OUR LORD JESUS WE MADE IT.

WHEN OUR GRANDDAUGHTER BECAME 18 YEARS OLD WE FOUND A VERY POWERFUL LAWYER IN REDONDO BEACH, CALIFORNIA. HIS FEES WERE $400.00 PER HOUR, BUT FOR A $10.00 RETAINER HE REPRESENTED US ALL THE WAY UNTIL THE CHARGES AGAINST MY WIFE IRENE AND ME WERE DROPPED BY THE F.B.I. AND ALSO BY THE STATE OF FLORIDA. IT TOOK HIM ALMOST A YEAR OF WORK AND NEGOTIATIONS TO ACHIEVE THIS AND HE DID IT ALL FOR $10.00. WHAT A GOOD HEART THIS GENTLEMAN HAS. THIS HAPPENED IN 2003. WE ALSO APPEARED ON THE DR. PHIL SHOW.

IN AUGUST 05 MY WIFE IRENE AND I WERE ABLE TO RETIRE, AND WE MADE PLANS TO ENJOY OUR LASTS YEARS TRAVELING IN AN R.V TRAILER THAT WE BOUGHT.

SADLY, BECAUSE OF THE LACK OF MEDICAL TREATMENT WHEN ON THE RUN, THE MEDICAL CONDITION OF MY DEAR WIFE, WHO WAS DIABETIC, GRADUALLY WORSENED, AND ON DECEMBER 26, 2005, SHE DIED IN MY ARMS- 30 DAYS AFTER A SUCCESFUL SURGERY, A BLOOD CLOT SHUT DOWN HER LUNGS.

I HAVE NO WORDS TO EXPRESS MY SORROW. I LOST THE MOST PRECIOUS PERSON IN MY LIFE, AND IT WAS VERY HARD ON OUR GRANDDOUGHTER WE LOST THE STRONGEST SUPPORT IN OUR LIVES.

IRENE WAS CREMATED AT SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA, AS WERE HER WISHES.

I WAS AFFRAID OF DYING AT ANY TIME, AS I WAS GRIEVING BADLY AFTER THE LOSS OF MY DEAR WIFE. I DECIDED TO GO BACK TO FLORIDA, BECAUSE OUR GRANDDAUGHTER WAS GOING TO BE IN A SERIOUS SITUATION IN CALIFORNIA WITHOUT RELATIVES IN THE EVENT I DIED. THIS WAS A BIG DECISION BECAUSE WE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT WAS WAITING FOR US IN FLORIDA. IT TOOK US ABOUT 45 DAYS TO PREPARE THE TRIP, SHE QUIT HER JOBS AT " AT DOWN TOWN DISNEY AT DISNEYLAND, AND AT A DEPARTMENT STORE NEARBY.

WE USED TO OWN A FIBERGLASS SHOP IN SANTA ANA, CA., BUT WE CLOSED BECAUSE OF THE ATTACK ON 9/11. WE WERE DIRECTLY AFFECTED BY THE ECONOMY DOWNTURN AFTER 9/11. WE KEPT EVERY SINGLE TOOL, EQUIPMENT AND MOLDS AND PUT THEM IN STORAGE BECAUSE THEY WERE WORTH A LOT OF MONEY, BUT BECAUSE IT WAS NOT POSSIBLE TO TAKE ALL THIS TO FLORIDA, AND MY EMOTIONAL STATE, I GAVE MANY THINGS AWAY TO FRIENDS, AND THE REST I LEFT AT THE STORAGE WAREHOUSE.

MY INTENSIONS WERE TO BRING MY GRANDDOUGHTER CLOSE TO THE FAMILY IN FLORIDA, FOR OBVIOUS REASONS. ON FEBRUARY 26, 2006, TWO MONTHS AFTER LOSING IRENE, SHE AND I LEFT FOR FLORIDA IN OUR TRUCK, PULLING THE R/V. THE TRAILER WAS LOADED WITH MEMORIES. I KEPT THE URN WITH IRENE'S ASHES IN THE CAB VERY CLOSE TO ME. IN THE BACK SEAT WERE OUR DOGGIES- A CHOW CHOW, HER NAME IS LINDA, AND A CHIHUAHUA, HIS NAME IS POOKY. ONCE AGAIN WE WERE LEAVING VERY SWEET FRIENDS AND LOT OF MEMORIES BEHIND. IT TOOK US 10 1/2 DAYS TO GET TO MIAMI, FL. WE MADE THE TRIP WITHOUT PROBLEMS. UNFORTUNATELLY FOR MY GRANDDOUTHER THE REJECTION FROM HER MOTHER AND FATHER HAS BEEN TREMENDOUS, AND ALSO DEVASTATING FOR HER. IRENE WAS RELUCTANT TO RETURN TO FLORIDA, AND SHE WAS RIGHT. TO ME IT IS ALSO DEVASTATING BECAUSE I WAS THE ONE WHO MADE THE DECISION TO COME TO FLORIDA, WHICH WAS A TREMENDOUS MISTAKE ON MY PART. ANOTHER DIFFICULT SITUATION FOR HER IS THAT SHE WAS ATTENDING COLLEGE IN CALIFORNIA, BUT HERE IN FLORIDA SHE HAS NOT BEEN ABLE TO RESUME HER EDUCATION.

WE ARE PLANING TO RETURN TO CALIFORNIA WHERE WE HAVE MANY FRIENDS THAT LOVE US VERY MUCH. ALSO WE'LL BE ABLE TO OPERATE IRENE'S FOUNDATION ANYWHERE WE GO. IRENE WROTE MOST OF A BOOK THAT I PLAN TO FINISH IN THE NEAR FUTURE. THE TITLE IS "FOR THE BEST INTEREST OF A CHILD", AND I'M GOING TO PLACE IT ON THE INTERNET, WHERE YOU CAN READ THE ENTIRE STORY.